Re: They Still Don't, I Guess

1

Just looking at the headline, and taking into account the time of year, I thought the item was going to be about "Do They Know It's Christmas."

Which really ought to be banned.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 11:49 AM
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Huh. I had no idea it was supposed to be controversial. I recall hearing it on the radio in Germany approximately 700 times a day during the relevant time period.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 2:39 PM
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Germans aren't known for worrying about some things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 2:42 PM
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Do you really think Michael Jackson didn't include you when he said "they?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 4:30 PM
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I figured they and us were the same people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 5:45 PM
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THAT'S HOW YOU SPOT THE ENEMY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED POGO | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 5:54 PM
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Is it standard practice for lawyers to think juries should hear false testimony?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 7:38 PM
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I remember the "kike" thing, but nothing about black-white relations. And thought it was just an album track, not a single.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-14 7:44 PM
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Which really ought to be banned.

I am far from being a free speech absolutist in the American sense, but if we resort to censorship on the grounds of cringeworthy taste, who should 'scape whipping?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 5:30 AM
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Oooh, yeah. Whipping is a good idea, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 7:57 AM
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That link in 7 is just stunning in the "hey people who thought he shouldn't get away with it nyah nyah nyah nyaaaaahhh nyah" way that characterizes his previous statements as well.

I mean, admitting that the witnesses were openly lying, and that he absolutely knew it and then saying: "I thought it was much more important to present the entire picture and say, 'Listen, this is what this witness says he saw,'" he added.

The complete picture! Including the parts that aren't part of it!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 8:04 AM
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7: You're only objecting to the presentation of false testimony to a grand jury because you're overcome by the emotional nature of the case. And I empathize with that. I detest the presentation of false witness statements in all courts of law in all jurisdictions, but that's a systematic issue best dealt with systematically. It can only be reformed by reforming the way people witness things. It's not the real problem here.

The real problem was that faced with so much public scrutiny, the DA had to make a difficult choice: apply his judgment and discretion to sift the false from the true, with assistance from other trained professionals involved in the investigation, or present all information to the grand jury, even testimony that he is personally biased against. In an ordinary case, maybe he would have been able to cut corners and exclude the testimony of an obviously unreliable individual, but this case had to be gone over with total thoroughness.

So maybe it's not standard practice to put false witness testimony in front of grand juries, but when you think about it, it should be. This was simply a case of the system working to its full extent, something you so rarely see.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 10:50 AM
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The fuck?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 10:57 AM
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12 has to be extremely heavy, deadpan sarcasm. But, man, fa, I wouldn't expect anyone who hadn't known you for quite a while to pick that up - if I were relying on internal evidence, I'd be convinced you were serious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:04 AM
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I guess this is why the "satire" tag was invented.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:06 AM
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It's a pretty good Ripper impersonation.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:07 AM
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If I had the Justice Department's undivided attention, this is the kind of thing I would keep to myself, lest they ask me about any other times I might have let a witness lie to a jury.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:45 AM
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I mean, props. And it's crazy enough that I didn't need to you know you particularly better than "Not an insane person" to identify it. But I would have fallen for it as serious from anyone I didn't have history with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:47 AM
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Please come back with more details on "reforming the way people witness things" because that was beautiful!

17 is an interesting point.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:52 AM
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Just for reference, here's the Missouri Rules Of Professional Conduct:

RULE 3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:...

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer's client, or a witness called by the lawyer has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence, other than the testimony of a defendant in a criminal matter, that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.

Just in case anyone gets confused, that the prosecutor did not conceal the evidence discrediting Witness 40 does not satisfy his ethical obligation. He's obligated to keep her off the stand if he knows her evidence to be false -- "reasonable remedial measures" is for the situation where he finds out after he's offered her testimony that it's false. And I wouldn't think of what he did, also presenting the evidence discrediting her, as a reasonable remedial measure without an active statement that the prosecution considered that discrediting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:58 AM
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Would bringing in witnesses to testify in front of a grand jury when you're confident that their testimony is false (and that they're lying) suborning perjury? I mean, I assume that the general Prosecutors Are Immune From The Law principle would probably apply, but that's got to also be a pretty direct violation of legal ethics too (I mean in the official-set-of-rules-for-licensing sense, that is, not the actual-ethics one).

