Tag: law enforcement

Elizabeth Warren Said What We Needed To Hear

In an address at Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, established by her late predecessor, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) got to the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement and what everyone should be doing to end racial inequality.

source url Transcript for the speech as it was written can be read here

A Question of Justice in Cleveland

In the wake of the acquittal, in a non-jury trial, of white Cleveland police officer of Michael Brelo in the murder of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, Cleveland once again has come under the scrutiny of the Department of Justice.

Federal officials will review the trial testimony and evidence, and a city panel is investigating Mr. Brelo’s actions and police conduct in the episode. Five supervisors face misdemeanor charges for their oversight of the case.

There are also two ongoing investigations of police shootings in November. One is looking into the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was holding a replica gun when a white Cleveland police officer shot him. That shooting, captured on video, has also garnered national attention and resulted in protests.

In the other, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office is investigating the death of Tanisha Anderson. Ms. Anderson, a 37-year-old black woman whose family said she suffered from bipolar disorder, lost consciousness and died in police custody after being placed face down on the pavement. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide

In an attempt to ease the tensions, the Cleveland Police Department reached a settlement with the Justice Department accepting tougher standards and oversight to insure that the rules are followed.

The agreement is part of a settlement with the Justice Department over what federal officials have called a pattern of unconstitutional policing and abuse in Cleveland. The department found in a review released late last year that police officers here used stun guns inappropriately, punched and kicked unarmed people, and shot at people who posed no threat. The episodes often went unreported and uninvestigated, investigators found.

The new rules in Cleveland prohibit officers from using force against people for talking back or as punishment for running away. Pistol whipping is prohibited, and so is firing warning shots, the agreement says. The city has agreed to allow an independent monitor to track its progress. If the city does not put into effect the changes specified in the settlement, a federal judge has the authority to demand them.

Cleveland also agreed to hire a civilian to lead its internal affairs unit and to appoint an inspector general to investigate police misconduct and analyze policies and trends. The federal authorities believe that those changes, along with an internal panel assigned to review use-of-force cases, will ensure that police keep accurate records and conduct genuine investigations. The city will also form a civilian advisory panel to review policies and advocate better community relations.


This is a good start but there is a lot more within these cities that needs to be done.

More prosecutions of the police who are abusing their powers would go a long way to ease the distrust in cities like Cleveland, Ferguson and New York City. It would would be better if those cities did it themselves rather than the Justice Department. Aside from Baltimore, however, it appears quite unlikely. It’s in your court, AG Lynch.

Mutiny on the Hudson

The president of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, has been publicly attacking Mayor William de Blasio over what he perceives as the mayor’s lack of support for the department. Mr. Lynch and what now appears to be a small group, having been throwing public temper tantrums since a grand jury on Staten Island refused to indict a police officer for the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died when the officer used the banned choke hold trying to arrest him for a misdemeanor. Since then the bad boys in blue have turned their backs on the mayor at the funerals for two police officers killed by a deranged man in the Brooklyn and booed him at police academy graduation ceremonies. If Mr, Lynch thinks these childish tactics gain sympathy from the public or the department’s rank and file, he is very mistaken.

In a new poll taken by Quinnipiac says that a large majority of New Yorkers disapprove of Mr. Lynch and his bullying:

New York City voters across racial lines disapprove of recent protests in which police officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funeral of two police officers slain in the line of duty, a new Quinnipiac poll says.

Black, white and Hispanic voters disapprove of the decision by police officers to turn their backs 69 percent to 27 percent, the poll says.

New York voters of all races also disapprove of comments by police union leaders who said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” after two officers were shot and killed in Brooklyn while sitting in their patrol car in December. [..]

Voters said that those comments were “too extreme” by a margin of 77 percent to 17. The poll found that “there is no party, gender, racial, borough or age group which finds the comments ‘appropriate.'”

That’s not all. It appears that many of the PBA members are displeased with Mr. Lynch, as well:

Members of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association nearly came to blows on Tuesday during a meeting of delegates in Queens. There was pushing, shoving and lots of screaming at Patrick Lynch, president of the 23,000-member union. [..]

“This is what my members want!” a cop yelled near the end of the raucous meeting. “They want more cars, better vests, more manpower!”

And then the cop – one of about 350 in attendance – took a verbal jab at Lynch, who has called on de Blasio to offer a mea culpa for his continued lack of support for police.

