Tag Archives: Police

What’s Wrong About the “What’s Wrong With America” Narrative

A black cop shot a white woman.

And there is something wrong with America.  Or so says this article from CNN.  My thoughts.

There’s a predictable pattern to the aftermath of too many deadly police shootings: Neighbors and anti-police brutality groups take to the streets. Groups supporting the officers stand up for them. Social media lights up over whether the victim “did something” to provoke the officer.

This hardly ever happens.  Cops kill hundreds of civilians every year and we see protests rarely.

But none of that holds true in the case of Justine Ruszczyk, a white Australian bride-to-be who was killed by Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American black police officer in Minneapolis.

All of that held true.  Protests happened and the chief was fired.

Because the race and nationality of the victim and police officer aren’t what has typically garnered headlines, people who normally speak up aren’t saying much.

The race of the victim is the race most often killed by cops.  As for who aren’t saying much – it’s because even though white people are most often shot by cops, white people don’t think cops are targeting white people.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King wrote a column in which he said “Police brutality jumped a racial fence.”

See above – most victims of shot by police are white.

Love theorizes a different group of people may take the lead in rallying for the victim in this case: “people who may not have emphathized with the victims (in police shootings in the past) because the victims have been mostly black.”

The lack of fact based reporting is staggering.  Most of the victims are not black – they are white.

Too often in cases involving unarmed black men, Chatelain says, information on the victim’s criminal history or prior arrests makes its way into stories — even when they are irrelevant to the case.

Criminal history ABSOLUTELY is relevant to interactions with the police.

So what does this say about America in 2017, where the race, gender or national identity of a victim or police officer can affect the public’s reaction to a shooting?

Uumm, the only, and I mean ONLY, time we have cared about the race of the victim is when that victim is black.

“We haven’t reckoned with our history,” Goff told CNN, “so it shouldn’t surprise us to see a different reaction.”

When the victim is black, we have seen mass protests and destruction.  When the victim is white we see muted reactions, if any at all.  What is Goff talking about?

 

 

Police Shooting – Minneapolis

By now I am sure that you have heard of the woman shot by police in Minneapolis.  The tragedy is drawing national attention because, let’s face it, the race of the officer and the victim is reversed from the more common narrative AND the fact that the victim is a woman only adds to the optics.

You would have to be in a coma not to be aware of the conversation regarding the shooting of black men by police forces across America.  The narrative is that cops are killing black men indiscriminately and “getting away” with it.  Most recently is the case regarding Philando Castile, in the Minneapolis-metro area, and the cop that shot him.

In the case involving this young woman, I’ll take the stance that I’ve taken with other such cases.  Wait until the investigation is concluded.  And, as in other cases, I have questions.  Such as:

  • Why would Ms. Ruszczyk walk over 100 yards to speak to officers, with their lights off and dark, if she suspected a violent crime was being committed?
  • Why would Ms. Ruszcyzk, after having called 911 twice, not change into clothes?  She was wearing her pajamas.
  • Why would the cop in the passenger seat have his weapon drawn INSIDE the car?
  • Why would she have taken her fiance’s name before they were married?
  • Why would a 22 year old man refer to his father’s soon to be wife as ‘my mom’?
  • Why would you, given that the cops are investigating a violent crime, allow yourself to approach a police vehicle by surprise?
  • Why, after ALL of this time, were the body cams not turned on?

The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me.  Which, I suppose, is not surprising when things go so wrong so fast.

In the end, as always, I hope that justice is done here.  The tragedy that is the death of this young woman is horrible enough.  To wrongfully convict, if indeed not guilty, or to allow to walk, if indeed guilty, would only compound that tragedy.

The Racial Makeup of Police Force

I’ve often wondered why it’s been accepted as fact that if the racial makeup of a police force doesn’t match the racial makeup of the citizenry, then something is wrong.

Now we have some data:

“What we find is evidence that [having] more black police officers probably doesn’t offer a direct solution to this problem,” Sean Nicholson-Crotty, a political scientist at Indiana University and one of the study’s authors, said. Indeed, the researchers concluded that as the ratio of black officers in police departments rose — up to a certain threshold — so did the number of fatal encounters between officers and black residents.

