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Police Brutality

This topic contains 30 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Don DaChairman 3 months, 1 week ago.

  • #6785

    I am curious to know what most of you think when it comes to police brutality. Is it a problem? Are most of these shootings justified?

    Reason had a good article today with some stats that I thought were telling:

    Research indicates that black and Hispanic motorists are likelier to be pulled over, to have their cars searched and to be arrested—though whites are often found to be likelier to have contraband. A new study by the Center for Policing Equity at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York documents that cops use force against blacks more than three times as often as against whites.

    The murdered police in Dallas obscure a positive development: Since 1977, reports University of California, Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring, the number of officers killed on duty has plunged by 69 percent.

    Personally, I do think police brutality is a problem and many of the shootings that have been made public have not been justified. Lethal force should be the last resort but too many times it is not.

  • #6787
    Chocolate Thunder

    It seems like you have a few different issues here:

    1) Police brutality

    2) Racially discriminatory policing

    3) Violence against police, which is sometimes motivated by previous acts of police brutality, as in the recent Dallas shootings, but I would guess most often is motivated by other considerations. The other way it relates to the issue of police brutality is it goes to answer the question of, “How dangerous of an occupation is policing?” which itself sheds light on approaching the question, “Is policing so dangerous such that officers are justified in using violence so readily?”

    Regarding the first issue, what I find to be given a tremendous lack of attention is the fact that police enjoy legal privileges far beyond what non-police enjoy when it comes to investigations of their misconduct and disciplining them. As but one example, I would highly recommend checking out this research on police union contracts that undermine police accountability: http://www.checkthepolice.org/#review

    Rather, the focus is mostly on issue (2). While this is important, I think it can distract us from other issues and the real institutional changes that can be made to reduce police brutality (that is, making police officers accountable for violent misconduct will do far more to reduce police violence against minorities than will racial sensitivity training). Issue 3 is also under-emphasized. Most people think policing is an extremely dangerous occupation that is fraught with danger at every turn, but there are many occupations that are far more hazardous. Police generally perpetuate this myth, but there is no “war on cops.” The way they are trained, however, is to assume everyone is potentially dangerous and to put the highest priority on officer, rather than civilian, safety. In my opinion, pretty much every issue surrounding police misconduct is exclusively due to, or highly augmented by, their monopoly status. If police departments had to compete for revenue from customers willing to pay them, and were held civilly liable like any other civilian, police brutality would be dramatically reduced.

    • #6804

      Thanks for the link to the police union contract project.

      I agree that their monopoly status plays a big role in their unwillingness to change but that is a reality that won’t change anytime soon.

      I think the biggest problem is how they are trained to view anyone as a threat and the fact that they are not held accountable.

      Unfortunately, many people don’t view police brutality as a problem because in their mind if anyone comes in contact with police “they must be doing something bad”. Not sure how to change people’s mind on that front unfortunately.

  • #6858

    That’s a really well-thought-out post, Chocolate Thunder (and a sweet username, btw). One other consideration is the role of economic regulation in perpetuating police violence. Police activity is directly related to illegal activity, and the more activity that is deemed illegal, the more police will get involved. What can we begin to decriminalize so that police will not have to be involved in the first place? Some drugs are an obvious first step, but what about other black markets?

  • #6870

    Good distinctions Chocolate Thunder. A word on #2.

    “Discrimination” is an Orwellian double-speak word. If I draw distinction between one thing and another, that is discrimination (also known as discernment). Recognizing a physiological difference between a male human and a female human is discrimination.

    So do the police discriminate? Absolutely. Should the police discriminate? In my opinion, absolutely. We see the 90-year-old grandma being randomly selected for TSA screening while the middle-eastern 30-year-old man is dutifully overlooked. That is still discrimination, just irrational discrimination for the purpose of not offending anyone.

    What kind of human being treats two situations exactly the same, with the exact same amount of caution, when they know one situation is much more likely to result in their death? An irrational or stupid one. I don’t think most police are irrational or stupid. I think they are motivated by self-preservation to the exact same extent you or I are. If the black population comprises 13% of the US population and yet is responsible for half the homicides, and you demand they are treated without discrimination, I posit that you are blissfully ignorant to make your judgments to endanger someone else’s life from your armchair.