“They don’t want an apology,” he said.

At the peak of the clash, about 100 cops were standing and screaming at Lynch, sources told the Daily News.[..]

The battle lines were clear when the meeting took an ugly turn. The Lynch supporters were generally from Manhattan and his detractors were delegates from Brooklyn and the Bronx, sources said.

does propecia really work for women New York Daily News columnist and a host of http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=cialis-generico-miglior-prezzo Democarcy Now!, Juan González thinks that Mr. Lynch needs to lose his job as head of the PBA for more reasons than his loud mouth and temper tantrums:

All these outbursts against de Blasio cannot obscure the fact that Lynch’s 15-year reign has been marked by bitter feuds with every mayor, by a rote defense of cops accused of unjustified use of lethal force, and by the repeated failure to win new contracts for his members except through state arbitration. [..]

Many police stationhouses in this city are in shameful disrepair, yet the PBA has done little to demand improvements.

More importantly, the union has gone five years without a contract. “Seventy-two percent of the unions settled in de Blasio’s first year and we missed the boat,” one PBA member said.

For the fourth time in the last five rounds of labor negotiations under Lynch, the PBA and the city are headed toward state arbitration. Lynch supporters say he’s gotten better raises than other city unions that way. But most labor leaders abhor arbitration because the results are generally unpredictable.

In 2008, for instance, arbitration saddled rookie cops with ridiculously low $25,000 starting pay. It took years for the PBA to undo the damage.

This time, Lynch can only hope for a two-year pact through arbitration. For thousands of cops hired since 2012, a settlement that only covers the two years before they joined the force will leave them with nothing.

The rise of New York’s police unions

By David Firestone, The Gusrdian

Many cities have experienced occasional outbreaks of the “blue flu”. Police officers get angry over a contract dispute or an argument with the mayor, and for a few days, refuse to report for work or write fewer tickets.

But only New York City has ever experienced decades of sustained militancy by its police unions – from repeated work slowdowns like the one now taking place, to riotous mass rallies and public denunciations, political campaigns, and well-funded legislative pressure. [..]

New York’s uniformed force is nearly three times as large as the next biggest force (in Chicago), giving its five police unions a far stronger voice than elsewhere. But sheer size cannot explain the outsize role the unions have long played in the police policies of the city, one almost equal to that of the police brass and city hall. [..]

Their most important ally over nearly a century has been the New York state legislature, which has used its constitutional ability to micromanage the city’s laws and finances to reward the police unions in countless ways. Those unions control a large bloc of votes, can cripple a campaign by portraying a candidate as against law and order, and take generous advantage of the state’s high political contribution limits. According to an analysis of campaign filings by the Guardian, the five police unions (one each for patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, detectives, and captains) have contributed more than $1.4m to the campaigns of state officials since 2010.

Even now, the unions are using their sizeable political power in Albany to try to strip the police commissioner of his ability to discipline officers for misconduct, whether it is corruption, brutality or engaging in a slowdown. In the final hours of last year’s session, both legislative chambers overwhelmingly passed a bill that would turn over all disciplinary proceedings to an arbitrator controlled by the unions.

Despite its diversity, the NYPD leans conservative and Republican. So long as the the Republicans control the New York State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo panders to them, the police will continue to ride rough shod over the people who pay their salaries and who they are committed to “preserve and protect.”

NYPD: Over-Policing and Under-Disciplined

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

New York City’s first police inspector general released a scathing report on the use of chokeholds by the NYPD.

The city’s first inspector general for the NYPD issued a stinging report Sunday questioning whether cops unnecessarily resort to prohibited chokeholds as a “first act” when words could calm things down instead.

In his first report, Inspector General Philip Eure found that in 10 recent cases involving chokeholds – the same banned maneuver responsible for the July 2014 death of Eric Garner – the cops received little or no discipline from higher-ups.

Eure questioned why, in four of the 10 cases, cops wound up using chokeholds as a “first act” against citizens who’d only confronted them verbally, not physically. [..]

Though the report focuses only on the 10 cases, the IG said the pattern he discovered has inspired him to examine a broader sample of use-of-force cases “in order to ascertain whether police officers are escalating encounters and using force too quickly in a systemic manner.”

