Quote Of The Day: NY Times On The NYPD & Guns

by TKOEd • Friday, Dec 14, 2012 • no responses - be the first

From a NYT report on guns & training by Alan Feur:

Some of Mr. Kelly’s troops disagree, going so far as to approach reporters with unsolicited views. One officer, who joined the force with a military background and spoke anonymously because he feared reprisals, said the problem was training. The department has “a factory line” approach to weapons training in which officers “get the basics — breathing, trigger control,” but not much else, he said. “It’s very brief, minimal.”

“Firearms training is important — it’s very important,” the officer concluded. “And it’s something that is not taken seriously.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but the NYPD has participated in enough wild shootings over the years that I was already convinced that our cops get very little/and or very poor weapons training. This is basic shit folks.

 

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The Great White Fright

by TKOEd • Friday, Dec 7, 2012 • no responses - be the first

White man shoots 17 year old Black kid after argument over loud music:

His side of the story is he felt threatened and that is the reason he took action…

It’s amazing how often white men feel threatened by Black males just minding their own damn business. To be clear, this is not a Trayvon Martin redux. The killer was arrested the day after the shooting. I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that there is a non-trivial part of the white male population who are scared to death of Black males. Are we that fucking scary? Do they really believe that we’re all gun-totting gang-bangers? I ask that with all seriousness. What will it take for us to not be seen as the scourge of America to these people. I just want to take care of my family, and contribute to my community. I shouldn’t be nervous every time a white cop walks towards me.

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The Big Story: David Durk, The NYPD & Corruption

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 • no responses - be the first

R.I.P. David Durk.

Frank Serpico. David Durk. One of those names you almost certainly know. One man was played by someone who now a big time movie star. The other man had a minor character loosely based on him with a different name in the same film. David Durk doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.

Frank Serpico is alive. David Durk is dead. This is not an obit to Mr. Durk though, the NY Times has done a far better job than I ever could.

We probably never hear of Frank Serpico if not for David Durk. Their stories are intertwined, and you can run a direct line from Serpico/Durk to Adrian Schoolcraft, a man who’s technically still a cop, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he’s been treated. The stories of these three men, all great cops, should serve as an inspiration to all current, and future police officers. Instead the NYPD attempts to push them into the dustbin of history, and tries to minimize their achievements, and their (corroborated) accusations.

The NYPD has a corruption problem. Their PR guy will tell you that things are 10 times better than they were when Serpico was a cop. Does it even matter though? How much of that is through their own efforts, and how much of that is the decline of mob influence in NYC? The NYPD seems so eager to pat itself on the back instead of acknowledging that they have a shit ton of work to do. Abner Louima, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham. You know the names. You know what happened. And I’m telling you that the way the city, and the NYPD handled the findings of the Knapp Commission, which never happens if not for the persistence, and the insistence of Serpico & Durk, is why we have today’s NYPD. A police force of quotas, harassment, and racism.

…the fallout was minimal. Dozens of officers were prosecuted, but no senior police or city officials were charged.

A few people were cast out, and they called it a day. Ray Kelly was a police officer during those days. I wonder if he’s ever been asked about that era. Was he on the take? He sure does like to minimize police misconduct. How can we expect the NYPD to do their job in a fair, honest, and transparent way when they’ve never tackled the ghosts of the 60s & 70s? How many corrupt cops went on to become senior officers? How many are in the top brass today? We’ll probably never know. What we do know that is that the “blue wall” is as strong as ever. Adrian Schoolcraft’s apt was invaded by cops, and he was tossed in a mental ward by those same cops. Unlawful imprisonment anyone? Of course we’ve seen no criminal charges against any of the officers involved in these Gestapo tactics. I now feel vindicated every time I cross the street to avoid walking next to or crossing paths with a cop. If they can do this shit to another cop bet money they can, and HAVE done it a civilian.