His defense does remind me of one of my favorite bits of academic-obsessive-completeness, though, which is this reader's note from the Oxford Complete Works of Aristotle:

A single asterisk against the title of a work [in the table of contents] indicates that its authenticity has been seriously doubted; a pair of asterisks indicates that its spuriousness has never been seriously contested.

(There are thirteen works with two asterisks against their names. It is a very complete works of Aristotle.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:00 PM
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That link in 7 is just stunning

Oh good lord. Loads of witnesses are totally full of shit but it's the kind thing that's hard to prove so yeah, often people who are big liarfaces make it on the stand and everybody knows it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:02 PM
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20 -> 21. In my defense it took me a few minutes to go find that quote, though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:02 PM
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So, gswift, including people that the prosecutor damn well knows, and admits being certain of, are lying? And not just lying but was in fact in no way a witness at all?

I don't know that that really counts. If it does though I should totally go visit SLC and start making trouble for people charged with things I don't think should be crimes (e.g., drug war crap): "Oh yes I totally saw the whole thing. He was wearing a giant bear costume and dancing an Irish jig. Just before the police showed up an alien ship landed and they forced him at ray gun point to hold on to their pot for them."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:07 PM
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22: Really, no. People lie all the time on the stand, everyone knows it, and it's not necessarily a big deal. But if you're a lawyer, and you put someone on the stand when you know they're lying, you're breaking the rules. Ethical lawyers don't do it, and unethical lawyers maintain plausible deniability. What McCulloch did was breaking the rules, and he openly walked away from any deniability on the subject.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:12 PM
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Loads of witnesses are totally full of shit but it's the kind thing that's hard to prove so yeah, often people who are big liarfaces make it on the stand and everybody knows it.

If you're supposed to be making a case, though, and you know (or think) the witness is lying in a direction that makes that less likely, then it doesn't really seem like you're actually trying that hard to make the case.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:15 PM
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What about all the pro-Brown witnesses whose testimony was put before the grand jury but whose testimony was also obviously likely non-credible? Oh wait, I forgot, those were the people you weren't supposed to question.

Watching purported liberals, especially lawyers, tie themselves in knots over the grand jury in Ferguson is just an embarrassment for everyone involved, though I guess it's not stunning that there's a results-driven view of the law in all directions. There was a reasonably fair process tha resulted in not indicting someone who shouldn't have been indicted, because physical evidence made a conviction (properly) impossible. If you actually read the grand jury testimony, that is what the grand jury focused on. Get over it, and find an actual outrage to worry about. It sure looks like there was one in NYC recently.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:17 PM
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Why didn't my outrage turn out to be an outrage?? Because that's where the evidence led. But, keep digging and I'm sure you'll find something.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:18 PM
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27 raises a good point: what about all those witnesses who gave testimony that made it look more like Wilson murdered Brown but were really obviously lying, and that the prosecutor knew were lying and quoted in his press statement afterwards eh liberals who I am in no way dishonestly trolling? I mean, there were so many of them that it's not even necessary to give any examples!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 12:26 PM
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there were so many of them that it's not even necessary to give any examples!

You mean like witnesses 35 and 41 who said Brown was on his knees surrendering and Wilson walked up to him and executed him?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 1:06 PM
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27 is an appeal to the nonexistent Law of Conservation of Outrage.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 1:08 PM
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more details on "reforming the way people witness things"

Uber, but for witnessing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 1:10 PM
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30: If you think it was just as clear that they were lying and the prosecutor knew they were lying, they shouldn't have testified either. What I'm outraged about specifically is that the McCulloch acted unethically, in the tightly defined sense set forth in the Rules of Professional Conduct. If he's sure someone's lying, and that applies to Witness 40 certainly, possibly the other two but I haven't gone over their testimony so I don't have the same level of certainty, it was unethical for him to put them on the stand.

Ripper's snideness aside, the 'results-driven' view of the law is the one that doesn't care if the prosecutor disregards his ethical obligations so long as the ultimate result is one that doesn't bother you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 1:21 PM
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If you think it was just as clear that they were lying and the prosecutor knew they were lying