The other problem that the report revealed that despite the call for “serious punishment” from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, most of the officers received a “slap-on-the-wrist loss of vacation days, “instruction” about police policy or no punishment at all,” all approved by then Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

One of the results of the massive slowdown by NYPD after the murders of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos is that crime rates were not impacted, adding to the argument that “Broken Windows” may be broken policy.

CompStat data showed that summons for parking, moving and criminal violations for the previous week are still down about 74, 65, and 71 percent compared to numbers last year. But the drop from the week before that compared to last year was even greater: all three categories showed declines of 90 or more percent.

Year-to-date murder, rape, robbery and felony assault complaints are down across the, CompStat data shows. [..]

For the critics of “broken windows” theory policing, which stipulates that paying close attention to smaller, quality-of-life issues will prevent greater crime, the NYPD slowdown has inadvertently lent them ammunition. Critics believe the mode of policing, fully supported by Mr. Bratton, unfairly targets minorities and isn’t proven to prevent spikes in crime.

Current Police Commissioner William Bratton, the author of the “Broken Windows” policy, thinks differently

“The trending of that would take a period of time that can’t be measured in the space of a week or now in the space of almost two weeks,” Mr. Bratton said. “We have certainly, undoubtedly the residual benefit of 20 some odd years of changed behavior in the city and that’s not going to be undone in the space of a couple of weeks.”

That, however, is a direct contradiction to his statement on the slowdown at a press conference , when he stated that “911 calls were being responded to, arrests were continuing to be made, and crime has continued to go down.”

He can’t have it both ways. Since 2012, the numbers support the latter. In an article at Salon by Blake Zeff, there were two factors that are proving the critics right.

Ironically, it was Kelly and Bloomberg who would help disprove their own argument. Amid increasing dissatisfaction and public protest, Kelly reportedly ordered precinct executive officers in 2012 to “audit the stop activity to assure better quality.” In 2013, the use of the tactic fell dramatically, which a law enforcement source tells Salon also derived from two additional pressures. First, then-candidate de Blasio spent much of his campaign attacking the practice, arguing that it was racially discriminatory (in the famous “Dante ad” featuring his teenage son, the younger de Blasio said his father would be “the only candidate to end a stop and frisk era that targets minorities”). As the issue got more attention and de Blasio’s campaign surged (largely on the popularity of this argument), this source says, cops were less inclined to pursue the tactic.

The second factor was a federal judge finding the practice unconstitutional, and ruling that, as implemented, it discriminated against minorities. The result was that in 2013, Bloomberg and Kelly (while unsuccessfully appealing that federal ruling) would oversee a massive decrease in the tactic’s implementation, with under 200,000 stops recorded – less than a third the number from just two years before. The result: crime continued to fall.

Could it happen again? That was the big question heading into this year, as de Blasio promised to scale back the practice even further (though not eliminate it), while maintaining strong safety numbers. A verdict was returned this week, with the city announcing that amid a 79 percent drop in stops from last year, crime continued to fall by 4.6 percent, reaching a record low in modern city history.

Blake Zeff joined Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “Last Word,” to discuss the controversial policy.

At Vox.com, contributor Dara Lind thinks that both sides have gotten this wrong and presents a radical idea

Now, it appears that the NYPD is returning to its usual policy: interacting with residents, but mostly by calling them out for quality-of-life violations. That’s certainly how Bratton believes the NYPD can keep New York safe. But both the slowdown policy and the aggressive “speedup” going on now aren’t effective ways to reduce crime without antagonizing communities.

In fact, evidence suggests the most important thing police can do to reduce crime is to be physically present in neighborhoods – not whizzing by in squad cars, but out on the street interacting with residents. That’s the thesis of “hotspot policing,” a more recent trend in policing strategy.

The premise of “hotspot policing” is that when police focus their efforts on places – not people – who are most susceptible to crime, they’re most able to deter criminals from operating out in the open. (You’d think that criminals would simply shift their bases of operations, but that’s not what happens.)

What makes hotspot policing work, according to a series of studies from criminologists and case studies from police departments like Minneapolis, is police being out of their cars and physically in neighborhoods alongside residents for a certain amount of time. To be most effective, police need to engage with residents in friendly ways, like cleaning up graffiti, rather than writing up the people who painted it. When both of those conditions are met, crime doesn’t just go down when police are around, or even right after they leave – a month of regular hotspot policing can reduce crime in the area for weeks afterward.

