Re: Ferguson, Ctd.

1

Overheard, depressingly, yesterday in New Jersey: "Black people have their president now, but they're still not satisfied."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:56 AM
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Probably everybody else read the Grantland piece ages ago but it's powerful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:59 AM
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2: I'd respond to that Grantland piece more sympathetically if Big Bill Simmons' writers hadn't spent a year and a day exercising the same jeremiad voice on fantasy football and reality TV. I suppose I have grown too callous to appreciate genuine emotion in the era of ad-supported opinion and view.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:07 AM
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1: Gross.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:08 AM
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3 gets it right. Just because there's a horrible situation that happened in Ferguson doesn't mean we need to excuse long-form journalism.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:09 AM
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And yes, obviously, cameras on cops, whenever there's a stop or arrest. For most officers they make life easier, not harder.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:14 AM
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But...aren't these no-brainer decisions how the surveillance state happens (has happened)?

Monitoring the police isn't an example of excessive monitoring of civilians.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:27 AM
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It can be. It's just a roving camera. Add facial recognition, and it's one more way to track where people are, who they're with, and maybe what they're talking about. Plus, if we say, "Of course it makes sense to have these people monitored continuously" it becomes that much harder to argue why some other group shouldn't be similarly monitored.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:31 AM
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3, 5: didja... read the thing? For one thing, it isn't that long.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:32 AM
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8: yeah, but compared to all the already existing cameras it's a pretty minor (and pretty non-all-encompassing) addition. Like, are cameras on cops worse than cameras on every single convenience store?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:34 AM
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Google glass for all cops! "Ok glass, beat a suspect."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:34 AM
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Also if the facial recognition on a cop-worn camera is working, then we can say for sure that they're talking to... that cop.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:34 AM
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A cop walking a beat could record everyone on the street, on their porch, standing at the corner, etc. And there's still the slippery slope argument.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:36 AM
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8 is some weak sauce argument starting. By definition, citizens videotaped on a police-monitoring camera are already being monitored (eg, arrested, stopped, surveilled).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:36 AM
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Although it is true that facial recognition in a camera like that would probably work well enough that cops would feel comfortable using it for positive ID, which is problematic, although not necessarily more problematic than the kind of identity verification they do now ("you kind of look like the description an eyewitness gave").


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:38 AM
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13: "walking" a beat? You crazy urban hippie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:38 AM
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I just saw that the piece began with navel-gazing about buying airplane tickets, and closed the tab. It looked long enough to me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:38 AM
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I was imagining the camera being on all the time. Do cops still walk beats? Those Segway guys?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:39 AM
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8: I see your concern, but isn't that genie completely out if the bottle? People have always been subject to observation in public -- what's different is the ability to store and search all that observation. Getting away from what you're calling the surveillance state isn't about preventing the spread of cameras, it has to be about creating new protections over what can be done with that data. (And, to be clear, I have no faith at all that's going to happen. We're going to be living in a goldfish bowl.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:40 AM
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Just to counter-pile on Sifu, I'll note that I found the grantland piece fine but unremarkable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:40 AM
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I mean, maybe it was good, but a leede like that tells me the thing needs editing, and, at something that long just isn't going to make it past my personal filter.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:42 AM
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Sifu is from Boston, so he was probably just impressed that a black guy could write a whole column like that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:44 AM
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20: fortunately for you, the author is black and in St. Louis, so you can drive down and shoot him.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:46 AM
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Yes, 21 was my response. What is the world's easiest job? Grantland editor. Why not just toss in a few more words?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:46 AM
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Let's fight the real enemy here people.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:49 AM
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Simmons is in LA these days. I'm right behind you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:51 AM
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The ACLU says a balance can be struck.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:58 AM
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After yesterday I'm still confused about the narrative the Ferguson police chief is trying to present. This is clear as mud. He says Brown was stopped for jaywalking, but that the officer later saw he had the stolen cigars--but was that after the shooting, or not? It's ultimately irrelevant for the big picture but I can't figure out whether Jackson is intentionally spreading confusing, almost contradictory stories or just isn't very articulate or what.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:58 AM
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"isn't very articulate"
Reverse-racist!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:08 AM
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Clean too!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:35 AM
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I don't even hear articulation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:36 AM
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Let's fight the real enemy here people.

Hydra? It's Hydra, right? I mean, no disrespect to AIM and/or Comics Alliance's Chris Sims, but M.O.D.O.K. S.U.C.K.S.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:55 AM
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Hello, is he a Mental Organism Designed Only for Sucking? I think not! But I guess that means I disagree with the "only" and not the "sucking."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:59 AM
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M.O.D.O.K. does not even know how to suck. He is designed only for killing.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:59 AM
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Hello, is he a Mental Organism Designed Only for Sucking?

[Blank, horrified stare. Slow retreat.]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:00 AM
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Sorry it took me so long to finish this article, but I articulated a lot as a kid.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:01 AM
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I'm not remotely surprised by this news since it seems reasonable given how minor what I saw on the video actually was (and especially given the record the Ferguson PD had in the community where the store owner worked/(I assume)lived.

This bit, though, really does confuse me:


Kanzler also says a court issued a search warrant for the video Friday.

Why would a search warrant be necessary? The police report just makes it sound like the cop showed up, talked to some witnesses, and was shown the video. Is a search warrant even needed if they store gives them the video when asked? And if not, what was going on in those large redacted chunks of the report?

(My suspicion, obviously, is that the store wasn't really interested in police involvement and initially wasn't particularly cooperative with the investigation. The fact that the owner has strong ties to the community also makes me wonder whether or not he knew exactly who Brown was at the time.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:20 AM
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Maybe the cops made a copy and they want the original? Or they want to find other stuff to smear Brown with?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:31 AM
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So, if the store didn't call the cops, and the shooting happened only ten minutes after the theft, then is it just bullshit that the cop knew anything about the theft before the shooting? That is, was the connection of Brown to the theft made completely after his death?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:42 AM
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Never mind, I clicked through, a customer called the police, not the store.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:43 AM
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I would like to see the transcript of that call. From the video, for the most part the shoppers seemed relatively unperturbed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 9:34 AM
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27: Thanks for that, Minivet. I saw a reference in an MSNBC piece to the ACLU's actions regarding recording of police activities.

Still, protestors might be heartened to learn that late on Friday the ACLU of Missouri scored a victory in its effort to protect the right of citizens to record police in St. Louis County and the city of Ferguson. Authorities from the county, city and the Missouri Highway Patrol all signed off a taping "unless it obstructs the activities or threatens the safety of others, or physically interferes with the ability of law enforcement officers to perform their duties."

"unless it obstructs the activities" or interferes with police officers ... is quite a caveat. The piece Minivet links to provides more explanation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:01 PM
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Yeah, I'm guessing that it'll be a matter of minutes before police officers decide that "documenting what we're doing" counts as obstructing the police attempts to attack protesters, incite violence, make up claims about what people are doing, and so on.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:03 PM
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Baby steps, I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:19 PM
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Cop cameras just sound like an invitation to work-to-rule actions to me. Also, do we really want hyper-efficient cops enforcing the law every second they're on duty? Against middle-class white people too?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:42 PM
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I'm not a fan of enhancing the surveillance state either, Natilo. Note that there's a distinction between body cameras on cops, and simply allowing citizens to record police actions. The latter should be absolutely fine, yet is very often shut down, along with detainment of the recording citizen. That is a no.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:47 PM
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Yes, I'm aware of that distinction, but the latter option seems pretty uncontroversial in these precincts. At least, with the possible exception of some long-vanished trolls, I can't remember anyone making a strong case for disallowing filming of cops by citizens.

