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Sturgeon

"Pigs" Have A Hard Job

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A strong argument for mandatory cameras for cops.

 

This is definitely the case. If the person dealing with the cop knows that the cop is going to be performing his duties in such a way as he would be comfortable with hitting the nightly news and the cop is well aware that if he does his job well he's got ironclad evidence backing him up, I think that would help defuse a great many situations and better yet may very well help prevent the incidents that cause trials.

 

Note for purposes of this post that trials do include cases getting brought before grand juries even if they don't decide to bring the case to a trial (evening that process out so there isn't a huge gulf in the standards applied to police and civilians would be another thing that could seriously smooth relations).

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Baltimore's riots have caused the Orioles-White Sox game to be played with no spectators. It is going to be like watching a Marlins game but without the Marlins.  

Yeah... odd.

 

I think the curfew is a little overdone.  YMMV.

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So the witness is testifying that he knows Gray was impacting the walls. He then goes from that to believing Gray was doing it himself. I'd like to know his reasons for that conjecture.

 

Also looking forward to the DOJ report on Baltimore, should be good fun.

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Let's all cut to the chase on how this is going to go down:

- there will be an inquest.

- for reasons fair or foul it will not lead to a prosecution.

- there will be an explosion of protest, probably culminating in damage to public property.

- voices on one side of the isle will slam the protesters for getting violent and paint the inciting incident as an isolated case rather than yet one more manifestation of a wider trend. They will similarly pretend that historical trends don't influence the present and put the burden for fixing the whole mess on individuals.

- voices on the other side will distance themselves from the violence and downplay the toxic relationship feeding poverty and dependance that exists and sustains itself without the need for systematic racism or oppression. They will also paint the people involved as passive victims of oppression rather than actors who can influence their own fates. Broader cultural pathologies will go similarly unexamined.

- the people living in the area will come out of the whole ordeal with, at best, a few minor tweaks to the system that both produces and is produced by their misery.

- SH will have another pissy fight about American left/right issues again shortly afterwards.

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It is impossible to quarterback a police shooting without all of the data.  I know - I have done forensic analysis on 31 use of incidents in the past two decades and am a graduate of the SC police academy and 5 years of street work (part-time, but I was a full deputy).

 

On the one hand I agree with people who say police should be held to higher standards.  On the other hand - they usually are.  On the other other hand - some of the most egregious cases of police violence went unpunished.  Look up the real incident that lead to the creation of the TV show the Shield and the movie Traffic and tell me that police violence is not sometimes swept under the rug.

 

Police violence in the US won't be solved anytime soon because it is a double edged problem that requires two fixes.  The questions go hand in hand, but you cannot voice them in the same sentence to the same group without being called a name and shutting the conversation down.  The two questions are pretty easy to state.  #1 There are very very few cases of police shooting people who were not committing a criminal act followed by an aggressive posturing.  How do we teach people not to commit crimes and then charge police?  The second issue is similar.  Ambush of police is up across the board and across the United States.  If you are a cop and you are going to get killed in a crime, it will be when you are ambushed.  The current shoot / no shoot criteria is based on being right about the actions of a person you are facing 100% of the time or being quite possibly dead, so US police moved the shoot / no shoot line over - but then more people get killed.  How do we reduce ambushes allowing police to reset their shoot / no shoot point.

 

And a technological question.  Where is the ranged non-lethal weapon that will allow me to successfully deal with a 260 pound irate charging male before he enters by shoot envelope.  I was in a fight with such a man for nearly five minutes as he tried to get my gun, and you never know fear until you realize that your next mistake is your last and your wife and cats will never see you again.

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It is impossible to quarterback a police shooting without all of the data.  I know - I have done forensic analysis on 31 use of incidents in the past two decades and am a graduate of the SC police academy and 5 years of street work (part-time, but I was a full deputy).

 

On the one hand I agree with people who say police should be held to higher standards.  On the other hand - they usually are.  On the other other hand - some of the most egregious cases of police violence went unpunished.  Look up the real incident that lead to the creation of the TV show the Shield and the movie Traffic and tell me that police violence is not sometimes swept under the rug.