    I do not think police brutality is justified. I do not think cold-blooded murder of another human being, on either side, is justified. I am also not so insulated from the real world that I demand the officers, who put their lives in danger every day, (while I am safe behind my computer desk), take on more risk so that I can feel good about myself and my ideals. I don’t want people to be treated unfairly, but I also don’t want officers to take on additional, completely irrational risk so we can all pat ourselves on our poltically-correct heads.

    I am also interested to hear from Chocolate Thunder how we could privatize a police force as I agree that would solve a myriad of problems (not the least of which is ballooning pension expenses).

    • #6889

      I agree with your view on how the TSA ends up screening an 90 year old grandma but when it comes to profiling with police officers the stats don’t back up the “need” to profile.

      The war on drugs is an excellent example of this, despite whites having larger marijuana usage rates than blacks, blacks are 3x more likely to be arrested for possession.

      I don’t think it’s so much race, but I do think police target poorer neighborhoods and for a number of reasons, these tend to have more minorities there.

      Philando Castile, who was killed by police last week in Minneapolis, had been stopped 53 times by police for alleged minor infractions(speeding, not wearing seatbelt), yet he was never arrested. During last week’s shooting, he was stopped because he had a “wide nose” which “matched the description of a suspect”. I think this is a clear example of profiling.

    • #6895

      Thanks DC, I think there is no small amount of mind-control going on when it comes to labeling certain actions as “discriminatory” because we literally must discriminate to survive. We do it a thousand times a day, and in several ways that are completely politically incorrect. We have no quarrel over the War on Drugs, it needs to end immediately.

      In regards to targeting poor neighborhoods, doesn’t it make sense to focus your efforts where the most crime is likely to be? From a purely economic standpoint, doesn’t that make the most sense? If I was running my own privatized police department you can be certain I would target the poorest, most run down sections of the neighborhoods.

      I will not waste resources and behave irrationally because someone’s feelings got hurt. Similarly, I will not demand my officers wear gear that will put them in harms way when dealing with violent mobs, nor would I (as in England) disarm my officers. I will not demand that they throw out all previous knowledge and experience when dealing with each individual perpetrator (that is, be perfectly unbiased) because 1) I do not do this myself in anything and 2) It’s completely irrational.

      A while ago in AZ, we had a bill (SB 1062) to “amend an existing law to give any individual or legal entity an exemption from any state law if it substantially burdened their exercise of religion, including Arizona law requiring public accommodation.” In other words, it gave individuals and businesses the right to discriminate against anyone for any reason if it “burdened their exercise of religion”. You may remember this bill making national headlines as a way to discriminate against LGTB community, and to be sure I’m sure that’s why it gained initial support, but ultimately failed. In reality, it would have enshrined in law what already happens en-masse until someone decides to get litigious.

      Have you ever read this sign in a restaurant? “We reserve the RIGHT to refuse service to anyone (for any reason).” The point is extremely important to me as a libertarian because truly, anyone should be able to discriminate against anyone else, for any reason, at any time. If we truly believe in the free market being able to regulate itself better than governing authorities (and I do) then we should trust it to regulate away negative behaviors like bigotry and racism. We shouldn’t curtail people’s basic right to discern between one thing and another so that other people’s feelings aren’t hurt. The irony is that THAT is discrimination, just in favor of the louder party.

      In the same manner, police should be allowed to discriminate against anyone, for any reason. That’s not saying we are allowing them to arrest anyone for any reason, but imagine the kind of efficiency you can create without all the bureaucracy of political correctness. If black people are being arrested more frequently for the same level of infraction then others, then it is the LAW that needs amending, not the enforcers behavior (Case in point, the War on Drugs). Frankly, if we were to realize this, our police force would be a lot smaller and less necessary because individuals would have an additional incentive to sort out their own problems rather than running to Big Brother to solve their problems. Imagine having both the safety and efficiency the Israeli airport security has because they systematically discriminate against people who are statistically more likely to be terrorists. (What a concept!)