Thus, I was responding to the question in the OP about putting Go-Pro type devices on the person of individual cops, which, as I said, does not necessarily seem like something that would increase the overall amount of liberty in this society.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 12:54 PM
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47: Oh, right, I wasn't saying that anyone here was objecting to the latter. Just that the cops often do, doncha know, so that action on that front seems like a good start.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 1:01 PM
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Yeah, the ACLU also raises the concern that if everything is recorded, management can selectively search for tiny infractions of anyone who rocks the boat. And no point of having footage of cops when nothing is happening (except maybe the occasional sample to examine whether they're profiling). But recording interactions is still a tool with the potential for a lot of good.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 1:18 PM
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45 -- no one (or no one sane, I've seen the argument on the Internet) is arguing that police cameras (which btw are not at all unusual on squad cars these days) eliminate police discretion -- cops can still have discretion to let people go, give warnings, all the things they usually do, just in a more monitored way when there's interaction with the public.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 1:23 PM
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51

Monica Potts on the whole "resisting arrest" thing.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 1:29 PM
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I really appreciate the link in 51 - and it reminds me of the change I witnessed in fb updates from a friend who joined the police. Over a few months of policy academy, he started talking more and more about "bad guys", who needed to be stopped, and I found it very alienating. Of course I understand the need to have clear categories, and the weirdness of training, and the fact that there are genuinely terrible people out there: but aren't we all potentially "bad guys", or at least one or two stupid decisions away from being labeled as such?


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 3:16 PM
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53

I have to confess I flipped out at Mara at the grocery store today. She was just generally disobeying and throwing herself on the ground, and then decided to start fake shooting me with finger guns, even though our gun rule is no pointing at people. And so I said, "NO, STOP!" and scared her and then held her while I explained that just a week ago a young black man had been shot to death by a police officer who didn't understand he wasn't really a shooting danger himself and that I loved her too much to lose her that way and so she seriously needs to stop playing gun games in public ever. She had me carry her for a while but was a lot better behaved the rest of the trip, though I feel bad because this is totally not the way I wanted to talk to her about it. Ugh.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 3:20 PM
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Some might find parts of this article by Jeff Smith (a former State Senator who represented the area--he is sometimes on Up! with Steve Kornacki) which gives some context for Ferguson (and ends with an awkward personal anecdote). Most interesting to me was the part about the now nearly-deserted town of Kinloch a few miles to the west of Ferguson.

Kinloch, as an African American community, developed out of a land purchase model similar to the Brooklyn, Illinois model. Since it was not legal to sell directly to blacks, the Olive Street Terrace Realty Corporation sold the parcels to whites for an average price of $150. The new owners then sold the plots to blacks for an average of $350. This allowed the company to use the white people's loans as collateral for further bank notes. To get white investors, the company circulated testimonials of investors who paid in $50 towards a parcel and received returns of $500 to $1000 on the investment. In an advertisement to the Argus, Olive Street Terrace Realty said, "The good colored people of South Kinloch Park have built themselves a little city of which they have a right to be proud. More than a hundred homes, three churches and a splendid public school have been built in a few years."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 3:36 PM
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Also, how is this New York subdefinition of disorderly conduct - "He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse" - First-Amendment-compliant? I suppose we always take "freedom of assembly" in the political sense, but you can't divorce political from social groups; I would hope the right isn't qualified in case law by "as long as you have signs or chants".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 3:44 PM
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It all hangs on what constitutes a "lawful order," doesn't it? That is where the scrutiny should be.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 3:49 PM
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57

There's a very good short documentary about Jeff Smith's run for the House called Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?. To make it especially depressing, follow it up by listening to the This American Life episode about him.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 4:48 PM
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If everything is recorded, then nothing will be recorded.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:13 PM
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56: Pretty damn big lacuna if so. I'd prefer the law explain under what (general) circumstances a police officer can order dispersal.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:14 PM
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Either I'm making a pretty deep argument about the nature of the archive and imperialism, or I've seen The Incredibles too many times. Were I a betting man, I'd wager on the latter.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:14 PM
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54: That was interesting, but the stories he's telling aren't unique to St. Louis. White folks fucking over blacks in every way possible? Rise and fall of a suburb with majority African American population? Same story, different location, and it's sad every time.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 5:22 PM
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The idea that cops ought to wear cameras plays on the very American idea that somebody else needs to bear the costs of solving problems. It's no skin off my nose if somebody else has to spend all day wearing a camera.

I'm an excellent worker and co-worker and just generally a lovely guy, but I would object pretty strenuously to being filmed all day on my job.

The whole "why should you mind surveillance if you haven't got anything to hide" argument is quite weak.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:37 PM
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I'm sure when you kill people in the course of your work it's untroubling, pf.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 6:56 PM
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64

We are untroubled in this country by the fact that, say, physicians are not filmed constantly. Their negligence kills a lot more folks than cops do.

(I demand an exemption from the analogy ban on the grounds that I was provoked.)

It's a shame that gswift has chosen not to engage all the cop-haters here on this topic. I wonder what he thinks of the trend toward surveillance of police. I wonder what he thinks about all of this.

It's not impossible that a good cop really wouldn't mind being video'd. But that's not my intuition.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:05 PM
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I actually think putting cameras in operating rooms is a great idea. (Maybe it's already being done somewhere?) It's not even totally clear to me that doctors would necessarily be against it; the recordings would be a great piece of evidence in defending against malpractice suits, for one thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:15 PM
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Anyway, according to the ACLU link in 27 lots of departments already use body cameras, so it should be possible to tell how well they work and what the cops think about them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:26 PM
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This short piece discusses the issue a bit. Rialto, California started requiring body cams and saw the number of complaints against police plummet, but there's some question about whether those results could be replicated on a larger scale.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:34 PM
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68

Unless you're speaking of a psychiatrist treating an involuntary patient or something, I think the doctor analogy is pretty weak.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:35 PM
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"The idea that cops ought to wear cameras plays on the very American idea that somebody else needs to bear the costs of solving problems."

If you're regarding wearing cameras as the cost, isn't this making the cops bear the cost of police brutality, abuse of power, etc.? That seems... not exactly like pushing the burden off onto someone unrelated.

Maybe you mean that only the bad cops should bear the costs, and not the good ones. Well sure, if you've got a workable plan, sounds good. But part of the overall problem seems to be that the badness is systemic and cultural (in departments where there are problems anyway), not just a few bad apples acting out.

On preview, also what 68 says.


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:42 PM
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70

The doctor analogy is somewhat weak because it doesn't deal with the civil liberties aspects of the situation. A doctor is just a professional. A cop is an arm of the government.

But the psychiatrist-with-a-forced-client analogy is certainly weaker. As best as I can reckon, the only aspect of the situation it attempts to deal with is the freedom of the patient/suspect. I don't think we've got a meaningful amount of choice with, say, surgeons.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:44 PM
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If you're regarding wearing cameras as the cost, isn't this making the cops bear the cost of police brutality, abuse of power, etc.?

As I said, I'd certainly be interested in the opinion of police officers on this subject.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:45 PM
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72

Not to speak for him, and I honestly don't know the answer in advance, but I'll bet PF $50 to charity of choice that Gswift approves of having a camera in a squad car, because it cuts down on bs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:46 PM
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73

I think he's probably discussed this here before, actually. I certainly have the same impression as 72.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:48 PM
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74

gswift is in Yellowstone without internet access.

Good article explaining the details of St. Louis County government fragmentation: http://mobile.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-15/how-st-dot-louis-countys-map-explains-fergusons-racial-discord


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:50 PM
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Yes. 69 was granting pf the assumption that wearing cameras is a cost for those wearing it, not endorsing it. Anyway I still don't see that the cost is unfair or unwarranted.


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:51 PM
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76

75.1 to the impression in 72.