Offhand I know at least two of the "on his knees surrendering" witnesses changed that story on the stand. Witness 22 admitted she didn't even see the shooting and 35, Dorian Johnson's cousin, admitted to fabricating parts of his story. Witness 41 also told that type of story and I'm pretty sure didn't recant hers but did tell the jury she's on psych meds and has three personalities.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 1:51 PM
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Like I said, if the prosecutor knew they were lying when he put them on the stand, he had an ethical obligation not to put them on the stand. Inventing an insane, fucked up, unethical process that ended up in Wilson not getting indicted is an outrage whether or not Wilson should have been indicted, and getting into speculation about the exact effect of all the unethical shit is missing the point. We can't know the net effect of all the violations of normal ethics and procedure, but that's why you're supposed to stay within ethical and procedural norms, because once you're fucking around like that there's no way to unwind it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 2:09 PM
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But it's often difficult to prove someone's lying about what they saw short of being able to demonstrate something like that person wasn't physically at the location of the crime when it occurred. Take witness 35, Dorian Johnson's cousin. The forensics are totally at odds with his account of Brown being executed while on his knees. He retracted on stand after being confronted with the fact that his story was impossible in light of the physical evidence. Should he and the other witnesses who claimed that on the knees type story been kept off the stand because their stories weren't consistent with physical evidence? What about the woman who claimed Wilson emptied his magazine into Brown after he was down on the pavement?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 2:55 PM
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kept off the stand because their stories weren't consistent with physical evidence

That's not the standard for the ethics violation LB is citing; the standard is "knowledge," not "reasonable belief" or something. And McCulloch is saying he knew some testimony was false.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 3:02 PM
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Well now shit's fucked up in NY- Right wing NYFD guy on my FB feed says blood is on Obama's hand and now it's "Game on."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 3:25 PM
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But it's often difficult to prove someone's lying about what they saw short of being able to demonstrate something like that person wasn't physically at the location of the crime when it occurred.

Which, here, McCulloch admits he knew:

this lady clearly wasn't present when this occurred. She recounted a statement that was right out of the newspaper about Wilson's actions, and right down the line with Wilson's actions. Even though I'm sure she was nowhere near the place.

I mean it's one thing to err on the side of inclusivity and let the gj sort it out when you're really not sure about this or that detail of the story of someone who, as far as you know, actually witnessed the events. It's another thing to just let any fabulist walk in off the street when you know she wasn't even a witness* and oh my god why am I getting drawn into this again.

*And sure I suppose it's only in restrospect that he became certain that she wasn't there, at the time she testified he didn't know, but if so that was pure wilfull ignorance.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 3:43 PM
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fn s/b "I suppose it's possible that it was only in retrospect..."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 3:44 PM
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36: Part of what's going on here is that the 'show them all the evidence' thing McCulloch claimed to be doing is nuts. McCulloch was supposed to be making a case. If he were making a case against Wilson, his ethical obligation would be to evaluate the plausibility of the witnesses he was going to put on the stand, and if he was sure they weren't telling the truth, not to use them. And the fact that he's supposed to openly be on one side of the case gives you a way to evaluate the level of wrongdoing -- if he were trying to indict Wilson, and he was sure that a witness telling the kneeling execution story was a liar, he would be violating his ethical obligations if he puts them on the stand, and he would be doing it in service of his goal of getting an indictment.

Pretending to take an even-handed position, where he doesn't care how anything turns out, doesn't relieve him of that ethical obligation: "I put on a broad spectrum of liars" isn't a defense. Knowingly presenting false evidence to a tribunal is unethical whether or not it's serving your stated goals, so claiming not to have any goals doesn't make it okay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 4:08 PM
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41 is right: it's pretty obvious that his decision to abandon any normal approach to a grand jury and instead present a series of over forty different witnesses, including several people testifying to things that were clearly false given the physical evidence, and at least one person who was known by him to be perjuring herself in the process, and then to ask the jury whether they thought he was presenting a plausible case against Wilson based on all of that* is clearly not a principled decision of any kind. And openly admitting that some of the people were perjuring themselves is him thumbing his nose at the basic idea that he might have acted in good faith.

*Note that this means that presenting prosecution-favorable fabulists (and ones he clearly states are) doesn't exactly make him out to be a good actor or acting in a neutral or even handed fashion.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 4:46 PM
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The selection of fabulists both pro and con is perfectly consistent with trying not to get an indictment. If they had a witness willing to swear that Wilson was on the grassy knoll, they'd have let that one testify too.