      Discrimination is a forked-tongue control word. I don’t think many people realize this, but that’s the beauty of forums: education! I don’t respond well to being linguistically manipulated, and I don’t want others to, either. I would much prefer we use a different word because “discrimination” has become such a loaded word. Unfair treatment, discernment, favoritism, partiality; all these words are better and don’t contain the political weight or wiggle-room discrimination does.

    • #6899

      Tyler, I think cops being around poor neighborhoods to patrol because of higher crime rates makes sense. However many times they end up targeting people to stop and frisk, or search their car for no good reason. This off course in many cases is a violation of the 4th amendment.

      My particular problem with police brutality overall is as follows:

      1. Police abuse their power when it comes to harassing people to search either them, their vehicles or houses (no knock raids etc.)
      2. When police officers do something wrong, they are rarely held accountable and the police unions go out in full force to protect them. I think their have been very clear examples of murders by police (Kelly Thomas,Walter Scott etc.), were nothing has happened to them. The cops involved in the Thomas case went to court and were found not guilty, we shall see what happens with the Walter Scott case.

      Things like the war on drugs off course only makes things worse because it creates incentives to make arrests, seize property etc.

    • #6903

      We’ve given up some liberties for the safety of a police force. Abuse of power is a natural and extremely common side-effect of such a societal choice. Would you prefer to install more regulators to regulate the existing regulators, or to change the laws to reduce the regulators (police’s) power. Voting for things like police cameras only exacerbates the problem because we create more positions for bureaucrats to monitor (and abuse) video feeds. We have to resist, at every turn, the urge to control and posit instead the desire for freedom.

      I suggest massive overhauls to police benefits (particularly converting pension plans into 401(k)s) to disincent new hires. Take the savings and invest into neighborhood watch-type programs. Incent the citizens to police themselves, and disincent police from policing.

      Simultaneously, work to encourage officers to be put to their highest and best use. Abolish traffic stops altogether. Have officers doing something more dire than playing glorified meter-maid. The police unions are indeed a powerful force to be reckoned with, but so are grassroots movements like LL!

      I believe Kelly Thompson was white and the police were forced to pay $4.9 million in restitution, and both officers primarily involved were fired despite union pressure. Remember too they were acquitted by a jury, not some unilateral exoneration. True, the jury may have been pressured, and Ramos was again arrested for beating a woman, but it’s not quite the picture you paint. Several individuals in the jury decided they were innocent even after seeing the security camera videos. That said, Thompson’s beating was vile. I’ll suspend judgment on the Scott case until we have more information.

      I’d also like to repeat the whiteness of Thompson because brutality, NOT discrimination, should be the issue to focus on. If black people are tired of being disproportionately targeted, they could stop being disproportionately violent, it’s fairly simple. Granted, it’s a death spiral, and someone has to be the first to break the cycle, but starting with oneself is better than blaming the other party. The police have already implemented countless levels of “cultural awareness training.” I’d like to see the research on the higher offense rate of white people you cite for contraband.

      I agree that police brutality (just like any brutality) is completely inexcusable. The police unions (like teacher’s unions) are far too powerful. Those officers who plainly have malice of heart and walk free are a blemish on the justice system. They are far fewer than BLM or any other race-baiting political bloc would like us to believe. You try putting your life on the line every day, being personally resisted, cursed at and reviled routinely by black people, seeing most violent crimes committed by black people, and knowing the stats on black people, and judging them impartially. I know I couldn’t, and I don’t think anyone could for very long. I think doing so would be foolish. Maybe I’m wrong though.


    • #6907

      I think we will have to agree to disagree on the frequency that police brutality does happen.

      I do agree that BLM misses the point when it makes it about race, instead of seeing it as a problem of overcriminalization and too much state power.

    • #6912

      Why agree to disagree when we could just look at the data?

      You can send me your data on how frequently police brutality occurs, and I’ll send you my data on how many times excessive force is used against police, then we can compare notes and see if police really are more violent then any other citizen, or if they’re just highlighted because of their position.