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:53 PM
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77

61 - Although in P.G. County, the horrifically violent police department is run by African-Americans, which is a certain kind of progress.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:56 PM
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I presume that while I was on vacation, everyone discussed the "he bled on our uniforms" story about Ferguson that came out? That is some next level bullshit that, of course, the judge let the cops skate on.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 7:59 PM
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Yeah, it came up. Some of the white folk stuff I've heard about the area sounds kind of klannish. If I weren't about to sleep, I'd look up the history there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:02 PM
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68: That suddenly struck me as sensible. Might even be something for a patient to review and discuss with the psychiatrist once s/he starts doing better.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:03 PM
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64.3

Kill the pigs! Kill the pigs! Kill the.. oh wait that's stupid. Never mind.

Also, as people already pointed out, if people had to make appointments to see the police/be arrested maybe the analogy would be better. But otherwise, yeah, not so much.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:05 PM
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77: I initially read "progress" as "gross." Both "kind of gross" and "kind of progress" seem right.

and 80 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:07 PM
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"Also, as people already pointed out, if people had to make appointments to see the police/be arrested maybe the analogy would be better. But otherwise, yeah, not so much."

It's consent, but not just consent. My stance on cameras in surgery rooms will soften in a hurry if we start to get a string of stories about surgeons using deadly force on their black patients.

(Not to say I think it's a bad idea in the absence of such a string; teo might be right, I just haven't given it that much thought.)


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 8:17 PM
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Doctors already document what they do extensively, which is sufficient for most oversight - in cases of fraud, it tends to be discernable via investigation. Even there, if we were having problems with shoddy surgeries or something, videotaping might be a warranted response. Same possibly also for handwashing.

Transparency in government is kind of a generally accepted goal. Police interactions with the public is at the core of what most of them do, and is the topic of a lot of, to say the least, uncertainty over whether it's properly reported.

Again, read the ACLU piece. If it's not clear, I agree with their caution - recording the entire police working day would be problematic for a number of reasons, and a lot of should be either unrecorded or promptly deleted. But cameras make sense both in principle and in practice.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 9:14 PM
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Transparency in government is kind of a generally accepted goal.

Right, and one of the basic things you have to accept when you work for the government is that there will be more potential for public scrutiny of your work than in the private sector. E.g., pretty much everything you write (with a few exceptions) is considered a public record and can be released to anyone who asks for it. Videotaping is a lot more extreme than that example, but it's not conceptually different.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 9:26 PM
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The workplace privacy arguments against cameras are bizarre. Do people who feel this way also argue against cameras in prisons?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 9:48 PM
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87

Or, for that matter, convenience stores?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 9:54 PM
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88

Kamera Kops round 1 went down three months ago, didn't it? My takeaway from gswift at the time was that it was already happening and not ushering in dystopia.

The reduction in complaints is typically rather large, and no small part of it is the party lodging the complaint finding out there's video and changing his/her mind


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 10:14 PM
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This is the specific comment quoted in 88, and presumably the one I was remembering in 73.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 10:22 PM
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And it points to the fact that the dynamic goes both ways: there's more accountability for cops, but also more of an objective record they can rely on to combat complaints.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-16-14 10:23 PM
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70: The person dealing with a surgeon is nearly always trying to obtain a direct benefit to themselves and someone dealing with the cops isn't usually. Choice isn't the whole of the reason I didn't like your analogy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 5:24 AM
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"Put your hands behind your back. You are under arrest."

"I'd like a second opinion!"


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:21 AM
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93

92: "Okay, you're ugly, too."


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 2:13 PM
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I'm back to bear spray all you fucking hippies.

On cameras: Yes, it typically leads to a big reduction in complaints and such and does make cops think a bit more about use of force and such. They're pretty widespread in our dept now but very recently so we don't have much in the way of stats yet on them. I never had one on patrol and haven't been issued one yet in my current assignment. Currently they're manually turned on and off by the officer for calls and such and not running all the time.

I, like most people, would not want to be recorded every minute of my workday. There's benefits to the cameras but there's definitely good things on the job I've done that I might be hesitant to do if I was being recorded. Conversations like this, for example.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 5:22 PM
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I just had a slightly uncomfortable conversation with my parents, who at least agree that it's a shame that Brown was killed and think the militarization of police has gone too far, but aside from that have somehow absorbed a very different narrative of the past week's events than I have. (They get their news mostly from CBS and from USA Today, I think.) For one thing, they say they think it's very likely that Brown was charging at the officer when he was shot, based largely on a video of eyewitnesses talking immediately after the shooting where that's the story that one of them relates. Does anyone know what that video is? They also are convinced that looting started before there was a large police presence in the town, which was not my impression although I'm not sure I have a clear timeline.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 5:38 PM
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95: Maybe they're talking about this one?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/17/He-Kept-Coming-Toward-Him-Video-in-Aftermath-of-Michael-Brown-Shooting-Describes-the-Incident


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 5:57 PM
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Isn't brietbart like The Onion or something?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 6:01 PM
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Heh, I'd kind of forgotten it existed.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 6:10 PM
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It's sort of like The Onion for the sorts of right-wingers who believe Onion articles are real.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 7:40 PM
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A-and they're tear-gassing people again.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 7:42 PM
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Maybe they had a bunch sitting around that was about to expire.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 7:44 PM
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The doubled-back story is also the one the cop's acquaintance was telling.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 8:08 PM
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Preliminary autopsy results: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html

Consistent with both stories: either hands up, or running toward. But no gunpowder residue on Brown. Doc didn't have clothes, but Brown was wearing short sleeves anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 8:47 PM
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Ferguson is a disaster right now. Does America have a President? We'll find out tomorrow, I guess.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 8:49 PM
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Alla them policeman are cawmuniss


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 8:55 PM
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It's not consistent with the story that had Brown firing the gun the first time (or having his hand on the gun when it fired). And that was the basis of at least one of the more cop-sympathetic stories out there. If there isn't any gun residue on him that (probably?) suggests to me that the gun went off in the car but that Brown was outside the car at the time*, which is really only consistent with the Brown-sympathetic accounts.

But that might just be the reporter simplifying down a report that said that there was gun residue on him but that it didn't look like enough to justify the claim that he'd had his hand on the gun when it fired or something.

*My ignorance of guns, let me show it to you. But I was always under the impression that gun residue was somewhat indiscriminate, and didn't require actually having your hand on the gun to get it on you.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 8:57 PM
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Report seemed pretty unequivocal about the lack of gunpowder residue on Brown's body. Almost certainly the cop story there is a lie. My guess: Brown and Johnson run, Wilson accidentally discharges his weapon in the car as he draws it, Brown hears the shot and turns to either say "don't shoot" or to charge, and Wilson keeps shooting until Brown is completely down. I find the charging story very unlikely, but we don't have clear evidence to discredit it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:05 PM
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To file under "no good answers," if Wilson did accidentally discharge his gun and Brown reacted to that, even charging could have been just an attempt to disarm Wilson, or pure anger at being shot at, and not evidence that Brown was dangerous all along.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:12 PM
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The accounts usually seem to agree that when the first shot went off Brown and Johnson were next to the car (the question being where exactly Brown was and what he was up to when it went off). The lack of gunpowder residue seems to me (again see footnote in 106) that Brown was fully outside of the car and that the gun went off when the cop drew it. That could be where one of the injuries on his hand came from. If Brown/Johnson started running away when that happened it would match Johnson's story.

The wound on the top of Brown's head is strange, but I'm guessing that if the cop was firing repeatedly he could have hit him there as Brown fell? I don't recall anything in the witness accounts that would match any other way that would get there, anyway.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:14 PM
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Surely if he was hit from the front he wouldn't have fallen forward.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:16 PM
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ogged's interpretation in 107 seems like the most likely to me too, but there sure is a lot we still don't know. It'll be interesting to see how the results from this autopsy compare to what the other two find.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:18 PM
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110: Wait, why not? Bullets don't hurl people backwards or anything.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:22 PM
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Don't they? They hit with a lot of force moving in whatever direction they're going, and surely some of that force gets transferred to the person who gets hit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:28 PM
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But I don't know much about this either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:28 PM
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Well, they're pretty small things so I think that the force mostly translates into the bullet moving around inside breaking stuff rather than pushing the whole body one way or the other. I mean, they do it differently in movies, but I'm fairly certain that's one of those movie-not-real-life conventions, like how bullets throw off sparks when they hit things (in movies), explosions throw people around without killing them, and so on.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:33 PM
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The bullet is going to impart at most the same momentum as the fun does to the shooter. That is, not much, for a handgun.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:37 PM
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Sorry, I meant "handfun".