All the eyewitnesses -- "eyewitnesses," really -- cancel each other out, which leaves the GJ with a single question -- does the physical evidence alone make Wilson's statement impossible. That's not the standard at trial, and it's not how the state is supposed to proceed at the GJ.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 7:21 PM
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27: ripper, ripper, ripper. 'obviously likely non-credible' is so different from 'the prosecutor knows she couldn't have been at the location' that I'm embarrassed for you that you're saying this shit. "I'm sure she was no where near the place"--actual quote from DA fuckstick. he has to say this because it's turned out to be trivial to prove that the woman wasn't there. "...short of being able to demonstrate like that person wasn't physically there at the time the crime occurred." yeah, right, but that's the exact fucking thing we're complaining about gswift. also, the prosecutor says he thinks that, because he was going to be criticized no matter what he did, he decided to let anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything testify, even if they were lying. how does even that make sense? ffs you two, you know how bad this is for your side, right? read comment 12. OK, now read it again. then realize how fucktarded it sounds.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 7:39 PM
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That's just results-driven thinking if you want the prosecutor to act in ways that result in a reasonable process.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 7:45 PM
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42,43: right. It's separately true that saying 'he put red mud in the water as well as yellow mud!' is not a defense against the charge 'he muddied the waters.'


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 7:48 PM
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12 is amazing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:14 PM
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48

13 is easier to read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:24 PM
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"...short of being able to demonstrate like that person wasn't physically there at the time the crime occurred." yeah, right, but that's the exact fucking thing we're complaining about gswift

It's not clear to me that he's saying he knows it in the legal sense, like they were able to track her using a credit card at another place or on camera at a bowling alley at the time of the shooting.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:30 PM
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"Knows" isn't a word with a specific legal sense meaning "beyond all shadow of a doubt", it means what a person means when they use the word. In any normal language sense of the word McCulloch knew she was a liar when he put her on the stand.

You can believe there wasn't any injustice done in that Wilson wasn't indicted, but you can't reasonably believe that McCulloch abided by his ethical obligations as an attorney in the way he ran the grand jury proceeding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:47 PM
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People really should read that statement from witness 40 more often, especially the opening. It is unbelievable in the least metaphorical sense possible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:53 PM
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And several metaphorical senses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:54 PM
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If McCulloch couldn't get a grand jury he convened for that purpose to indict McCulloch for misconduct, and it seems clear he couldn't, then McCulloch did nothing wrong.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:56 PM
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Oh wow this thread. When I posted the link in 7 I was kind of troll-baiting but fake accent really kicked it up a notch and gswift and Ripper were right on cue. Well played, everybody.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 9:59 PM
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38: Sounds like that's not far from the official position of the police union in New York. The speed with which they can turn two murdered officers into political hay is amazing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 10:14 PM
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This is great news for the NYPD!

Did you see the cops turned their backs on de Blasio when he went to the hospital? Because holding cops accountable is unacceptable, and you wouldn't want to politicize this moment.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 10:27 PM
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the prosecutor says he thinks that, because he was going to be criticized no matter what he did, he decided to let anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything testify, even if they were lying. how does even that make sense?

Come on, from the get go every ridiculous godamn claim around this case got breathlessly reported all over the place. Remember Dorian Johnson's "the police refuse to interview me" which was repeated on this very blog by people who should have known better. If the DA would have told a bunch of those "Wilson walked up to and executed Brown" witnesses that they were obviously full of shit and no they weren't going to testify we'd have an endless parade of those fuckers on the news, Kos, whatever telling how the investigation was suppressing the real story, etc. So instead he put up all the people who claimed to be witnesses and challenged the ones he thought weren't credible, regardless of which account they favored. Fine, maybe it wasn't strictly to the Missouri Rules Of Professional Conduct. I'm underwhelmed.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 10:41 PM
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Because holding cops accountable is unacceptable, and you wouldn't want to politicize this moment.

The rank and file doesn't like de Blasio (sure, partially because he's a liberal) because that asshole rambled on about racism and Garner without actually knowing shit about how the city's PD performs. The NYPD actually often fatally shoots blacks at a lower rate than whites if you look at racial makeup of suspects firing on the police. I know, we're all shocked he ran his mouth about what he thinks the problem is without actually looking at some data. He also had the balls to say " it was a minor offense he was committing" without mentioning the racketeering suit the city has put together under his watch specifically targeting untaxed cigarettes. Yeah, weird how the cops went around enforcing that law. De Blasio can go fuck himself.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-20-14 11:52 PM
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Setting aside de Blasio specifically, and I appreciate how 58 indicates that he has stupidly spoken without enough knowledge of the situation... it seems like there's really only a small number of activists concerned about the larger issues of "police brutality" or "excessive force". The only time there's significant public outrage against police anywhere is after an incident in which
A) a person was killed by one or more policemen
B) the person was unarmed and/or not threatening the policemen's life
C) there was no punishment for the killing