 

Police violence in the US won't be solved anytime soon because it is a double edged problem that requires two fixes.  The questions go hand in hand, but you cannot voice them in the same sentence to the same group without being called a name and shutting the conversation down.  The two questions are pretty easy to state.  #1 There are very very few cases of police shooting people who were not committing a criminal act followed by an aggressive posturing.  How do we teach people not to commit crimes and then charge police?  The second issue is similar.  Ambush of police is up across the board and across the United States.  If you are a cop and you are going to get killed in a crime, it will be when you are ambushed.  The current shoot / no shoot criteria is based on being right about the actions of a person you are facing 100% of the time or being quite possibly dead, so US police moved the shoot / no shoot line over - but then more people get killed.  How do we reduce ambushes allowing police to reset their shoot / no shoot point.

 

And a technological question.  Where is the ranged non-lethal weapon that will allow me to successfully deal with a 260 pound irate charging male before he enters my shoot envelope.  I was in a fight with such a man for nearly five minutes as he tried to get my gun, and you never know fear until you realize that your next mistake is your last and your wife and cats will never see you again.

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As a not-American, I will now try to shut up about this whole thing and let you guys sort your own stuff out.

 

No need to shut up, I was a cop and nothing in your previous post is all that surprising.  I can answer some of it.

 

Why are police rarely punished

The answer is not why are police rarely punished, but why are people of all colors, economic backgrounds, and genders not punished or even charged with crimes.  The answer is the American jurisprudence system which is unique in almost the whole world in being an adversarial system requiring for a crime to be judged guilty for there to be a preponderance of evidence supporting the crime, and that evidence must be convincing beyond a reasonable doubt, and the whole thing must pass two tests - the test of law ruled over by a judge, and the test of truth ruled over by ten average citizens whose only unifying characteristic is their inability to escape jury duty.  Of every 100 arrests with probable cause (which research shows around 70% will be guilty in varying degrees) less than 30 people will stand trial for the crime (and they will have committed the crime objectively about 98% of the time) and about half of them will move through the entire trial to verdict and be punished.  So if you rob a store, you are about 50% likely to be caught, and since you are part of that 70% who did it you are about 50% likely to go to trail (little more than that, but just for example) and are about 50% likely to be punished.  That is .5x.5.x.5, or about 13% chance of ever facing punishment for your act.  My example is rough but is close to several other ways of measuring it so it is probably pretty good.  The average person is given a near free pass on their first criminal act unless it is violence in the first or second degree.  Most felony cases are diverted for the first or second time - so you run over a neighbors kid while screwing around in your car after a few beers and you chances of getting jail time are about the same as getting 00 in Vegas.  

 

Take our police officer who shoots someone.  It is called different things in different states, but it is useful here to call the two big crimes you can get Officer Unlucky on that will result in jail time is Murder in the 1st Degree or Murder in the 2nd Degree.  Conspiracy to commit murder is another one.  Officer Unlucky has an absolutely clean criminal record - or else he would not be a cop.  So you are not getting anywhere by charging manslaughter even if that is what he did because no one, no even the Son of Sam, does jail time for a first time offense of manslaughter - at most he will be diverted.  

 

But Murder1/2 are hard to pin on Officer Unlucky.  Murder One requires mens rea that includes evidence of premeditation and planning.  The guys picture and the words "I will kill that guy today" are really nice.  The bad guy who kills someone by telling his gang buddies he is planning it, then going to do it, gets Murder 1 because he planned and executed.  So Murder 1 is probably out.

 

Murder 2 is hard as well.  It is murder that defined as "dangerous conduct leading to the death of another when that conduct shows an unreasonable disdain for human life, and when the act was not committed under reasonable duress or a situation where one may presume that the average person would feel endangered in their person or feel concern for the safety of others."  Officer Unlucky, to win this ticket, has to look at a car full of kids and respond to getting the bird flipped at him by unloading his pistol into the car.  I am sure this happens, but it is seldom it really does.

 

Manslaughter of various types will get the cop fired, but nothing more unless he is a felon already.