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:38 PM
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Report seemed pretty unequivocal about the lack of gunpowder residue on Brown's body. Almost certainly the cop story there is a lie.

Well, no. There's a lot of reasons why you might not get GSR. Like if they're fighting over the gun and it goes off while in the holster (this happened a gun I went through the academy with) then the blast is going to be contained and directed away from the parties involved. And sometimes the stuff just doesn't stick to people very well. I had a medical examiner tell me once that suicides with a gun can come back with a negative GSR test. Googling around suggests 10-20 percent neg rate on suicides. Lack of GSR isn't definitive at all.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:45 PM
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Huh:

Though popularized in television and movies, and commonly referred to as "true stopping power" by novice or uneducated proponents of large powerful calibers such as .44 Magnum, the effect of knockback from a handgun and indeed most personal weapons is largely a myth. The momentum of the so-called "manstopper" .45 ACP bullet is approximately that of a 1 pound (0.45 kg) mass dropped from a height of 11.4 feet (3.5 m).[11][note 2] Such a force is simply incapable of arresting a running target's forward momentum. In addition, bullets are designed to penetrate instead of strike a blunt force blow, because, in penetrating, more severe tissue damage is done. A bullet with sufficient energy to knock down an assailant, such as a high-speed rifle bullet, would be more likely to instead pass straight through, while not transferring the full energy (in fact only a very small percentage of the full energy) of the bullet to the victim.
The "knockback" effect is however commonly "seen" in real-life shootings, and can be explained by physiological and psychological means. Humans encountering a physical hit, be it a punch or a bullet, are conditioned to absorb the blow by moving in the same direction as the force. The physical effect against a non-penetrating weapon is to reduce the force felt by the blow, and in addition, retreating from an attack increases the distance such an attack must cover, which in the case of non-projectile weapons such as fists or a knife, places the target out of range of further attack. In addition, there is a theoretical sociological explanation, that in modern civilization, with far greater separation by most individuals from violence, hunting, and combat, normal individuals may simply recoil, buckle, or fall backward when hit by a bullet, even when in pure physiological terms they are perfectly capable of continuing to charge.

Shows what I know!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:51 PM
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I'm guessing that if the cop was firing repeatedly he could have hit him there as Brown fell?

Yeah, that's pretty common. They start to go down from the shots and but there's that moment it takes your brain to process that information and you're still cranking rounds off.

That is, not much, for a handgun.

Exactly, and that's part of the reason people are often shot multiple times with handguns. It can be really difficult to tell if the guy is getting hit at first. This is from a traffic stop in Oregon. When I first saw it I thought the cop had missed but the guy keeled over and died like a half mile down the road. Not a gory vid at all, I still can't tell when the guy actually caught a round.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1gYEG1TzBk


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 9:56 PM
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The lack of detail in that article is maddening. To me the several shots on the arm and what looks like a re-entry on the chest from one of those arm shots would indicate his arms were more in front of him rather than being held up but jesus, no explanation at all of that fuzzy drawing except for the head shots.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-14 10:14 PM
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I'm fairly certain that's one of those movie-not-real-life conventions, like how bullets throw off sparks when they hit things (in movies), explosions throw people around without killing them, and so on.

These things do happen, but not very often. Metal-jacketed rounds (as fired from military rifles or machine-guns) do throw off sparks sometimes if they hit a hard surface like metal, concrete or rock at a shallow angle, but it isn't common. Explosions chuck people around without killing them; the classic is when you're in a vehicle and the floor is between you and the explosion, so the vehicle gets kicked up and you get thrown out, but the floor shields you from fragments and secondary debris. Mind you, in that scenario you've probably got a couple of broken ankles or legs at least from when the floor kicks up at you.

It occurs to me that the whole "Brown is stopped for a minor infraction and reacts by assaulting the person stopping him" story, although initially pretty unlikely-sounding, is starting to seem a bit more likely now that there's video footage of him doing exactly that ten minutes previously.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 1:55 AM
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Well, there's a difference between assaulting a random shopowner and assaulting a cop with a gun (and in America every cop has a gun).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 2:26 AM
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Not that either is a wise decision, but as we've discussed recently teenagers aren't known for wise decisions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 2:26 AM
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True. But, you know, Bayesian reasoning. You revise up your probability estimate quite a bit once you know about the incident in the shop just before the shooting.

I wonder how often that kind of thing happened in that shop? It wasn't the shopkeeper who called the police, after all - it was the customer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 2:35 AM
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"Brown is stopped for a minor infraction and reacts by assaulting the person stopping him"

Not that this is the point of your comment, but walking in the street rather than the sidewalk doesn't even seem like an infraction to me.

I had the same thought about the incident in the shop: not just that he was a person who sometimes shoved people, but that he was probably still revved up from the incident. But still -- that makes it seem more likely he maybe shoved/wrestled with the cop when the cop started harassing and manhandling him. Going for the gun is an entirely different level of crazy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:46 AM
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Palm of the hand, inner forearm, inner bicep- those seem like hard places to be hit if you're charging at someone but certainly more consistent with being shot while your arms are up. Go ahead, try it at home in front of a mirror.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:52 AM
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Also, the whole charging story implies a peculiar level of vacillation on Brown's part -- first, he's a kill-crazy lunatic struggling for the gun, then he's fleeing, and then he's charging again? What's he trying to do, get away, or get to grappling range? It's not impossible, people behave erratically, I'm sure it's happened some time or another. But it's not an obviously natural course of action.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:58 AM
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Now the mirror has bullet holes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:01 AM
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Presumably the shooting of a mirror is not racially motivated.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:11 AM
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Probably not, but Moby may have a particularly acute case of white liberal guilt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:31 AM
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Does America have a President? We'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

The white demands of black people never stop.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:31 AM
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Wasn't the question in 112-113 a pivotal clue in an episode of Sherlock? He knew someone was faking death because she fell the wrong way?


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:26 AM
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Back and to the left.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:03 AM
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I'm staying at a hotel, so I'm nervous of strangers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:07 AM
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Wasn't the question in 112-113 a pivotal clue in an episode of Sherlock? He knew someone was faking death because she fell the wrong way?

I think it was the scene where he's broken into the high-rise office by getting engaged to the secretary, and he gets shot and has to decide how to fall to maximize his chances of survival.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:36 AM
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Also, I just saw a gang of dolphins, what police call a "pod," lunge up on land to kill fish. It's only a matter of time before they come after rabbits or people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:43 AM
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134 is the first thing I thought of.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:48 AM
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137: what were the fish doing on land?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:49 AM
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139. They were actually rabbits. Moby is a strict clasdist.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:59 AM
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-s


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:00 AM
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The dolphins pushed the fish on land first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:01 AM
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The handle "Trict Clasdist" is available.


Posted by: THE DELIGHTIMIZER | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:02 AM
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I note with concern that Moby has apparently started drinking a bit earlier today.

Or maybe he's in east Asia or something.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:05 AM
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Palm of the hand, inner forearm, inner bicep- those seem like hard places to be hit if you're charging at someone but certainly more consistent with being shot while your arms are up.

Sure, if you run with your hands straight down at your sides like a broken puppet or something. But your natural reaction in a fight, something gets thrown at you, whatever, is is something like this. And having four shots in the arm if his hands were up and the arm away from his body would be a kind of terrible but consistent markmanship considering we're talking a likely distance around 7-10 yards on a guy who is 6'4 and 300 lbs.