Is it really too much to hope for, for the police not to be defensive to the point of belligerence after these rare situations occur? What is the deal with these St. Louis and Cleveland police press releases saying the football players should be ashamed of themselves and apologize for wearing T-shirts?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 12:42 AM
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Fuck it, more commenting while drunk! (my wife is a wuss who went to bed early, also, my younger sister and her awesome daughter are coming into town for xmas and I've taken some time off and am not due back into work until next Sat afternoon) Seriously, my niece is a badass. She's two and is a clone of her mom/my favorite sister and already has a longtime obsession with Batman. (that pic is Nov '13)

Anyways, the lack of national data on police shootings is crap and anyone who says otherwise should have to lick Cheney's dusty balls. But fortunately for residents of NYC (I'm looking at you de Blasio), the NYPD puts out the "Annual Firearms Discharge" report so you can discuss the shootings in NYC with the awesomeness of knowledge.

https://www.google.com/#q=Annual+Firearms+Discharge+Report+nypd


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 1:01 AM
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59: Cleveland especially have conducted themselves in an less than stellar manner here. (Cleveland, not a point of light in the world, try to recover from the shock) But, in all honesty, fuck those guys for defending the Tamir Rice and John Crawford shootings. Both of those are almost certainly a direct result of a shit approach by the officers at the scene. Tough love, brothers in blue. If one of us commits a horrendous fuckup that results in a dead body it's time to take a hard look at what went wrong. And don't be a fucking hot house pansy about it. Come on, I've lost track of how many dead bodies I've seen and I can off the top of my head list at least four or five calibers of firearm suicides I've responded to. I'm sure the Cleveland guys have seen the same or worse. Let's not pretend like a few NFL guys in t-shirts you don't like means jack shit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 1:40 AM
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So if some RWNJ takes a crack at de Blasio do we get to say that the head of the police union has blood on his hands? What a fuckstick.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 1:52 AM
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Gswift still seems reasonable to me. If that is trolling it is some silky smooth trolling.

Ripper still seems utterly insane 12 was awesome.

Why is it that when a couple of state troopers get sniped in PA its no biggie, but when 2 cops in NYNY get killed it is all of a sudden a war and the whole department is threatening work to rule?

I'm just spit balling here but maybe the race of the gunmen have something to do with it.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 2:08 AM
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rtcb's point 3 is right: For instance we have an incoming US Senator who said:

"I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere," Ernst said at the NRA and Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa. "But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family -- whether it's from an intruder, or whether it's from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:00 AM
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58: What exactly did deBlasio say about racism that you thought was worth public ostracism from the police? What I heard was him saying that he worried about his black son and his safety around the police, and if that was the offensive statement that seems like a hell of a thing for them to overreact to -- whatever the shooting rates are, black kids in NYC do get hassled by the police.

Biracial kid in my building, nice, nerdy kid, parents are a librarian and a classical oboeist, spent an afternoon in handcuffs when he was twelve for littering and disobeying a police order to pick up his trash. He's twenty now, but I remember him at twelve, and he wasn't one of those six-foot, shaving twelve-year-olds, he was a child. When his mother the librarian came to pick him up, they lectured her about how he was at risk of becoming a gang member and had dangerous authority issues. The kid was terrified, the parents were terrified, no one in the family feels safe around police.

It's not all about racism; same guy had a story about a middle-aged white classical trombone player getting beaten up by Wiles-Barre police for refusing to sign a traffic ticket. But your odds of getting that kind of scary treatment do seem to be worse if you're not white, and that the NYPD thinks they're entitled to make it unacceptable for the mayor to say so in public is disgusting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:02 AM
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I know, we're all shocked he ran his mouth about what he thinks the problem is without actually looking at some data.