I’ve always said that the police should be held to a higher standard than the average person, but this country seems to completely disagree with me. All over America cops are held to lower standards. Shoot a Black man in the back while he’s face down being handcuffed by another cop? Say you were scared, and you were reaching for your, far lighter, Taser. No one will even ask why you were reaching for your Taser in the 1st place. After the judge gives you double credit for time served you’ll end up serving a year in prison total. Now try, and imagine an average white man who’s not a police officer using any or all of that as an excuse. Now do it for the average Black man. I can’t see either of them getting just a year. Add some “fear”, and make ‘em both cops & it’s likely that they’re acquitted, and continue to be police officers.

All a cop has to do is say they were scared, and they’ll have people lining up to defend them. “You don’t know what it’s like to be a cop.” “Their job is dangerous.” There are around 800,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. (including state & federal officers). In 2010 160 of them were murdered. That’s a rate of .0002. In 2005 about 57,600 cops were assaulted. A rate of .072. Out of that number, about 15,800 were injured. A rate of .0197. My intent is not to minimize police shootings, and assaults, but show that this fear that cops regularly invoke, usually after they’ve shot another unarmed person, is unsubstantiated by the stats. Most cops probably don’t know another officer who’s even been assaulted let alone killed. So what are they so afraid of? The answer seems to be be Black & Latino men. Since we’re the ones that usually end up on the wrong end of a cops glock.

Despite all the talk about “community policing” Ray Kelly has been very confrontational when confronted with just about any criticism of the NYPD. This unwillingness to criticize the self is at the heart the NYPD’s problems, especially with regard to Blacks, and Latinos. When it comes to unwarranted defensiveness, only self-aggrandizing millionaires, and billionaires are in competition. 16 officers get arraigned for ticket fixing, 100s show up in protest. It’s someone else’s fault. They were “just following orders.” Guess what? I believe them. I believe they were just following orders when they stopped, and frisked 685,724 people (87% of them Black & Latino) last year. I also believe that they were just following orders when they stop and frisked 25% less people in the 2nd quarter of this year than last. This brings me back to Ray Kelly, and other cops who were “on the job” during the years the NYPD was nearly completely overrun by corruption. Where are many of these men now? David Durk said during a formal lecture at the police academy he was told to always carry a SASE with him in case he got a bribe. That way he could immediately mail it to himself without fear it would be found later. This is what they were telling recruits! But I’m supposed to believe that the overwhelming majority of corrupt cops who never got any  disciplinary action just suddenly became good cops? Maybe for a little while, ’til the cameras & the reporters & investigators went away, but not for long. Until society stops treating cops as above the law, and infallible we will continue to see corruption, racism & violence flowing from the NYPD.

In 1970 Frank Serpico said:

the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers.

That’s still the case. Just like in the 60′s, and 70′s today’s cops are “just following orders.”

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5 @ 5: War On Drugs – Man Dies Of Allergic Reaction In Police Custody

by TKOEd • Monday, Oct 22, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Apparently some people (Wall Street insiders) it’s wrong to be pissed off at Wall Street, and Goldman in particular because the insiders already know these companies screw their clients

I don’t care if you’re an Atheist. Just don’t be an asshole:

The War On Drugs Claims Another Victim

Solitary confinement is cruel, and usual punishment. Congress should ban it, but they won’t because Americans don’t give a fuck about “criminals.”:

Is Pre-K where income inequality is born? I say no fucking way. It has an impact, but income inequality is about a lot things. Low capital gains tax rates, for one. I don’t think it’s very useful to try & tackle income inequality by looking for a root cause. There is no single thing. Now if you want to talk the achievement gap & Pre-K, I’m all ears.

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Fatherhood Friday: Crime & Punishment

by TKOEd • Friday, Oct 19, 2012 • no responses - be the first

It’s hard for me to punish our daughter. Not because she’s a girl or any nonsense like that, but because she’s a kid. Like all kids she makes a lot of mistakes. Basically, she only gets punished for things on which we know that she knows better, and that what she’s done is wrong or something we don’t want her taking part in.