You revise up your probability estimate quite a bit once you know about the incident in the shop just before the shooting.

How dare you. If you counter allegations of racial harassment and murder with "the cop was trying to apprehend a robbery suspect, see, we have the robbery on video" then you're conducting a "smear campaign".

but walking in the street rather than the sidewalk doesn't even seem like an infraction to me

What are you, some kind of anarchist? Of course it's illegal to walk down the middle of the street, especially in an area with sidewalks.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:32 AM
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"the cop was trying to apprehend a robbery suspect

But even the cops aren't saying this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:37 AM
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146: What's been said is that the initial stop was for walking in the street and that the officer then realized they might be the suspects from the robbery.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:45 AM
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Kareem with his usual smart take on things, The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race:

And, unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:47 AM
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If you're charging at someone your inner arms are not exposed. Maybe after the first shot hit him he had the reaction shown in your link, but I think the shot locations are totally inconsistent with "big scary man was running at me and only the sixth shot stopped him when he was 5 feet from getting me" story.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:49 AM
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147: "robbery" apparently being a teenager with some cigarillos at the register getting into a dispute with the cashier and storming out. Cop should have stayed in the car and called for backup when he realized the situation.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:51 AM
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148: Kareem is fucking great. Close to my views, but many more politic gracenotes (Laurie Penny? err...)

149: Quit making cases. You are not a defense lawyer in a courtroom. Read Kareem. Holler.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:53 AM
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The incident in the shop is hardly one that should affect your probability estimate that much: he shoves a man out of his way, and, if you watch the video, does it after the shop owner does basically the same thing to him (with very little effect).

If this is the sort of thing that substantially affects your assessment of the possibility that Brown started a fight with a policeman (one of the first police accounts, though I have no idea if that's still in there - probably not), or tried to wrestle a gun away from him you should recheck your priors.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 8:56 AM
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Are the Showtime-era Lakers not the greatest Americans of all time? It surprises even me how easy it is to make the case.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:04 AM
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149: I really can't fathom why you think someone wouldn't instinctively put their arms in front of themselves like in that picture in response to seeing a gun raised and pointed at them.

150: A theft by force is a robbery, take it up with the legislature if you disagree. And all the nuances are not what what goes out on a BOLO over the radio when the call first comes in. It's just going to have "strongarm robbery just occurred" with a location, description, and what was taken.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:12 AM
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if you watch the video, does it after the shop owner does basically the same thing to him (with very little effect).

Actually, watching the video makes it seem worse. He's a lot bigger than the shopkeeper, and he pushes him hard enough into the display that it shakes, and then when the shopkeeper says something else he turns round, advances on him, scares him into retreat and leaves.
Like I said: an aggressive, entitled dick, though that doesn't mean he deserved to be shot. It does, however, put him in the most violent 5% (or so) of the population. Most people don't act like that - either shoplift, or push people around - do they? And if you go from the assumption "this guy was an average person when it comes to violent tendencies" to "this person was more violently inclined than 95% of the population", that changes your estimated p for the shooting incident, doesn't it?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:18 AM
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Sure - and I wasn't arguing that that policeman would have heard about that or that he wouldn't have reacted to it. I was pointing out that this isn't really supported by the footage:

It occurs to me that the whole "Brown is stopped for a minor infraction and reacts by assaulting the person stopping him" story, although initially pretty unlikely-sounding, is starting to seem a bit more likely now that there's video footage of him doing exactly that ten minutes previously.

(Hence, when I said "If this is the sort of thing that substantially affects your assessment of the possibility that Brown started a fight with a policeman..")


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:20 AM
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An "out of my way" shove in an already physical conflict? No I'm not seeing anything resembling "most violent 5%" there, not at all. And it's also clear from the video that there was no planned shoplifting involved, so no it doesn't really affect my estimated likelihood that he initially assaulted a police officer and tried to get his gun, because that was already set at "teenager" and that video looks about like "teenager" to me.

Also if "bigger" makes you think "more violent" that kind of supports what I was pointing out.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:23 AM
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Oh - and he turns back around to do the "Look at my shoulders! I'm manly!" pose after the shopkeeper goes back to try again to stop him from leaving. So, no, really not seeing a "most violent 5%", unless by that you mean "has ever been in a heated conflict".


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:26 AM
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157: you're saying that impulse shoplifting, shoving people out of the way hard and backing them down is what you'd expect from an average black kid?
I think you might need to recheck your priors there.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:26 AM
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Cop should have stayed in the car

I realize this is non obvious to people who haven't done the job so I'll explain a bit.

The car is a death trap and any dept. with current training will have drilled that into its officers. You absolutely want to be out of that vehicle right away because if one of your subjects has a gun you're fucked inside that vehicle. You can't move or quickly get your weapon out from within a car and bullets can be fired into a vehicle much more effectively than from the inside out. With the curvature of the glass and the strength of modern windshields handgun rounds don't penetrate when fired from within. They deflect down and go into the dash. And we're talking a test with full power duty ammunition on a not particularly new car, an '05 Impala. And interestingly, similar disparity with the doors. They go through from the outside but from the inside the rounds often will bulge the metal out and then stop without exiting.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:29 AM
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Quien es mas racisto? The fact is the video is a big invitation to what Kahneman calls the "what you see is all there is" fallacy. How would the most violent two minutes of your life look on video? How well does it represent your inclinations?

It's also, at least outside the court of public opinion, beside the point.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:32 AM
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Hey! Let's pitch a movie to Hollywood where different people have the same thing happening in front of them but "see" it differently. How fucking novel is that?!? Halford knows people.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:40 AM
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The most violent two minutes of my life would look like someone beating the ever-loving shit out of me, including kicking me repeatedly in the ribs after I went down. My assailant was African American. I am white. I barely defended myself. This makes me John Brown or one of those white guys killed during the Freedom Summer, right?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:41 AM
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There's an interesting, related question of whether the convenience store video is admissible as exculpatory evidence in a hypothetical trial of the cop. I'd say it probably shouldn't be, but I'll bet it if a trial happens it will be.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:44 AM
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159: So, you're saying that 'teenager' and 'black teenager' are.. the same?

I mean, it's been a while since I was in high school, but I'm fairly certain that I remember a wide mix of races, and even remember being a teenager myself despite being white! I also remember about five hundred cases of teenagers shoving-and-posing because, seriously now, teenagers. This isn't exactly a pro-wrestling move here, and pushing someone with enough force that they take a step backwards isn't that impressive either. Violent? Sure. "Top 5%"? Pretty unlikely.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:47 AM
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163 reminded me of the other bit of Kareem's article I was going to quote:

Then we'll argue about whether there isn't just as much black-against-white racism in the U.S. as there is white-against-black. (Yes, there is. But, in general, white-against-black economically impacts the future of the black community. Black-against-white has almost no measurable social impact.)M/blockquote>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 9:59 AM
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Eyewitness account consistent with the evidence: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/08/18/new-eyewitness-cop-chased-after-brown.html


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:18 AM
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167: That eyewitness says he turned after being grazed on the arm. Depending on where it hit, one of those wounds might show him being shot from behind.
I have to wonder how rigorous a lot of forensics is, on the scale from DNA evidence to handwriting analysis.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:28 AM
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I note that gswift hasn't seemed to change his opinion after the GSR evidence came back (not to pick on gswift, whose opinion I value and who has a pretty good track record here of calling bullshit on some claims of police abuse).


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:31 AM
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167/169: Yeah, I've seen a bunch of people getting "shot in front" and "shot from the front" mixed up. I'm fairly certain it's possible to hit someone in the front while standing behind them. (The two wounds in the middle of the arm in particular could could have been caused by someone firing at him from behind.) So so far all the physical evidence we have is consistent with the multiple eyewitness accounts.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:43 AM
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169->168.

