Posts tagged ‘Radley Balko’

Rise of the Warrior Cop – What could go wrong?

It’s critical to appreciate the history of policing, to understand that what we now see as normal and inescapable wasn’t always the case. For most of our history, this country did not have a group of people with shields and guns who wandered the streets ordering people about. The fall from grace, If you perceive it as I do, came fast and hard.

American attitudes toward police were built on images of Andy Griffith, strolling the streets of Mayberry to save random cats and, an allusion Radley employs, serving as guest umpire in the occasional baseball game. Good. Honest, One of us. This was the police officer upon whom we relied, and the one we pictured as we told our children that they were here to help us; they were our friend.
. . .
The book contains required caveat number 3, mentioned numerous times that this is not an anti-cop book. And indeed, Radley pays homage to those within law enforcement who recognized the developing schism between police and the public that would lead us to blur the line between soldier fighting a foreign enemy on the battlefield and police fighting a domestic enemy on the streets of America, using the same clothing, weapons and attitudes.

Book Review: Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop

Radley Balko’s column

Rise Of The Warrior Cop

There’s certainly a lot of overlap between the war on drugs and police militarization. But if we go back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were two trends developing simultaneously. The first was the development and spread of SWAT teams. Darryl Gates started the first SWAT team in L.A. in 1969. By 1975, there were 500 of them across the country. They were largely a reaction to riots, violent protest groups like the Black Panthers and Symbionese Liberation Army, and a couple mass shooting incidents, like the Texas clock tower massacre in 1966.

At the same time, Nixon was declaring an “all-out war on drugs.” He was pushing policies like the no-knock raid, dehumanizing drug users and dealers, and sending federal agents to storm private homes on raids that were really more about headlines and photo-ops than diminishing the supply of illicit drugs.

But for the first decade or so after Gates invented them, SWAT teams were largely only used in emergency situations. There usually needed to be an immediate, deadly threat to send the SWAT guys. It wasn’t until the early 1980s under Reagan that the two trends converged, and we started to see SWAT teams used on an almost daily basis — mostly to serve drug warrants.

How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Police State

There’s certainly a lot of overlap between the war on drugs and police militarization. But if we go back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were two trends developing simultaneously. The first was the development and spread of SWAT teams. Darryl Gates started the first SWAT team in L.A. in 1969. By 1975, there were 500 of them across the country. They were largely a reaction to riots, violent protest groups like the Black Panthers and Symbionese Liberation Army, and a couple mass shooting incidents, like the Texas clock tower massacre in 1966.

At the same time, Nixon was declaring an “all-out war on drugs.” He was pushing policies like the no-knock raid, dehumanizing drug users and dealers, and sending federal agents to storm private homes on raids that were really more about headlines and photo-ops than diminishing the supply of illicit drugs.

How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko

Overarmed federal officials increasingly employ military tactics as a first resort in routine law enforcement. From food-safety cases to mundane financial matters, battle-ready public employees are turning America into the United States of SWAT.

FBI agents and U.S. marshals understandably are well fortified, given their frequent run-ins with ruthless bad guys. However — as my old friend and fellow columnist Quin Hillyer notes — armed officers, if not Special Weapons and Tactics crews, populate these federal agencies: the National Park Service; the Postal Inspection Service; the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; the Bureaus of Land Management and Indian Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Even Small Business Administration and Railroad Retirement Board staffers pack heat!
Continue reading ‘Police State’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The police lie? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.

That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”

Stop-and-Frisk Watch App – MY ACLU

Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs — in Tulia, Tex. and Oakland, Calif., for example — have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in.
. . .
The fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.

Why Police Lie Under Oath

PoliceMisconduct.net – Cato

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Google Books


(Elizabeth Ritter and Coward County Sheriffs “Officers”)
Nothing to see here, move along.

Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)

The Agitator – Radley Balko

[A]n innocent man was convicted of murdering a Brooklyn rabbi in 1990. Chaskel Werzberger, an adviser to the Satmar rebbe, was fatally shot by a would-be robber who stole his car while fleeing the scene of a bungled diamond heist. David Ranta, now 58, has been in prison since 1991 for the crime, based mainly on testimony from self-interested witnesses who later admitted they had lied and a detective’s uncorroborated report of a confession that Ranta has always denied making. Powell and Otterman report that “four of the five witnesses in the first lineup did not identify Mr. Ranta.” Furthermore, the eyewitness who should have gotten the clearest look at Werzberger’s killer, the diamond courier he tried to rob, testified at the trial that Ranta was “100 percent not” the right man. The jury evidently gave more weight to other witnesses, including one who was 13 at the time and now says a detective told him to pick Ranta out of a lineup.

In 1996, five years after Ranta began serving his sentence, a woman testified that her husband, an armed robber who was identified by an anonymous tipster as Werzberger’s killer shortly after the crime but died in a car crash a few months later, had confessed to her. But that was not enough to win Ranta a new trial. “I figured I was going to die in prison,” he told the Times. Since then, Powell and Otterman write, “nearly every piece of evidence in this case has fallen away,” including the testimony of a criminal who avoided a potential life sentence by claiming to have been Ranta’s accomplice. This week Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who was elected to his first term the year before Werzberger’s murder, announced that he was recommending Ranta’s release based on an investigation by a unit that Hynes created to uncover wrongful convictions. Powell and Otterman’s story shows how the pressure to solve a high-profile murder, a criminal’s incentive to lie in exchange for more lenient treatment, and a cop’s determination to convict someone he’s sure is guilty can combine to create a terrible injustice.

When a Cop Claims a Murder Suspect Confessed, Ask for the Tape

Photography is Not A Crime (PINAC)

Simple Justice – A New York Criminal Defense Blog

Bill of Rights card

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,