Today her class was supposed to go apple picking. Erika & I were going as chaperones (mostly because we wanted to pick some apples too!). A minute or so after we get to the school with Kyli one of the school administrators comes up to us & asks Kyli to tell us what she did on the school bus the other day. Kyli’s face immediately changes. It goes from full of joy to showing some shame. Kylie recounts her transgressions. Erika hands me the pastries for the parenting forum the school principal holds every Friday. Erika stays downstairs to speak with one of the other kids involved (Kyli’s cousin). Erika comes upstairs, and tells me the whole story. I decide that we are all not going to go on the trip. Erika goes to inform Kyli’s teachers.

Kyli is predictably very upset that she will not be going on the trip. I err on the side of being tough on Kyli while trying to always keep in mind that’s she’s only 6 years old. The other thing I always keep in mind is that I am raising a Black child in America. Some folks have no problem arresting very young Black children for a tantrum.

These are the issues that white parents don’t have to concern themselves with. We’re raising kids that the older they get the less slack they receive just because of their skin color. In some states, Black & Latino juveniles are far more likely to be tried as adults than their white counterparts charged with the same crimes. Now I’m someone who opposes trying juveniles as adults in ALL situations. The notion that we’re going to say a child was acting as an adult is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. A child is a child is a child. Nothing can change that. The fact that we are the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to life in prison should make us all support continuing that ask why.

Maybe my biggest fear as a father is my child having to deal with our justice system, especially the NYC police. So maybe I’m a little tougher than I need to be sometimes. I’ve been dialing it back, successfully I think. This summer was tough, but Kyli’s been doing better than ever when it comes to actual school work. One thing we’ve learned is that if we’re talking, Kyli is most likely listening. Even when we think she’s not. It can be a long hard struggle to actually see the results, but they always come. But for me, possibly the toughest thing about parenting is the uncertainty. It can take a long time to know if you’re on the right path with your decisions, and as I’ve laid out above it feels like the consequences of being wrong falls harder on our children. At the same time, I’m not interested in stifling Kyli’s personality. All we do is to try, and help her grow into the best Kyli she can be. We’re not interested in raising a child who will fit perfectly into what white society thinks is the best presentation of a Black woman. As I’ve stated before I don’t want her to beholden to anyone or anything, but herself. I believe at some point kids are partially raising themselves, and parents act more as guides than anything else. The tools we give them or help them cultivate up until the point they start to take over can make all the difference. It’s scary that we don’t really know until they’re grown if we’ve given or helped them find all the tools they need. But at the end of the day I think it’s really about do they know they can trust us, and have we helped them find what they need to help themselves. Time will tell, but I feel good about us, my family and our communities.

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Massachusetts Lab Tech Arrested For Faking Drug Tests

by TKOEd • Monday, Oct 15, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Police said the former state crime lab chemist admitted that she altered or faked test results of drug cases assigned to her. Prosecutors said she went as far as adding cocaine to samples that were negative.

“There was clearly a short cutting of corners,” State Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “There was just getting this done as quickly as possible and all of that we’re looking at.”

Officials said during her nine years the lab, Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples. About 11,000 people now in jail were put there in part due to her work.

Already more than a dozen have been released because of questions about how she handled evidence.

But for some reason lots of folks in this country don’t understand why so many people, especially those most likely to be targeted by police, don’t trust the justice system. Couple cases like this with all the forensic science issues with have in this country, and all the police brutality & misconduct & you have a system that hardly any objective observer can be confident in.

Leah Bartos for Pro Publica:

One afternoon early last year, I punched in my credit card information, paid $495 to the American College of Forensic Examiners International Inc. and registered for an online course.

After about 90 minutes of video instruction, I took an exam on the institute’s web site, answering 100multiple choice questions, aided by several ACFEI study packets.

As soon as I finished the test, a screen popped up saying that I had passed, earning me an impressive-sounding credential that could help establish my qualifications to be an expert witness in criminal and civil trials.

For another $50, ACFEI mailed me a white lab coat after sending my certificate.

I don’t know about you, but shit like this makes me not want to leave my house, and carry a video recording device that’s on at all times.