Though, really, 169 as well.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:43 AM
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I didn't know until Googling it just now that the Ferguson PD changed their story on what the shooter knew, and when he knew it. The new sequence is that the officer stopped 'em because they were in the street, but then saw the cigars before shooting.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:59 AM
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The county coroner says Brown had marijuana in his system. A noted stimulant, that. This seems right.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 11:02 AM
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Man, go watch the actual video on CNN. The witness says she the officer gets out and "starts chasing after the boy, I'm hearing shots fired, clearly none of them hit him.."

"That eyewitness says he turned after being grazed on the arm" is in reality "one did graze him as they said on the autopsy report " and "he turned around after I'm guessing he felt the bullet graze his arm". (no guessing you fucking witnesses, he said, revealing one of his peeves) She then does answer "definitely" when the reporter states the autopsy said he was shot from the front and if that squares with what the witness saw.

And re GSR, see 118.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 11:06 AM
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Ogged beat me to it, but it turns out the answer to Eggplant's question was "about nine days".

Or, I guess, as soon as possible without making it too obvious.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 11:18 AM
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Reefer madness!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 11:29 AM
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The car is a death trap and any dept. with current training will have drilled that into its officers. You absolutely want to be out of that vehicle right away because if one of your subjects has a gun you're fucked inside that vehicle.

Let's just go with some numbers: so far in 2014, 28 cops nationwide have been killed by gunfire in the line of duty (and one of those was an accidental discharge). Last year? 33. (Going back on the Officer Down page, looks like we're averaging about 45 a year for the past 5 years.)

Yes, obviously with different training more cops would end up getting shot. But you know what? If the tradeoff is between cops getting shot and innocent people getting shot, better the cops take the bullets. At least they knew what they were signing up for.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 11:55 AM
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On one hand, Brown and was unarmed and died 35 feet from the police vehicle. On the other hand, if he was an armed robber the policeman inside the car would have been a sitting duck. So, land of contrasts.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:09 PM
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177: Surely we can all agree that cops arranging to be safe is a good thing. If the cop is culpable, it's not because he was trained to get out of his car.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:12 PM
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177: If the tradeoff is between cops getting shot and innocent people getting shot

False dichotomy alert. Can I draw you a Venn diagram?

And not really relevant to leaving the car. It is quite possible to leave the car without shooting anyone.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:18 PM
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179: I want cops to be safe. I also want civilians to be safe. At some point those two desires are going to come into conflict, and at that point I come down on the civilians' side every single time.

And you're right, the cop specifically being trained to get out of his car probably had nothing to do with Brown's death. It's the entire attitude I have an issue with.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:23 PM
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177.2: Oh sure, now you tell me...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:26 PM
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Or possibly 180, which is what I meant. I'm... not good at this.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:30 PM
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The whole "getting out of the car" topic came up because I made a sarcastic comment in response to this in 145:

If you counter allegations of racial harassment and murder with "the cop was trying to apprehend a robbery suspect, see, we have the robbery on video" then you're conducting a "smear campaign"

The fact that an unarmed teenager was gunned down 35 feet from a police car seems like a pretty clear fuck-up to me, whether the shooter was wearing a KKK robe or not.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:31 PM
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144.2: I'm at a beach and the water is rife with dolphins. But the guy said fishing like that wasn't done by dolphin anywhere else.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 12:47 PM
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It was good of the commander in chief to roll out of bed long enough to give a pro forma statement on Ferguson.

I take Knecht's point that this is world's better than we'd get with a Republican in office, but jesus christ, how about telling a country in which only 37% of whites think Ferguson raises important issues about race to get its head out of its ass?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 2:15 PM
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The fact that an unarmed teenager was gunned down 35 feet from a police car seems like a pretty clear fuck-up to me

And that's the problem right there. It's not clear at all, and hasn't been from the get go.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:09 PM
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I'm really asking here -- I mean, I have a strong opinion, but you've got wildly more knowledge. You have first or secondhand knowledge of people getting violent with cops, attempting to take the cop's gun, and so on. Have you ever heard of that sort of thing happening where the attacker was not drunk, not seriously high (on something other than marijuana), not mentally ill, not being interrupted in the middle of a violent altercation, and not with a serious criminal record? I'll believe that sort of thing happens, but does it happen out of the blue?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:19 PM
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What's not clear? What is the scenario in which this story represents scrupulous adherence to a standard operating procedure?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:26 PM
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Presumably, if Brown really did (despite the absence of GSR) try to take Wilson's gun away and maybe fired the first shot. I find that wildly implausible, but if it were the case, and if Brown were not attempting to surrender when the final shots were fired, the shooting would arguably be justified.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:30 PM
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188: Not often, but the biggie that's not on your list is "to avoid going to jail". Very common with guys who've violated parole and know they're going back in for a long time. They post it on Facebook and everything these days about how they're not going back and are going to make the cops shoot them. It also sometimes happens with young guys who think they've just done something that they perceive as the end of life as they know it. They're usually wrong about that but think of how teenagers act about breakups. Everything is ash and dross and they'll never love again! I wonder if Brown thought similarly that if he got arrested that he was going to prison forever and life was over.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:36 PM
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189: If you've already been in a struggle for your gun with a robbery suspect and then chase him you're not going to get in another struggle for that gun if he turns around and comes back at you, especially considering the size of that suspect. You're going to shoot him on the spot and it's absolutely the legal and operationally correct thing to do.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:39 PM
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Boy. Narrowing it down to the precise situation -- I realize this isn't fair because small sample size, no reason the exact same thing would have come up -- a teenager who committed a low money value crime where no one got hurt, that brings it into the realm of people you wouldn't be surprised to see either try to kill a cop or commit suicide by cop rather than be arrested? Serious criminal record, I'm not going back inside, okay. But "I stole some cigars and shoved a guy, you'll never take me alive!"? Nothing's impossible, but have you ever heard a comparable story?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:49 PM
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192 sounds right but still requires on the facts here that all three of the following be true: (a) Brown, after being pulled over for walking in the street, affirmatively went for and tried to take/fire the officer's gun; (b) Brown then ran away; (c) Brown after running away decided to turn back and charge the officer.

I have zero operational experience, obviously, but that sequence of events sounds very improbable. Not impossible obviously, but very improbable. And it seems like there's no supporting physical evidence and eyewitness testimony going the other way. I could be wrong!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:50 PM
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192, that is possible. But isn't there some other way to avoid another struggle for that gun, less drastic than shooting to kill?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:55 PM
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Yeah, I don't see how the location of the body alone isn't a real problem for the charging story. If the cop is at the car shooting, and Brown is charging him, how does he end up still so far away?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 3:57 PM
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If the cop is at the car shooting

At least one eyewitness says Wilson was giving chase. The problem is that turning to surrender and turning to charge are ambiguous at any given instant, and the case might come down to reasonable doubt about which Brown was doing.

(It also seems nuts that Wilson was giving chase and firing. Why?)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:11 PM
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Has more than one witness said that Brown actually said "Don't shoot"?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:12 PM
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193: That guy who tried to shoot the trooper in 120 was this guy. Had a couple minor arrests for things like traffic and disorderly conduct. But nothing serious enough to prevent him from getting a state issued concealed carry permit, work as a security guard, etc. He had his three kids in the car as well. Why on earth try to murder a cop on a traffic stop? I've never heard if they figured it out, his family and acquaintances seemed baffled.

194: There's really not a good good option there. He's way bigger than you and tried to take the gun already? It'd be pretty stupid to risk that again.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:16 PM
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I guess a lot will also turn on whether Brown really did try to take the gun. If so, then that reads as "potential cop killer," which makes some sense of Wilson not just letting him run off.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:18 PM
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Was 199 last really to 194?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:21 PM
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(It also seems nuts that Wilson was giving chase and firing. Why?)

I'd really like to see how many rounds total fired, where the casings were, etc. That girl in the CNN video phrased it kind of weird on the chase part. How she "heard" shots, and such. Did she actually see Wilson fire at Brown while his back was turned or did she hear a shot or two that occurred while maybe in the car over the gun? That CNN reporter wasn't real useful.