 

Now here is the kicker for juries.  Juries are suckers for balance.  As soon as the video emerged of the guy in Ferguson bullying the store keeper came around you lost all chance of getting through a manslaughter case.  Happens all the time when ganger 1 kills ganger 2.  Ganger 1 skates because ganger 2 is a shit and the defense can prove it.  This is not fair, but it is the nature of the jury system.  If the dead guy charged the cops, if he fought before he died, if he robbed old ladies or has a felony arrest there is no good way to get someone who kills him on manslaughter.  It has to be Murder 1 or Murder 2 where questions about the character and actions of the victim cannot be introduced at all - If Jeffery Dahmer ate Son of Sam you have to go for Murder 1 or 2 to make a dent, unless it was the second person he ate.

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Are these the stories behind The Shield and Traffic?

 

Traffic originated from an attempt to tell some of the story of Rampart Division, but went way off the rails and became a very different movie in rewrite.  

 

Rafael Antonio Pérez was the main influence for writing Vic Mackey.  

 

Training Day used Rafael Antonio Pérez to build the character played by Denzell Washington.

 

The shooting of Kevin Gaines was the inspiration for what would become Crash.  Basically the script was written by taking the story of Gaines and building outward from there.

 

Rampart inspired more digital output than nearly any other police story that ever happened - but few people have ever heard of it.

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Also, Rampart is not always seen in a bad light, and Rampart has achieved cult-hero status among many Californians who see them as the Robin Hoods fighting against the LAPD.

 

Chris Dorner before he was killed often stated that Rampart officers killed or jailed needed to be avenged.  He blamed the growth of H13 in LA on the loss of Rampart - which he believed protected communities against that gang (and favored less violent local gangs like the Crips).

 

A very controversial subject.  

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Also, Rampart is not always seen in a bad light, and Rampart has achieved cult-hero status among many Californians who see them as the Robin Hoods fighting against the LAPD.

 

Chris Dorner before he was killed often stated that Rampart officers killed or jailed needed to be avenged.  He blamed the growth of H13 in LA on the loss of Rampart - which he believed protected communities against that gang (and favored less violent local gangs like the Crips).

 

A very controversial subject.  

 

 

I'd heard about Perez before, but had no idea there was a bigger scandal.

 

Didn't the movie Colors back in the 80s follow a CRASH unit?

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No need to shut up, I was a cop and nothing in your previous post is all that surprising.  I can answer some of it.

 

Why are police rarely punished

The answer is not why are police rarely punished, but why are people of all colors, economic backgrounds, and genders not punished or even charged with crimes.  The answer is the American jurisprudence system which is unique in almost the whole world in being an adversarial system requiring for a crime to be judged guilty for there to be a preponderance of evidence supporting the crime, and that evidence must be convincing beyond a reasonable doubt, and the whole thing must pass two tests - the test of law ruled over by a judge, and the test of truth ruled over by ten average citizens whose only unifying characteristic is their inability to escape jury duty.  Of every 100 arrests with probable cause (which research shows around 70% will be guilty in varying degrees) less than 30 people will stand trial for the crime (and they will have committed the crime objectively about 98% of the time) and about half of them will move through the entire trial to verdict and be punished.  So if you rob a store, you are about 50% likely to be caught, and since you are part of that 70% who did it you are about 50% likely to go to trail (little more than that, but just for example) and are about 50% likely to be punished.  That is .5x.5.x.5, or about 13% chance of ever facing punishment for your act.  My example is rough but is close to several other ways of measuring it so it is probably pretty good.  The average person is given a near free pass on their first criminal act unless it is violence in the first or second degree.  Most felony cases are diverted for the first or second time - so you run over a neighbors kid while screwing around in your car after a few beers and you chances of getting jail time are about the same as getting 00 in Vegas.  

 

Take our police officer who shoots someone.  It is called different things in different states, but it is useful here to call the two big crimes you can get Officer Unlucky on that will result in jail time is Murder in the 1st Degree or Murder in the 2nd Degree.  Conspiracy to commit murder is another one.  Officer Unlucky has an absolutely clean criminal record - or else he would not be a cop.  So you are not getting anywhere by charging manslaughter even if that is what he did because no one, no even the Son of Sam, does jail time for a first time offense of manslaughter - at most he will be diverted.  