      In 2014, 49,851 police officers (out of 533,895) were assaulted in the line of duty, for an assaulted rate of 9.33%. 51 officers were murdered, or about 0.001%.

    • #7634

      To GCP: You write “We’ve given up some liberties for the safety of a police force.” Prior to that statement you wrote that the existence of that force made you to feel safe to sit in a chair at your home while the policemen patrolled the dangerous streets, I guess, for the express purpose of watching over you.

      Compared to other careers, you are correct, there is a lot of safety in the police force. Their job is not that dangerous as fourtee other jobs are. Grounds maintenance workers are in a virtual tie with their police counterparts for annual rates of death on-the-job.

      Loggers’ death rates by more by a factor of ten, and drivers of potato chip delivery trucks die at twice the rate of police officers. In 2014, (TIME MAGAZINE), nine times as many van drivers lost their lives on the job as did the police, whose numbers diminished by 97.

      To what extent do policemen in this country prevent crime? It seems to me that any actual crime prevention one can attribute to police departments is purely coincidental. A prowl car just happens upon a robbery in progress because he pulled up at a 7-11, next door to which the liquor store was being robbed. The police force does after-the-fact, counter punching, reactionary work.

      Right this minute, I’m in my bedroom typing, listening to my wife sleep. A pair of armed gunmen who chose to breach my front door, they could make it a foursome here in the time it’d take me to get both feet on the floor. We’d be completely helpless, at their mercy for committing rape, robbery, arson. You see, we don’t keep a government guard in our house to protect us from such pillage, we have no more defense against a home invasion and murder than did those two Durant, MS nuns did when they were slashed to death a few nights ago.

  • #6898
    Son Of Liberty

    While any amount of police brutality is too much; I think the issue has been inflated much larger than reality. When an officer involved shooting happens for example, both parties should be presumed innocent and an investigation should follow and both parties should have their due process. I have seen a lot of people I otherwise respect say some pretty outlandish things about justice and guilt. Our legal system doesn’t and shouldn’t run based on mob rule or your personal feelings after you see a shaky ambiguous cell phone video.

  • #6902
    Chocolate Thunder

    In reply to Learn Liberty – DC:

    I’m not sure that there is an easy way to reform a police force in order to make it accountable, as they actively seek to undermine their own accountability in every way, especially via officer’s unions. Almost any avenue of accountability you can think of – criminal liability, civil lawsuits, civilian oversight, internal discipline – they undermine it (with the exception of Dept. of Justice consent decrees. That is one method of accountability for which union agreements make no difference).

    However, effective civilian oversight can make a difference, as I saw when I worked with the Boise Community Ombudsman (now the Office of Police Oversight). The Ombudsman at the time, Pierce Murphy, served as an effective advocate for complainants with a legitimate case but was very fair to the officers. Unlike many civilian review boards, he was able to compel testimony from officers (which many Law Enforcement Officer’s Bills of Rights prohibit), but, like all civilian oversight of which I am aware, was only able to provide disciplinary recommendations. He has since moved to Seattle, where the Police Officer’s Guild has called him “public enemy #1,” due to his actions as director of the Office of Professional Accountability in the Seattle PD. Without him at the helm at Boise, the power of the office has been reduced. So, not only must civilian oversight exist to reform a department but it must have adequate power and be run by skilled and motivated people. This is hard to achieve, especially in a government agency.

    Regarding those who believe that anyone mistreated by the police must have been doing something bad, I would say there is no way to help them. They must live a charmed life in which they haven’t had to deal personally with police or have ideologically tinted glasses with a prescription so strong that they cannot be convinced otherwise. I have met such people. There is no act of police violence so egregious that it would cause them to shift their perspective on the institution or the good-heartedness of all police officers. Hopefully the number of these people are few.

    In response to Daniel_Winchester:

    I can think of gray markets, such as untaxed cigarettes, in which aggressive law enforcement involvement has led to bad consequences. Of course, black markets, such as gambling and prostitution, could be rendered much safer through decriminalization. What should not be neglected more generally is the great expansion in the perceived police role. Ryan McMaken has written a fantastic three article series on this and other issues leading to more frequent police violence.