I'd like to see the relevant police reports and the actual official autopsies.

201: Shit, 194!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:25 PM
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Gah, 195.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:26 PM
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On an ever so slightly lighter note, this series of tweets cracked me up.

https://twitter.com/nigelduara/status/501475343308713984/photo/1

https://twitter.com/nigelduara/status/501475262723530752


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:31 PM
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It seems like the very existence of the gun is a major part of the problem. Maybe just throwing it down a manhole or something would make the tension seem less heightened.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:34 PM
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199: Linked from your story was a this background piece on the shooter, and he seems pretty distinguishable from a kid like Brown:

Records and interviews portray Allen as a troubled man. He had documented outbursts before, including with a knife, and his mental stability had been listed as doubtful by police in Portland.

And primarily, he had a gun. Like, someone getting into a gunfight with a cop is suicidal, but suicidal in a very different kind of way than someone who's attacking an armed cop barehanded.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:40 PM
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One story I think has been underreported is that the prosecutor in charge here is wholly pro-cop, and also an asshole. The local press is on it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:41 PM
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205: Guns are for everyone but the cops? We'll a libertarian out of you yet.

206: Shit, I missed that, never mind.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:41 PM
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207 -- yep. Obviously this is speculation, but it sure seems like the behind-the-scenes dynamic right now is the following: almost all elite players are in favor of throwing Wilson to the wolves right away, which would be better for all involved. There are two big exceptions: the Ferguson PD itself and for that county prosecutor. The problem is that those are the two entities who'd ordinarily have investigatory jurisdiction, so most of the behind-the-scenes moves are around how to displace the local PD and prosecutor so as to get this thing resolved.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:49 PM
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208: I'd give the cops a gun, sure. But it will have an external safety that works via nipple ring such that you have to rip it out to shoot.

If it really is a life-or-death situation or close to one, why wouldn't you pull it out, coppah?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:51 PM
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Something like that. But it's going to be hard to displace the prosecutor, so I wonder if the smart play (to avoid riots across the country) is to delay the local investigation long enough to let the feds bring charges. Because I think there's a real chance McCulloch doesn't even indict.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:52 PM
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What bothers me about defending the police in this case is that we've got, on the one hand:
1. Three (independent) eyewitnesses with consistent testimony.
2. Physical evidence highly consistent with that testimony.
3. A long history of racially fraught antagonistic behavior by the police towards that community.
and
4. A reasonably plausible story of how the shooting happened (in which the police officer is almost certainly guilty of murder).*

And, on the other hand, we have:
1. A less plausible story of how the shooting happened**
2. Physical evidence, consistent with that story but unlikely (if the story is true - possible but less likely).***
3. A story which has changed repeatedly over the last week as different evidence has shown up.
and
4. A story that we are hearing from a group that has, you know, not distinguished itself professionally. (Specifically, one that has openly taken steps to smear the character of the person who had been shot, has responded to peaceful protests with over the top violence, actually violated state law in an attempt to prevent the officer in question from being named, and certainly looks to have been very lax when it came to gathering evidence following the shooting.)

I mean, if you remove the word "police" from the description of the shooting and pretend it's just two different groups of civilians (adjusting accordingly), who would be taking the second option to be more plausible than the first?


*The police officer engages in some low level harassment of Johnson/Brown, but turns back when (I think seems plausible) he hears a brief description of someone matching Brown's description. He accidentally tries to open his door into the two of them but it bounces back on him, and he grabs Brown through the window. Brown tries to break free and the cop panics and draws his weapon. The gun goes off (I'd say accidentally, probably while drawing or otherwise fumbling with it) and Brown breaks free and runs for it. The cop, still panicking and just having fired a gun, keeps firing the gun**** while chasing him. Brown tries to surrender but the cop keeps firing**** and kills him as he's on the ground with his hands up. It's not first degree murder (I guess? I'm not a lawyer) but it's still murder all the same.

**Possible? Yes. More likely to be true that the Brown entered the police car willingly, then changed his mind and decided to fight the police officer for the gun, and then decided to run for it, and then decided to turn around and charge a police officer who was, at that moment, shooting at him? I'd need a lot more evidence than I've seen so far to take that story to be more plausible than the one above.

***Can you fire a gun inside a car during a struggle and not get any gunshot residue on the person supposedly firing it? Or even the person struggling for it? Yeah, sure. Is it a relatively unlikely scenario? Also, I think, yes.

****This seems like an obvious and very common (unfortunate) feature of the way human beings react to things. Once we're caught in a pattern that is familiar we autocomplete it and only stop to rethink whether it was appropriate later on. This is, in other words, another example of the way that once cops start firing in a tense situation they tend to just keep firing until the clip is empty (or even reload!) even if it's completely obvious that there's no reason to keep doing it after the first shot or two. In other words, the accidental discharge made him think "gunfight/I'm shooting at him" and since he was already in a panic he just went with that and only realized that he'd gunned down some innocent kid after the fact.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 4:57 PM
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1. Three (independent) eyewitnesses with consistent testimony.
2. Physical evidence highly consistent with that testimony.

Dorian Johnson's interview seems a bit at odds with the family's private autopsy results. The bolding is mine.

Then, I heard'I'll shoot. Imma shoot you.'And, I am so close to the window that I don't even have to lift up to see what he is holding in his hand. So, he is already, he is still holding my friend with one arm, and now with the other hand, he is pointing his weapon. The second time he says,'I'll shoot,' it wasn't even a second later when the gun went off. And, my friend was hit. And I looked at my friend and I seen the blood. And, it was almost like the officer was in shock, because when my friend got shot, that was the time he let go. He never let him go from the time he first initially grabbed him until the first shot went off and the officer let go. And, that is how we were able to run at the same time. By now, his vehicle is parked in a way that both lanes are blocked. So, now the cars are here three vehicles lined up now. And, the first car I see, I duck behind for cover because I fear for my life. I am scarred and I don't know what is going on. I don't understand why this officer is shooting his weapon at us. FF: As you are leaving, he is still shooting? DJ: No. At this time, like I said, I felt like the officer is in shock because we were running for two minutes or not that much, but for a time where I can get into cover and he can still be running, my friend Big Mike. So, I knew the officer immediately got out of his car. And when my friend saw me, I knew I was in plain sight because he looked dead in my face, he said,'keep running, bro.'and, he kept running past me. I was so scarred, I didn't know what was going on and I was trying to get a handle on a situation that my body was unconscious, it was stuck and I couldn't move. I tried to get a gain on it and I stood up as best as I could, as far as I could. And, I am looking, I am watching the officer and he is pursuing my friend now. I still feel like he was in shock because I am standing in plain sight, but it's like his vision is not on me, anger is not at me. He is going directly for my friend and his weapon is drawn. Now, it wasn't a second after he passed me, he fired another shot. It struck my friend in the back. Then, my friend stopped running because he felt the second shot. The first one I felt like he was in shock. The second shot hit him and he felt it. His hand immediately went in the air and he turned around to the officer, face-to-face

He also claims "He never once attempted to hit the officer" which seems like it's at odds with Wilson having face swelling but it's hard to say without having the police report, photos, etc.

Another quote is "He is not trying to run towards the officer, he turned and stood towards the officer with his hands in the air. Showing the officer that I am not a threat to you. I am not trying to harm you in anyway." I'm already suspicious of this claim because of the family's autopsy but hopefully the official state and federal ones will have more detail.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 5:41 PM
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I'm sorry about 212, everyone. Our comments editor was shot dead this morning by mall police.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 5:41 PM
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Maybe we could get Zach Lowe to add 18,000 additional words to 212, discussing how the Ferguson killing relates to a third-string backup center for the Atlanta Hawks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 5:55 PM
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I thought the working hypothesis on the Brown side was the officer tried to open the door into him but it bounced off the big guy and rebounded to hit the officer in the face. Which is then what pissed him off and made him grab Brown, thinking he'd just been assaulted by this kid.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 5:57 PM
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Face swelling is only in the reports from the (now undeniably) dishonest reports from the police chief. We also have no indication of the severity of it. Also if I'm remembering this right the part of Johnson's story that you inadvertently left off talks about the police officer trying to open the door into Brown and Johnson and it bouncing back at him (it was in the summary above anyway), which could easily have ended up in his face.