Got it. So in NYC we need to take it within the context of the overall statistics,* not the very well-documented incident; but in St. Louis it is the specifics of the incident which win out,

*And if we're going to nitpick, statistics not directly relevant to the situation. Gosh. might the stop and frisk statistic be relevant?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:10 AM
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specifically targeting untaxed cigarettes

The opening scenes of Beverly Hills Cop have come to mind from time to time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:12 AM
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68

60: that's an awesome little batwoman.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:45 AM
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60.1: Agree with 68. Adorable.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 7:36 AM
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57: gswift, the woman doesn't live nearby. first she claimed to the police that she went to the reasonably fucking distant area to visit a friend she hadn't seen even once since high school, but without either the correct address or her cellphone. so she stopped to ask a rando black dude directions (?). on the stand she changed her story and brought in a diary entry to prove she had really been, which said she drove all the way to florrisant in order to understand black people better so she could stop calling the, niggers like how she does now. when questioned very briefly, it was revealed she couldn't have exited the apartment complex the way she claimed because its not laid out like she claimed, because she ain't never been there. no responsible prosecutor should ever have let her near the stand, and you'd be making your own argument a lot stronger if you said, 'yeah he fucked that up, but...' for real. as an actual person who likes you and thinks you make good-faith arguments. give this one up.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 7:37 AM
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68: cosign.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 8:52 AM
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DeBlasio's main offense here is having a black family and responding the way anyone with a black kid would. The cops treatment of him is disgusting.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 9:05 AM
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The whole "Black Lives Matter" thing is just nonsense. No, they don't matter. Never have, and probably never will, at least in my lifetime. As noxious, political naivete, it's really only one step up from politicians using the word "healing" after every riot. Black lives don't matter to the cops, they don't matter to white people, and they don't even matter to Black people. You wanna see Black lives mattering? Time for Plan B.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 9:22 AM
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And not just disgusting, but disgusting in a really specifically dangerous way. Cops who want what the mayor said to be unacceptable are asking for police generally to be unaccountable -- that it's less of a problem that the police had my twelve-year-old neighbor terrified and handcuffed than that the mayor should say in public that he's reasonably afraid that that kind of thing or worse could happen to his kid too.

Not all cops are bad, obviously most aren't. But if they're all joining forces to insist that no one talk about the bad ones in public, nothing's going to get fixed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 9:27 AM
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They'll get worse, and quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 9:31 AM
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Obviously what happened was a tragedy, but De Blasio really didn't do anything to inflame the situation. You don't see the cops turning their back on Pantaleo and saying he has blood on his hands when obviously of anyone he did the most to inflame things by killing Garner in the first place.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:19 AM
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Look, let's not blow this out of perspective by saying the guy who killed someone with his bare hands has blood on his hands.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:22 AM
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He also had the balls to say " it was a minor offense he was committing" without mentioning the racketeering suit the city has put together under his watch specifically targeting untaxed cigarettes. Yeah, weird how the cops went around enforcing that law. De Blasio can go fuck himself.

You can troll better than this. I can't find the full transcript, but the quote per WSJ and Post is "Obviously, it was a minor offense he was committing -- there's no way it should have ended up in this situation." This is pretty obviously saying Garner should not have been murdered, not be should not have been approached or arrested. I could be proven wrong with more context, but considering de Blasio refused even to condemn the grand jury decision, it's pretty shitting unlikely.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:22 AM
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The whole "Black Lives Matter" thing is just nonsense. No, they don't matter. Never have, and probably never will, at least in my lifetime.

Huh? Not sure if you're being facetious here. Descriptive, yes, you're right, but BLM is a normative statement, calling out that for those in power it's not the case.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:26 AM
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Anyone else find it a little suspicious that the two cops who got shot were nonwhite? Sounds like a false-flag operation on the part of the PBA to sacrifice a couple of cops no one cares about and won't miss to improve their political standing.

79: If Black lives mattered, it wouldn't just be TWO officers shot in reprisal.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:33 AM
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disgusting in a really specifically dangerous way

Exactly. Their position seems to be the Jack Nicholson line from a Few Good Men, "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way."