    1. Too Many Laws: Why Police Encounters Escalate
    2. Why We Get More Policing Than We Need: It’s “Free”
    3. The Broken Windows Theory of Policing Has Failed

    And to Tyler:

    Regarding private policing, I would highly recommend the work of Bruce Benson, especially his book To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice

    He has a shorter paper on privatizing criminal justice functions here: http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_19_02_03_benson.pdf

    For a currently existing private security force that defends neighborhoods, as well as businesses, I would recommend taking a look at Threat Management Center in Detroit. Here is an article about it. Here is a video.

    Of course, there is a large literature on this subject, but I think these are some good highlights.

    • #6905

      Good stuff! Thanks very much Thunder! Got some reading to do.

    • #6908

      Thank’s for those links Chocolate Thunder, overcriminalization is definitely the main problem.

  • #6913

    More discriminatory numbers:

    32.5% of black persons assaulted police officers, while comprising 13.2% of the population.
    66.25% of white persons assaulted police officers, while comprising 77.35% of the population.

    This is a likely result of black persons being subject to arrest more often, due to higher crime rates among black persons, including 52% of all homicides, 36% gang membership, (compared to 11.5% white), 52% of juvenile violent crime arrests, 67% for robbery, carjacking victims identified 56% of offenders as black.

    • #6960

      As I said before I think the problem is mainly overciminalization (police militarization as well) and lack of accountability.

      Went it comes to overcriminalization and targetting minority communities:

      Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.

      In 2015, police shooting actually went down, 42 police officers were killed by gunfire in the line of duty (52 in traffic deaths).

      Meanwhile, 965 people were killed by police, 10% of those unarmed.

      I believe this paragraph is telling:

      Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.

      All the while, violent crime has been on the decline nationwide yet people killed by police is at a record high.

      As for lack of accountability, there is plenty of evidence.
      Even going back to the Rodney King beating, were the officers got a not guilty verdict, but there are plenty of other examples like:
      Kelly Thomas – Police officers found not guilty

      False information on a meth lab leads police to raid a house and kill an 80yr old man while he was in bed. No meth was found. The police officers were not charged but did settle for $1.4 million with the family.

      No knock raid on wrong house leads to the death of a 61yr old man. Again police said they were not at fault.

      7yr old girl killed by police in a raid when police “accidentally” fired the gun, again cop was not disciplined

      Tamir Rice – 12 yr olad playing with a toy gun shot and killed by police who shot him withing seconds of arriving on the scene. A judge recommended the officer be charged with murder, however prosecutors have not charged him yet.

      John Crawford – Killed in Walmart while holding a BB gun he intended to purchase. The video is especially telling on this one, yet The police officer was not charged with a crime.

      What I did when police officers killed my son – Good article highlighting lack of accountability.

      Cato has a project highlighting many more cases of police misconduct.

      These are just some of the cases, there are countless more and always with the same ending, “police cleared of any wrongdoing”.

      I think it’s pretty hard to look at the evidence and not conclude there is lack of accountability and those who see the brunt of this (the black community) are fed up.

      I’ll ask you one question, if we know that government is rife with corruption and incompetence, including failure to admit their mistakes or correct them. Why do you think LE is different?

    • #6979

      1) Over-criminalization is a primary problem.
      2) Police make the [logical] assumption that black people are statistically more likely to commit crime, and therefore pull them over and find them committing crimes more often. It’s not quite a self-fulfilling prophecy because the statistics were there first, but the higher statistical record of crime for black people leads to a higher level of suspicion, and therefore a higher level of inspection and fault-finding. This is also called discrimination, racial bias, discernment, judgment, prejudice and institutional racism.
      3) Police shot and killed almost 1,000 people last year.
      4) Murders of police officers declined last year.
      5) There is a lack of accountability. Police officers who commit criminal acts are rarely indicted because of the power structure and their unions. One of the best reasons to be libertarian and for small government.