The first time he was hit could be any one of the non-headshot wounds that show up on the autopsy so I'm not seeing any obvious conflict there.

Also "he said, watching from a distance, that he was struck in the back but actually he was struck in the arm next to his back! Witness discredited!" line is hardly convincing.

Also, 214, what are you talking about?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 5:58 PM
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213: As you've said, it can be difficult to tell when someone has been shot. It would be very easy for an eyewitness to mistake turning around in response to being shot at for turning around i response to being shot.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:01 PM
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Also if I'm remembering this right the part of Johnson's story that you inadvertently left off

I felt like I was already quoting too much in my comment there Mr. McWordy. But I do wish we could see the police reports and other autopsies because I really am not seeing how Johnson's interview is "highly consistent" with the physical evidence.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:04 PM
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219- Would you say that it's unusual that they haven't released a police report after, what, 10 days?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:06 PM
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OT: The bartender brought me the same beer I ordered last night before I asked for anything. I just got here yesterday, so it's not like there is a history. I'm not sure whether to be impressed or offended. I guess I'm glad I'm memorable given how hard it is to obtain reliable testimony. (Note: I am no longer off topic.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:07 PM
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So he learned your face because you look like the kind of person who's going to shoot someone?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:09 PM
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These (highly visible, but non-serious) injuries that show up days and days later are awfully suspicious. Nobody mentioned George Zimmerman being injured until fairly late in the game either.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:11 PM
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From the link in 207:

In 2001, two undercover drug officers from Dellwood shot and killed two men... The officers said the suspects, who had prior felony convictions for drug and assault offenses, tried to escape arrest and then drove toward the officers.

A subsequent federal investigation showed that the men were unarmed and that their car had not moved forward when the officers fired 21 shots and killed the suspects, Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley...

McCulloch didn't prosecute the officers... he said of Murray and Beasley, "These guys were bums."...

After being criticized, McCulloch refused to back down, saying, "The print media and self-anointed activists have been portraying the two gentlemen as folk heroes and have been vilifying the police. I think it is important for the public to know that these two and others like them for years have spread destruction in the community dealing crack cocaine and heroin."

Yeah, they're taking a while with the police report because they know the public deserves an honest reckoning of the facts and they don't want to rush things.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:11 PM
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Last sentence of 224 not actually in the quoted link.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:12 PM
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220: Not unusual, especially considering multiple autopsies and the rest of the circus going on around this.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:12 PM
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I'd like to imagine it was.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:13 PM
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227 to 225.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:14 PM
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219: Yeah, it was very considerate of you to edit it down by removing the part that explained the bit that you said it didn't explain.

But, please, tell me what specific inconsistencies there are above things like "he said back but it was probably back of the arm".

This is also at least the second time (gunshot residue) when instead of making an actual argument in favor of the police chief's story you've indicated some other thing we don't have now and suggested it would make your case for you. That's... not the sort of thing that indicates a solid rationale.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:15 PM
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These (highly visible, but non-serious) injuries that show up days and days later are awfully suspicious

SOP here would be medical evaluation and photos taken at the hospital or soon after. Possibly additional pics to document things like bruising that develops. Supposedly Wilson got the med eval but I haven't heard any specifics on extent of injuries or photos.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:16 PM
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207, 209, 211: Yep. The Jeff Smith article in the NYT and the WaPo write-up on it were deeply informative.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:18 PM
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223: Agreed.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:18 PM
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Yes, because they haven't had time to doctor them up yet.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:19 PM
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226: and the rest of the circus going on around this.

A circus which to a large extent is the making of the Ferguson and St; Louis County PD, for Christ's sake. But at least they've been consistent in their reticence about releasing preliminary information that might prejudice and investigation and or court case ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:39 PM
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Yeah, it was very considerate of you to edit it down by removing the part that explained the bit that you said it didn't explain.

Seriously, are you reading any of this stuff at all? Here's the quote.

And now, he is at an angle where we are so close to his door and him, that when he tries to thrust the door open aggressively, it doesn't come an inch out before it strikes both of us. He is a larger man than me, so it hit (Mike) more than it hit me, but we both felt it and instantly closed back on the officer.

According to him the door opens an inch and they push it closed with no mention of it striking Wilson. You think this would explain face swelling? And dude, how are you exiting a vehicle that a bounce back would take you full in the face? Are you opening the door and leaning your head way out while taking care to keep all your other limbs inside?

And with the autopsy, again, I have to wonder if you've read the damn thing. The NY Times article linked in this very thread states shots from the front, four in the arm, two in the head, and none of them appearing to be close range. Dorian says one shot from close range while entangled with the cop in the vehicle and another in the back after Brown runs. He then says Brown turns around with his hands up, giving up, and Wilson proceeds to shoot him several times in the head and chest.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:48 PM
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It seems like the lack of gun powder residue makes both the cop and the witness liars. The cop claims the gun went off while they were struggling for the gun, but Brown should have residue on a least one hand. The witness claims Brown was shot a close range but then he should have residue in the wound. I wouldn't be surprised if both sides were lying here. It does seem more damning for the cop though.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 6:57 PM
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The lack of GSR doesn't make anyone a liar. But if Brown was shot at that close a range there should be stippling and the family's autopsy didn't find that, with the caveat that they didn't have access to the clothes. But even if they did find it on the clothes I don't think Dorian's necessarily lying about that part. That kind of situation is chaotic and stressful and your brain does weird shit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:14 PM
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My brain does weird shit when I'm calm.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:28 PM
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My brain does weird shit when I'm calm.

And we're all the richer for it.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:34 PM
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Johnson is the guy I'd credit least just because he's being jostled, running, and dodging bullets. This is not a situation that's conducive to recalling precisely what happened when where.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:35 PM
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Yeah, I think of all the eyewitness reports Johnson's is probably the least likely to be accurate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 7:43 PM
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Back to the important part, it appears that the introduction of the National Guard has made everything exponentially worse.

Two people who have been retweeting a billion things per second.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-18-14 10:39 PM
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exponentially worse.

Your phrasing fails to match reality on the ground, is rhetorically empty, and a cringe-worthy cliche. Are you lobbying for a Sunday gabfest guest appearance?

Other than that, yes the National Guard did not appear to fix anything.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 5:00 AM
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Maybe the exponent is 1.05 or something.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 5:12 AM
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Or 1. Or less than 1.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 5:43 AM
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"This situation has become polynomially worse."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 5:48 AM
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246 cont'd: "But at their roots, the problems seem disappear."


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:00 AM
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"We're treating the asymptote, not the disease"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:11 AM
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Hyperbolically worse! (i.e. it's not as bad as it sounds).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:19 AM
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These elliptical comments drive LB crazy. Say what you men.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:31 AM
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"This situation is complex" (partly imaginary).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:43 AM
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+a


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 6:56 AM
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SAY WHAT, YOU MEN?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 7:07 AM
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Looks like ogged was more right than we thought:

Minutes before the Ferguson Police Chief sounded his dog whistle, our petition was getting 1,000 signatures an hour for 48 hours straight. Literally, and I mean instantaneously, after the Police Chief sounded his dog whistle, we went from 1,000 an hour to 150 an hour. In other words, by releasing the video of Mike Brown stealing cigars, the police chief said, "White people. It's OK. You don't have to care"

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 8:07 AM
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Otherwise that petition was on course to change everything.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-14 1:15 PM
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