It’s past time that the leadership of the police unions stop sniping at the De Blasio administration and sit down to talk about departmental discipline, better police tactics and healing the rift with the people of NYC.

Crime Rates Dropped In NYC & Around the Country Last Year

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Homicide rates are falling in most major cities across the US, especially in cities like New York, Detroit and Chicago. What is most notable in NYC is that the overall crime rate has fallen in 2014, the first year of the de Balsio administration, despite the end of “stop and frisk,” which was declared unconstitutional as carried out by the NYPD.

While this is good news, the NYPD has continued to throw its prolonged temper tantrum. Again on Sunday at the funeral for slain NYC Police Officer Wenjian Liu, a group of thin skinned members turned their backs to the screen as the mayor spoke. Since the slaying of the two officers on December 20, arrests and ticketing had fallen dramatically in all five boroughs

Police union leaders have denied the declines represent any organized work action, though they have urged their members to put their own safety first, which could curb enforcement in all but the clearest situations that called for an arrest.

The sustained declines, however, suggest something of a coordinated effort, even if it was not sanctioned by union leaders.

“People are talking to each other,” Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said on Sunday. “It became contagious.”

Even though both the mayor and his police commissioner William Bratton are touting  “Broken Windows” and a modified “stop and frisk,” declaring the policies are “here to stay,” the slow down may prove that the policies are broken. Civil rights attorney and former Brooklyn, N.Y., prosecutor, Charles F, Coleman, Jr. believes “Broken Windows” is a failure and it’s time to drop it.

At this point, there has been no significant impact to public safety because of the slowdown-during which tickets and summons for minor offenses have dropped more than 90 percent-and we’ve seen anything but the doomsday crime spree that Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch seemed to hope might cause widespread fear among New Yorkers.

Lynch, who leads the NYPD’s largest and most influential union, has been very critical of de Blasio in past weeks, accusing him of expressing anti-policing sentiments in his remarks after the Staten Island grand jury’s nonindictment in the Eric Garner choke hold case. [..]

In many ways, the slowdown is backfiring terribly and should force a bigger discussion about not only the need to revisit the “broken windows” approach to law enforcement in urban communities but also the age-old trend of funding America’s cities on the backs of the poor.

The broken-windows approach to law enforcement, which de Blasio endorsed during the early days of his tenure, is essentially Reaganomics’ trickle-down theory of policing. (Remember how well that worked out?) The idea is essentially that focusing on strict policing of smaller offenses will deter larger crimes from happening. However, the notion that police, by cracking down on low-level crimes like selling loose cigarettes and open containers, are going to deter hardened criminals is a dubious theory at best. This is, in part, because economics drives most real crime more than any other factor. [..]

So what is the real takeaway from the NYPD slowdown where “broken windows” is concerned? We already knew that it was flawed in theory, and we have seen it fail miserably in application. One wild and crazy idea is that this approach to policing and the slowdown are both about little more than power and economics. The Police Department is attempting to flex its muscles to remind de Blasio and the thousands of nonviolent protesters who have dared to speak out against NYPD practices that the city needs them. The message is essentially that, even beyond the prevention of crime, police are still needed to help generate critical amounts of revenue for the city’s operating budget.

These silly games aren’t limited to the Big Apple, however. From as far away as Ferguson, Mo., we’ve witnessed how municipalities balance their budgets on the backs of the poor through the financial windfall created by excessive fines and tickets (which, as an aside, invalidates the claim that there’s no such thing as police quotas). The same thing can be said forWashington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles and scores of other cities across the country. Pat Lynch is no doubt aware of this, and beyond any ineffective fear tactics, his real play here may very well be an intentional swipe at the city’s pocketbook, which could threaten to hijack next year’s budget.

If anything, that seems like a real crime worth policing.

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In,” addressed the massive drop in crime, the slow down and “Broken Windows” with author and former NYC police officer Pater Moskos.

It’s time for the end of this discriminatory policy and focus on the real concerns of our communities, jobs and education.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Treating Mother Earth Badly

Crossposted at Daily Kos

acquistare viagra generico 50 mg a Parma THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

lasix plus in arlington virginia :: ::

Bill Day

Bill Day, Comics.com (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

Taser Bullets?

Taser Bullets? That is the report.