      EDIT: I’m actually going to modify #5 because of the CATO link. I think the stories where officers don’t get indicted make headlines while the stories of officers actually getting justice get very little attention. I’m calling media bias on this one. I’ll say it’s more apparent and heinous when law enforcement isn’t treated with justice, but I no longer think it occurs with more regularity than with non-cops. It just feels like it because of reporting.

      6) Police get bad information and sometimes hurt or kill the innocent. Police are fallible beings and subject to human error just like the rest of us.

      1) Police are generally corrupt and incompetent.
      2) More oversight will help. There is no amount of oversight that will improve this issue. Furthermore, I don’t want MORE oversight, I want less bureaucracy. We don’t need overseers for overseers for overseers. We need more personal responsibility and less oversight.
      3) Police arrest and kill black people more often because they’re racist.
      4) Police are thugs who kick doors in with guns blazing without a care in the world who they kill.

      You completely failed to mention (out of ignorance or bias) that the 61 year old was killed because he opened fire first with a sawed-off shotgun. Did they make a tragic error by raiding the wrong house? Yes. Should they have just walked away and said “Oh terribly sorry, suspected drug lord, we didn’t realize you were armed and didn’t want us to intrude.” Hardly. Missing a lot of the real-life flavor of what actually goes on in these tragedies. Your CATO link also seems to make the opposite point. Looks like a lot of police actually being held to account for their actions on there.

      Mixing the true abuses of power with the unintended consequences of having a police force doesn’t help the case, it obscures it. If the libertarian movement wants to make a case for LESS police power, they shouldn’t do it by citing every instance of someone being killed by a police officer. We should push for a justice system that can’t favor police, there’s just so much that goes on in the court room that neither you, nor I, are privy to. If the judge unilaterally grants pardon, that’s a simple problem. It’s more complicated when a jury of their peers finds them not-guilty.

      We can easily overlook or forget the fact that we’ve asked particular persons to jump in the middle of fights, to confront armed drug addicts, to endure verbal and psychological abuse without retaliation, to witness flagrant and blatant disrespect, intimidation and unbridled hatred from the very individuals they’re supposed to serve and protect. We pay them, don’t we?

      Perhaps if we just cut their benefits enough, they’ll stop applying for the job and we’ll be forced to deal with our problems on our own. To do that though, we have to take on the unions. And how on earth do you defeat a behemoth like police unions?

      More of the 61-year-old story:

      ““We did the best surveillance we could do, and a mistake was made,” Lebanon Police Chief Billy Weeks said. “It’s a very severe mistake, a costly mistake. It makes us look at our own policies and procedures to make sure this never occurs again.” He said, however, the two policemen were not at fault.

      The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating. NAACP officials said they are monitoring the case. Adams was black. The two policemen are white.

      Family members did not consider race a factor and Weeks agreed, but said the shooting will be “a major setback” for police relations with the black community.

      “We know that, we hope to do everything we can to heal it,” Weeks said.

      What more would you want from the police on this infraction?

    • #6981

      On the points we disagree:
      1. Police are generally corrupt and incompetent – I think they are as corrupt and incompetent at similar % as government is corrupt and incompetent.
      2) More oversight will help. There is no amount of oversight that will improve this issue. – Agree more oversight is not the solution. How ever things like independent investigations, revisiting current rules in place etc. will help.
      3) Police arrest and kill black people more often because they’re racist. – I’m sure it happens at some point, but no, this is not the reason they kill black people more often.
      4) Police are thugs who kick doors in with guns blazing without a care in the world who they kill. – More and more they do act this way. The war on drugs has only increased the amount of civil liberties violations (no knock raids, civil asset forfeiture) this combined with how cops seem to get off whenever they abuse their power certainly makes it seem like they don’t care.

      The Cato link actually has quite a few cases were police are fired/prosecuted.

      The link I posted highlight one of many examples of people being killed by no knock raids on the wrong house or flimsy evidence, which have only increased in number every year thanks to the war on drugs and Police militarization.

      In this case, it was a mistake, but officers should of been prosecuted. It just shows the double standard that exists for citizens and officers.