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License To Kill, Or License To Murder?

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Or license to maim, threaten, abuse authority, and be a racist scumbag?

Robbie Tolan

Oscar Grant

Sean Bell

Noel Polanco

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

And many more.

Some names you know, some you may not. Either way we need to ask ourselves why so many Black, and brown men keep ending up dead at the hands of the police in this country. Anaheim police have shot more people this year than in the last 2 years combined. Even a white, double amputee in a wheelchair, and wielding a pen was shot, and killed by an officer who “feared for his partner’s safety and his own safety.” That’s all before we get to Chavis Carter. We’ll probably never know what really happened, because I’m sorry I just don’t buy that this was a suicide.

In my eyes it all starts with ALL forms of law enforcement & military being put on the highest pedestal in all the land. America, and many Americans seem to think the police can basically do no wrong. Other than Oscar Grant I don’t believe that any of these men or their families have received even the slightest amount of recompense from the criminal justice system.

If this many, literally & figuratively, unarmed men can be shot by police we have to seriously wonder what kind of training the law enforcement in this country is receiving. Guess what? We have some idea of the training they’ve received:

The police have received no training that enhances the likelihood they will spot the drug criminals as they drive by and leave everyone else alone. To the contrary, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers have received training that guarantees precisely the opposite. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) trains police to conduct utterly unreasonable and discriminatory stops and searches throughout the United States. Perhaps the best known of these training programs is Operation Pipeline. The DEA launched Operation Pipeline in 1984 as part of the Reagan administration’s rollout of the War on Drugs. The federal program, administered by over three hundred state and local law enforcement agencies, trains state and local law enforcement officers to use pretextual traffic stops and consent searches on a large scale for drug interdiction.

That’s from Michelle Alexander’s excellent book, The New Jim Crow. Considering the large amount of young Black & brown men shot and often times killed after a traffic stop or a “stop and frisk” this is extremely alarming, and infuriating knowledge.

As for that license to kill, we don’t really know much about what cops are taught about when to “discharge” (as if shooting someone is akin firing them) their weapon. What we do know is that there are way too many scared cops on the streets. Let’s take Oscar Grant’s murder for instance. Mehserle claims he was reaching for his Taser. Many have asked, and I’ll ask again. Why? Why would you tase a man who was lying face down being subdued by another police officer? You’re that scared? Why the fuck are you a cop?

In this country police officer is synonymous with “hero.” Unless of course you live in certain communities where the only times you see cops are when they’re pushing you up against a wall for being young, brown & male. Every time I see cops walking the streets I get a little bit nervous. I wonder if this will be the day I have a run in with them. I instinctively want to cross the street. You can’t change that with platitudes or by changing your slogan to Courtesy Professionalism, and Respect. There’s got to be more, a lot more.

Rarely does it ever seem that the police are interested in actually interacting with the people they are supposed to be keeping safe. Every time I see a cop he or she is standing around talking to another cop, giving someone a ticket or arresting someone. Never are they talking to business owners, chatting up the old ladies sitting outside on Eastern Parkway or anything that resembles any sort of outreach. This type of behaviour only reinforces the skepticism the police have earned.

The question we’re left with is what can we do? I’m not sure how we can dramatically lower police shootings of unarmed brown people, but I’ve got some ideas on where we can start:

  • Strong, and persistent pushback against illegal police tactics. I think that this was largely responsible for the drop in stop & frisks in NYC last year.
  • We must acknowledge, and publicize all suspicious police shootings. To me, they’re all suspicious until proven otherwise.
  • We need to push for laws that hold law enforcement to higher standards for shootings, not lower. If they are so well trained as every police commissioner & captain claims then they should have no problem meeting this higher standard.
  • We need support projects like MXGM’s People’s Self Defense Campaign
  • We need to continue the fight to end the “War On Drugs.” The WOD can credibly be considered World War 3 considering the amount of direct, and indirect deaths owed to it.

There’s a lot more we can do of course. Please leave your ideas, projects, and programs in the comment section.

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