 

But Murder1/2 are hard to pin on Officer Unlucky.  Murder One requires mens rea that includes evidence of premeditation and planning.  The guys picture and the words "I will kill that guy today" are really nice.  The bad guy who kills someone by telling his gang buddies he is planning it, then going to do it, gets Murder 1 because he planned and executed.  So Murder 1 is probably out.

 

Murder 2 is hard as well.  It is murder that defined as "dangerous conduct leading to the death of another when that conduct shows an unreasonable disdain for human life, and when the act was not committed under reasonable duress or a situation where one may presume that the average person would feel endangered in their person or feel concern for the safety of others."  Officer Unlucky, to win this ticket, has to look at a car full of kids and respond to getting the bird flipped at him by unloading his pistol into the car.  I am sure this happens, but it is seldom it really does.

 

Manslaughter of various types will get the cop fired, but nothing more unless he is a felon already.

 

Now here is the kicker for juries.  Juries are suckers for balance.  As soon as the video emerged of the guy in Ferguson bullying the store keeper came around you lost all chance of getting through a manslaughter case.  Happens all the time when ganger 1 kills ganger 2.  Ganger 1 skates because ganger 2 is a shit and the defense can prove it.  This is not fair, but it is the nature of the jury system.  If the dead guy charged the cops, if he fought before he died, if he robbed old ladies or has a felony arrest there is no good way to get someone who kills him on manslaughter.  It has to be Murder 1 or Murder 2 where questions about the character and actions of the victim cannot be introduced at all - If Jeffery Dahmer ate Son of Sam you have to go for Murder 1 or 2 to make a dent, unless it was the second person he ate.

Very interesting, thank you.

 

How does this all square with the oft-quoted assertion that the US has the highest per-capita detention rate in the world? Is it just that much easier to do time for holding a bag of weed than it is for running someone over?

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Very interesting, thank you.

 

How does this all square with the oft-quoted assertion that the US has the highest per-capita detention rate in the world? Is it just that much easier to do time for holding a bag of weed than it is for running someone over?

 

 

Well, that is a simplification, and it requires some understanding of the current problem with US prisons.  

 

Currently there are around 200,000 Federal prisoners serving a mean sentence of 37 months.  51% are in prison for trafficking.

Currently there are around 1.3 million state prisoners serving a sentence mean of 17 months.  16% are in prison for trafficking.

The total people behind bars is around 2 million.  500,000 are in local confinement and serving sentences less than 12 months.

About 4 million people have some sort of non-prison deferment currently.  25% of them have solely drug related crimes.

About a million people have some for of early prison release, 40% of whom have served time for drug offenses.

Most parolees are probationers as well, so those numbers overlap.

 

Simplification:

2 million behind bars on any given day.  25% for drugs only.

4 million being supervised.  30% for drugs only.

 

Drugs are a factor in 75% of all non-drug / non-victimless crimes committed.  Most of these crimes are property theft or strong arm robbery.

 

The average cocaine habit in Seattle Washington costs $18,000 per year.  The average perc habit costs $27,000.

The average addicted person will commit somewhere between 18 and 27 crimes a year to maintain their habit.

The average person who is jailed for drug trafficking will have been convicted of 9 criminal acts before serving a day in prison.

Each kilogram of cocaine imported in the United States is responsible for around 2 murders.

 

Now the answer to your question

One of the considerations that must be taken into account with trafficking is that the offense tends to be repeated, often.  The vast majority of murderers will only murder once in their lives.  The vast majority of traffickers will not only repeat their crime, but will repeat it A LOT.  You can look up in some state websites the charge sheets for federal inmates, and the average inmate in jail for trafficking has committed and been caught for the crime 14 times.

 

People rarely are jailed for marijuana in any state in the US.  Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor - jail time is possible but generally only happens on the sixth or greater offense, and then the convicted person spends only two days per week in jail.  First time offenders who get jail usually did something else.  South Carolina trafficking rules are some of the harshest - under 100 pounds usually gets some form of rehab program for the first two offenses, Usually they convict, give you the sentence, then suspend sentence.  The worst marijuana case I saw was a fifth offense with stacked suspended sentences resulting in a 25 year standard sentence (read 25 years as 5-1/2 if no gun was involved - medium security and good behavior opens parole up after 5 years).  

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