No, actually, we're going to tell you exactly how to do your job, because you can't seem to figure it out, and if you don't like it, you can take all your awesome bravery and do a genuinely dangerous job, like logging, or roofing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:34 AM
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Honestly, my kneejerk response was that de Blasio's daughter, who's black/biracial and has bipolar disorder (and confessed to self-medicating with pot and alcohol as a teen), might be at even higher risk, but that also seems like I'm being judgmental about how well people with well-managed bipolar disorder can do, which is not exactly what I mean.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:35 AM
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Descriptive in 79 s/b descriptively.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:37 AM
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SP's friend from 38 is Rudy Giuliani?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:43 AM
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80.1 is nuts on an entirely new and higher level. Yes, the supposed shooter is innocent. The NYPD killed two of their own!
Never go full macmanus...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:48 AM
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Full Natilo has always already been as bad as full mcmanus. Inciting revolutionary violence from the comfort of his chair is sort of his schtick, no?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:54 AM
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We're all quoting the union saying the mayor has blood on his hands, but I'm completely flabbergasted by what they said right after: "We have... become a 'wartime' police department. We will act accordingly."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:10 AM
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87: I read an article last night saying that statement hadn't been verified to actually come from the union. Has it now?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:12 AM
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I had the impression that the really crazy statement wasn't officially from the union, it was just circulating among the police. But "blood on his hands" is from the union, and that's crazy enough for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:14 AM
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Oops, yes, should have remembered from Twitter a statement was going around misattributed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:17 AM
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86: His chair might suck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:32 AM
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I have a chess set with two queens of each color. I guess because of gay marriage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 11:35 AM
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It's bizarre that the police union decided to take this opportunity not as a chance to humanize the police and increase sympathy for the police, but rather as a chance to double down and try harder to convince everyone that the cops don't give a shit about anyone but themselves and consider themselves the enemies of the people their supposed to serve (which is exactly who the protestors are).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 12:25 PM
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Damnit, I was going to post this because there's a loosely related guest post, but I've been holding a baby all day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 12:32 PM
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"This" meaning something that we've just specifically mentioned in the thread? Post it anyway. People probably have more to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 12:34 PM
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Just posted. "This" was supposed to refer to the two cops killed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 12:40 PM
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I'm not aligning myself with the PBA blood on his hands nonsense here. That was idiotic and that's not what I'm talking about.

But there's a lot of frustration from the rank and file guys that these things inevitably turn into a knee jerk the cops are a threat to black people rant without anyone bothering to examine if that's actually the case. DeBlasio has a whole staff that could actually pull the numbers for him in a just a few minutes. Like, frisk data, for example (page 16).

A look proportionally at what occurs during stops for members of each group (Figure 12)
shows that the percentage of stops involving Blacks and Hispanics that lead to frisks and
the use of physical force are almost identical. Members of both groups are more likely
than Whites to be frisked (57% and 56% compared to 42%) and be subjected to physical
force (25% and 24% compared to 18%) during the stops.

Or he could find out that in 2012 that blacks were 79 percent of the subjects firing on the police but only 69 percent of those killed. (page 24) In 2011 blacks were 67 percent of the suspects firing on the police but only 22 percent of the people killed by police (page 28). Blacks are about 25 percent of the population there and they're getting stopped in the frisk numbers at around twice that. But blacks are also 63 percent of the murder victims and 55 percent of the murder suspects. They're 33 percent of the robbery victims and 70 percent of the robbery suspects. They're 47 percent of the felony assault victims and 56 percent of the suspects. Blacks are about 75 percent of the victims and the suspects in shootings. Blacks are 69 percent of the firearms arrests. Those above numbers are all from the 2013 NYPD enforcement report.

No one's claiming things are perfect and that they couldn't get better. If deBlasio wants to go on about racism and how his son is at risk from the police maybe he should actually check to see if it's true.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 2:40 PM
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86: Whose been incited to revolutionary violence by me? I certainly haven't heard of anyone. If it were up to me, there'd be a peaceful general strike. But, instead, it will be business as usual -- cops killing unarmed black people over and over and over again. I'm just pointing out that no one actually has a serious problem with that state of affairs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 2:43 PM
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None of those stats address the fact that if you're black or Hispanic in New York, you're much more likely to have an unjustified hostile encounter with the police. This is anecdotal, but it's anecdotal from my neighbor's kid, and from Sally's rugby team, and from both of their classmates, and and and.

To anyone who lives in NYC, anyone who denies that a teenage black boy is very likely to get harassed by the police whether or not he's doing anything wrong sounds either like they don't know what it's like living here, or if it's clear they do know what it's like, like they're lying through their teeth. You aren't familiar with the city, so that's fine. The head of the policemen's union getting outraged at DeBlasio for saying something that everyone with black relatives, friends, or neighbors knows is lying his ass off.