I have a theory.  As an organization looks at itself and finds a demographic under represented and then seeks to increase that representation, they will lower the barrier to entry.  Thus allowing less qualified individuals entrance into the group.

The Gun Debate Just Got Interesting

An big city sheriff in liberal Wisconsin just upped the ante in the gun debate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdhcbkm_xvs

The sheriff’s advice is sure to flame the debate on both sides.  To be sure, it already has:

Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, released this statement:

“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”

And there’s more:

Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she hears “over and over” from most law enforcement officials that the community should work to “take more guns off the streets, not add more.”

“What (Clarke’s) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism,” Bonavia said. “I don’t know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he’s calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake.”

However, the sheriff is not without his supporters:

Asked about Clarke’s assessment of 911, James Fendry, director of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, said, “It’s never been a great option (calling 911). Unless you can take care of yourself, you’re kind of SOL.”

Fendry, a former police officer, said that he tells citizens, “You’re not armed to be law enforcement. You’re armed to protect your own life and the lives of your family until law enforcement arrives. Do not go on search and destroy missions in your home.”

I tend to agree with the folks who are calling on Clarke to show restraint.  The debate is amped up as it is; folks are already looking for any and all reasons to buy a gun.  Heck, in many cases they’re looking for reason NOT to buy a gun.  And when a cop comes out and says that the white hats can’t get there in time; well, it only serves to embolden the guys in the black hats.

County Executive Chris Abele said Clarke is sending the wrong message.

“I think it’s irresponsible and it doesn’t help public safety to tell the public there’s some kind of imminent danger that they need to go buy guns,” Abele said. “Essentially, you’ve got a (public service announcement) that’s recommending people need to go buy guns because they can’t rely on the response they’ll get from 911. I’m here to tell you, we have phenomenal police departments.”

Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said the ad sounded to him like a call to vigilantism.

“That doesn’t sound smart,” Felber said. “That’s why society has police officers.”

One the main and best deterrents to crime is that the cops are on the way and that they WILL catch you.  To break that seal, to allow even a hint of doubt tears down that curtain and what’s behind, may or may not be, ugly.

Police State

I don’t generally buy into the “Black Helicopter” crowd regarding conspiracy of government.  For example, touching on the gun debate, I’m not sure it’s a given that if we register guns that one day the government will confiscate them.

However, I’ve always had a push me pull you relationship with law enforcement.  I distrust 22 year old men with a uniform and a gun.  I’m deeply indebted to the mature officer that puts limb and life on the line to defend me and mine.

But this doesn’t help the cause:

A Ramsey County man who videotaped a sheriff’s deputy in public is now fighting a citation for obstruction and disorderly conduct.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press report says the deputy was loading another man into an ambulance, and 28-year-old Andrew Henderson videotaped the action.

Sheriff’s deputy Jacqueline Muellner confiscated the camera, saying Henderson was violating the other man’s privacy rights. Henderson says when he got the camera back the next day the recording was gone.

Muellner cited Henderson for obstructing legal process. The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to represent him for free.

Maybe there’s room for slack on the part of the cops.  They are, after all, the ones out there putting it all out there.  And having someone tape you may come across as trying to “entrap” you.  So I get it.

But still.

At least the force is saying the right things:

Ramsey County sheriff’s spokesman Randy Gustafson says it’s not the department’s policy to take people’s cameras. He says people are within their rights to record deputies’ activities.

It reminds me of the time I witnessed a DUI arrest in progress.  The entrance to my apartment building had a small flower median.  One lane in, one lane out.  And the officer was parked behind the community sign IN THE WRONG LANE.  The car drove in, not expecting a parked car with headlights on, and hit the brakes.

He was walked and arrested.

I watched the whole thing.  And the officers clearly didn’t like it at all.

Philadelphia Cops vs. The Citizen

Woe to the citizens of Philadelphia if you are acting within the constraints of the law AND the cops don’t like know that law.  At least that’s the message from the cops when it comes to citizens excercising their right to carry a gun.  In full sight.  With a permit.

You see, it seems that cops in Philly are able to decide their own laws OR they don’t feel the need to know/abide by laws on the books.

Consider Mark Fiorino and his recent run in with the law:

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