Called the nanosecond electrical pulse (nsEP) project, the research focuses on using brief electrical pulses to temporarily paralyze an individual by disrupting the nervous system, similar to the way the Taser, another popular nonlethal device, works. But where this project differs from most other stun guns, according to the Pentagon, is that it could theoretically be built as a wireless system, and have a longer lasting effect.

In the next paragraph, it goes on to state how this research may be able to be shrunk into bullet form.

The Pentagon’s Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, which is sponsoring the work, declined a request for an interview, but answered written questions. “It is hoped the technology can be made small enough to fit in a small, self-contained round,” Dave Law, the chief of the office’s technology division, wrote of the research project. “The round would have a power source and therefore would not need wires.”

I’ll tell you why this is a bad idea.

Tragedy Strikes in the Pacific Northwest

Lakewood Washington Police Ambush and Killed Pictures, Images and Photos

The South Puget Sound area is reeling from shock, in the aftermath of an apparent ambush at a Lakewood/Parkland area coffee shop.  At approximately 8:15 A.M. this morning, a lone gunman (although there is some suspicion that a second person may have been involved) entered the premises, and opened fire on four Lakewood police officers as they were completing paperwork on their laptop computers, killing them all.  Neither of the two baristas nor any of the customers in the shop were physically harmed (except for the physiological impact of witnessing such a horrific event).  Updated details, as the story unfolds, can be found here.  If you wish to check out other nearby news sources, you can access the websites from area newspapers such as The Olympian (Olympia, WA), The Morning News Tribune (Tacoma), The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle), The Seattle Times (Seattle), and Seattle area television stations, such as KOMO, KING and KIRO.  

For something completely different…

Prof. Johnathan Turley has a great blog.  This story is not only seasonal, but, instructive as well!

Maryland police Sgt. Eric Janik, 37, may not get the thrust of trick of treat traditions. The Baltimore police office went to a haunted house called the House of Screams with friends and when confronted by a character dressed as Leatherface with a chainsaw (sans the chain, of course), Janik pulled out his service weapon and pointed it at the man, who immediately dropped character, dropped the chainsaw, and ran like a bat out of Halloween Hell.

HEADLINE: Cop scares ghoul on Halloween!

Ok… here’s the analysis…

Tonight: Live Panel Discussion, RNC Arrests, 9-22-08

follow Media and Law Enforcement at the Republican National Convention?

The comprare viagra generico 50 mg a Milano Real News Network, with thanks to get link TheUptake.org will live stream a panel discussion tonight from St. Paul Minnesota.

Bush: $170,000,000,000 more for the war; Cuts to housing, education, health care, environment…

Since that surge is working so well, I guess we’re just going to have to keep surging. Forever. According to The Hill:

This year’s battle over go site Iraq war funding officially kicked off Wednesday as Defense Secretary Robert Gates reluctantly offered a price tag for the first time: http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=order-pfizer-viagra-usa $170 billion for fiscal 2009.

Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Gates only gave the number after Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pressed him, but rejected his own estimate right off the bat, calling it a number that “will inevitably be wrong, and perhaps significantly so.”

“I will be giving you precision without accuracy,” warned Gates.

Levin insisted that he give his best estimate for next year’s war-funding needs.

“Well, a straight-line projection, Mr. Chairman, of our current expenditures would probably put the full-year cost, in a strictly arithmetic approach, at about $170 billion,” Gates responded.

Of course, Gates made clear that the number could be wrong; and I’m guessing he didn’t mean wrong as in an overestimate. But the Administration is very conscious of the drain on our federal budget. Not the drain from the war, mind you, the other drain. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Bush wants to do something about it. Like slash and burn. You know- the low priority stuff.

President Bush plans to unveil a $2.5 trillion budget today go eliminating dozens of politically sensitive domestic programs, including funding for education, environmental protection and business development, while proposing significant increases for the military and international spending, according to White House documents.

Overall, discretionary spending other than defense and homeland security would fall by nearly 1 percent, the first time in many years that funding for the major part of the budget controlled by Congress would actually go down in real terms, according to officials with access to the budget. source link The cuts are scattered across a wide swath of the government, affecting a cross-section of constituents, from migrant workers to train passengers to local police departments, according to officials who read portions of the documents to The Washington Post.

And one very important person is already on board.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I hope we in Congress will have the courage to support it.”