  • #6973

    I have not read all of the responses but I have read a few. The responses that I have read discuss
    1) Police brutality
    2) Racially discriminatory policing
    3) Violence against police

    I have a slightly different view of the cause and effect here. In any profession, there will be good employees and bad employees. With police officers, one or two bad police officers can make everybody in the profession look bad. Add to that the enormous amount of power that the police have and there is a recipe for disaster. In most professions employees don’t carry guns for example. Add to that the hurdles required to get rid of bad police officers.

    Unfortunately this has snowballed out of control. We have too many laws giving police too much power. Then because a small few have abused that power the rest are put into dangerous positions. I can’t believe that federal drug offenders have used the defense that if in 1919 it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol then in the 1970s it should require a constitutional amendment to prohibit drugs. That hasn’t happened and therefor the federal government can not constitutionally prohibit drugs. That would be a big help. Unfortunately the days of Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. and their civil disobedience are gone. Obama’s biggest failure to me is racial tensions. He should have been able to unite people but instead he has caused more division than any president I can remember.

    • #7117

      I think that you’re point about the days of civil disobedience being gone is a really interesting one. I think that this is a huge part of the reason that many don’t take the problem of police brutality seriously. While it’s easy to see why people would want to react with violence, it doesn’t seem to be helping Black Lives Matter from a PR perspective. There of course are a lot of people who are engaging in peaceful protests, but at least based on the news much of it seems violent. Do you think that this is an accurate portrayal of the situation or is media bias?

  • #7111

    Timothy Frazier

    I published this video on what I believe to be a non-constructive trend among many of my fellow Libertarians regarding our peace officer subculture: https://youtu.be/cIsoJfYv1ao

  • #7220

    The shootings are absolutely not justified.

    The problem is people jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. Recently, case after case, there is a reason the officer had to use his weapon. Yet, people want to condemn the cop.

    I don’t think that the first step of any officer should be to go to the weapon. I think that there are some bad apples that are irresponsible. But, people need to stop demonizing cops and wait for the facts for each case.

    I don’t think we have a problem with our police departments. Groups like Black Lives Matter who are killing cops is definitely a problem.

    If a cop wrongfully shoots somebody, I think they should be held accountable. But, in most cases, that’s just not the case. So, I’m not going to say we have a police issue in America.

    The militarization of police is another matter, however. I am weary about that.

    • #7301

      I’m a little confused as to whether or not you think cops that have shot someone needs to be punished. At the beginning of your argument, you say that the shootings are not justified and that the cops should be held accountable. But then you go on to say that in most of these cases, there’s a reason the cop fired their weapon and that they haven’t wrongfully killed a person. I honestly am not sure what the laws are on when it’s justifiable for cop to use lethal force, but I do think it’s clear that cops are using it far to often. Why aren’t they first trying to deescalate the situation? In my opinion, lethal force should only be used when there is a direct threat to the cop AND there’s no other way to stop the threat. In what situations do you think it’s justifiable for a cop to shoot a citizen?

  • #7392

    To clear up my point: cops should be held accountable and should be punished when they fire their weapon without proper cause (proper cause, as in last resort self-defense). When I said that in most of these cases the cops have seemed justified, I’m talking about cases like Michael Brown where the facts clearly show that he attacked the officer and he used his weapon as a last resort.

    Which brings me to my other point — people jump to conclusions before the facts surface or a trial takes place. I think that’s a problem. Every time one of these cases happen, people jump down the officer’s throat. I’m encouraging people wait for a trial or at least facts to surface before jumping to those conclusions.

    And when I say the shootings are absolutely not justified at the beginning of my post, I should have been more specific. I meant the shootings against random police officers like what happened in Dallas when the BLM rally was happening. That was despicable and should never be justified. Killing random officers to protest the killing of blacks against the police is not going to help the problem. Solving violence with more violence simply isn’t the answer.