The other thing, is that even if Garner were Swedish, it wouldn't be okay. Whatever the statistics show about the risk that the NYPD will unnecessarily kill a civilian by their race, every time the NYPD unnecessarily kills a civilian, that's an outrage. (The kind of outrage that probably can't ever be eliminated entirely, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't damn well try.) Garner's death is horrible and worthy of protest because a police officer strangled him while he begged to be allowed to breathe; the racial aspect of police/civilian relations is, while terribly important, secondary to the basic outrage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 2:52 PM
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I don't know if the time my neighbor's kid spent the afternoon in handcuffs shows up on any statistics. They didn't give him a ticket or anything. And it happened eight years ago. He'll still change cars on the subway to get out of sight of a cop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:00 PM
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Ironically (or just disturbingly), I'd bet that changing subway cars to get out of sight of a cop is a very good way to get targeted for being searched and handcuffed by a cop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:02 PM
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Nah, it's pretty inconspicuous if you do it at a station. Not walking between cars, but getting off then on again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:05 PM
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I keep forgetting other cities have more than six subway stations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:07 PM
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Pittsburgh has six subway stations now? That's a lot more than I would have guessed.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:13 PM
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103: and they're places where you board underground vehicles, not buy sandwiches.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:15 PM
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I'm all for statistics, but I don't think DeBlasio would have pleased anyone by going all technocrat at that moment. People were justifiably upset and want to hear that someone in charge understands their anger. He didn't say anything that was wrong or offensive.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:31 PM
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So the NYPD doesn't fire unless it sees the eyes of the whites?

(Sorry, just making a bad joke, not commenting on the issues.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:39 PM
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104: I can think of three that are underground. I figure there must be more. I have only taken it like four times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 3:43 PM
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But there's a lot of frustration from the rank and file guys that these things inevitably turn into a knee jerk the cops are a threat to black people rant without anyone bothering to examine if that's actually the case.

Also, the "don't question us!" routine is a big part of what plays into the perception of cops as a threat. Pantaleo strangles Garner, it's a horrible thing to happen, but people in all professions do horrible things sometimes. Panteleo strangles Garner and spokespeople for the NYPD rank and file get outraged or contemptuous at the people who are calling it a horrible thing to have happened, and that makes me believe that those spokespeople think that what Panteleo did was just fine, which makes policemen generally terrifying.

Frustration about police generally being unfairly called racist if you personally aren't is a perfectly understandable emotion, but aggressively acting out about it in this context is seriously, seriously fucked up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 4:17 PM
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I am also someone who gets squeamish about some of the cultural celebrations of police culture. There's a house two blocks away flying the thin blue line flag and WHHHHHHYYYYYYY? (I have to admit I had to google it because my first guess was that it was one of the BDSM flags.) And I don't see any purpose to those stickers about having donated to a fund for officers that people put in their back windows beyond the common belief that it will get them out of tickets, which seems gross. Outside the Support the Troops Industrial Complex, I don't see this kind of public support for any other group of people who are just doing their jobs. Maybe I'm missing something.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 5:04 PM
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We should all start ostentatiously wearing "I support eclectic webmagazines" buttons.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 5:36 PM
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Lynch also complained about members of "the United States Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol raising their hand as if police officers aren't protecting their rights to do stupid shit like that," referring to a Dec. 11 demonstration in Washington.

Police officers protecting their rights? Does this make any sense at all? Police keep seeing themselves more and more as members of the military.

"If it wasn't for the NYPD you'd be speaking German right now, asshole."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 5:46 PM
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You know, I really don't think I'm being overly sanguine when I say that the prospect of the NYPD doing a work-to-rule job action doesn't make me feel even a little less safe. I believe that some sort of police force is absolutely necessary. But the amount of policing the NYPD can manage while maintaining a literal adherence to all their work rules is, I'm pretty sure, plenty enough to make me feel secure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 5:49 PM
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Yeah, it's like "o noes! fewer stop and frisks! fewer dead black kids! we'll have to pay them so much overtime to get caught up once this all blows over!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 6:04 PM
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I wouldn't be so sanguine about it. If they didn't think work to rule would hurt us they wouldn't be doing it.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:28 PM
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I wouldn't be so sanguine about it.

Well, I wouldn't be so sanguine, either. Domestic violence incidents, for example: not everyone can afford to speak from a position of comfort and security. Some people, due to life circumstances and to broader socioeconomic factors, they really count on the possibility of police protection.

But I'm pretty sure that police memo has been shown to be a hoax?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 12-21-14 10:45 PM
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