    So, I guess the reason why my answer seems confusing (besides a lack of specificity) is because I’m not 100% on the side of the cops or 100% on the side of people like BLM. I will support all of the good cops (which are the majority) and condemn the bad cops who use their authority to their own advantage and use their weapons carelessly and without proper cause. And I will also condemn groups like BLM when they say “kill cops”.. “pigs in a blanket”.. and such, but I will stand on their side if they peacefully protest the wrongful (according to FACTS) killing of an innocent person or persons and if they do not blanket all cops as killers or racists. But, I won’t single out a race and say Black Lives Matter, but rather ALL Lives Matter.

    • #7426
      Chocolate Thunder

      “Which brings me to my other point — people jump to conclusions before the facts surface or a trial takes place. I think that’s a problem. Every time one of these cases happen, people jump down the officer’s throat. I’m encouraging people wait for a trial or at least facts to surface before jumping to those conclusions.”

      It certainly is true that people jump to conclusions, but I would like to point out that very rarely do these types of cases even make it to trial. In Houston, for example, no HPD officer has been indicted for a shooting since 2004 (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/investigations/item/Bulletproof-Part-3-Hard-to-charge-24421.php). This is not to excuse any act of violence, but it should not be a surprise that some people will turn to violence when they perceive the criminal justice system as being almost completely unable or unwilling to even legitimately investigate police misconduct, much less punish it.

      “So, I guess the reason why my answer seems confusing (besides a lack of specificity) is because I’m not 100% on the side of the cops or 100% on the side of people like BLM. I will support all of the good cops (which are the majority) and condemn the bad cops who use their authority to their own advantage and use their weapons carelessly and without proper cause.”

      Of course, being either on the side of police or BLM is a false dichotomy, just as the left-right political spectrum (as it’s commonly defined) excludes a good portion of political thought. By buying into this false dichotomy, we limit our ability to think independently about issues of police brutality and misconduct. Similarly, the frequently asked question of whether police misconduct is a problem of a few bad apples or a rotten barrel, I believe, is the wrong one. A better question is whether, in the event of possible police malpractice, are there adequate procedures in place to properly investigate and, if need be, punish and/or dismiss problem officers? This question needs far more attention than it’s getting.

    • #7432

      I think that your last point is a really, really important one. Trying to label the police as good or bad is really problematic because it distracts from the real problem. Even good cops that have followed the books their whole lives can do something wrong in the heat of the moment. I think you’re right in saying that the real question is about the procedures following police misconduct. It’s clear that they’re really failing in a lot of places.

  • #7844


    Want to know how not to get shot? DON’T FIGHT THE FUCKING OFFICER

    • #8288
      Chocolate Thunder

      <aside class=”bbp-reply-to-quote”><div class=”bbp-reply-to-attribution”>MissouriPatriot said:</div><div class=”bbp-reply-to-body”><p>Want to know how not to get shot? DON’T FIGHT THE FUCKING OFFICER</p>

      In the event that one has been living under a rock, it is not necessary to show resistance of any kind in order to be shot by a police officer.


  • #8784

    Yes police brutality is a very persistence and politically sensitive problem within our society.
    The expectations and extensive roles that any community desires from it’s police force are socioeconomically relative to it’s immediate needs.
    In most poorer communities the whole justice apparatus acts more as either an occupying force or an insulated overseer that is despised by those that are immediately affected by their presence. Why??
    Are the poor unable to deal with their frustrations without micromanagement?
    Is the community itself built up of a lawless class of incorrigibles that need containment??
    Are there larger and more pertinent underlining factors to the alluring propensities of some to commit crime at such alarming rates?? (a) is it an economic problem?? (b) Is it a cultural or educational problem??
    Prosecutors are politicians. A Politicians main focus is keeping his job. This is done by being reelected. Thus forces those incumbents to satisfy a desire for prove of service through unrelated and misleading conviction quotas. There is a bureaucracy feed by favors in favor of the status quo in any given demographic or community. That includes the police institution that is guided by special interest factors.
    In my view the police themselves are descent honorable people radicalized into bullying brutes. Some hell bent on punishing those they deem pariahs on the American experience.
    Arbitrary accountability rationed out indiscriminately will only cause further alienation between the public and law enforcement via the police. Continued blanketed immunity will also proliferate the current problems. So there are dire problems linked to a multifaceted equation.

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