Comey Sells The 'Ferguson Effect,' Blames Spikes In Violent Crime On Citizens With Cameras

from the worst.-FBI-director.-ever. dept

FBI director James Comey is now beclowning himself by endorsing the so-called “Ferguson Effect.” Some major US cities are experiencing increases in violent crime, and law enforcement agencies are blaming this on the fallout from the Michael Brown shooting.

Supposedly, law enforcement officers are afraid to do their jobs properly, fearing reprisal, public humiliation or possible prosecution for deploying any form of force. Further extrapolations of the “Ferguson Effect” theorize that the public’s respect for law enforcement has fallen so low citizens are now often openly hostile.

It’s telling that this is called the “Ferguson Effect,” rather than say, the “Garner Effect.” Both officer-involved-killings happened within a few weeks of each other and both touched off massive protests. In both cases, grand juries failed to return indictments against the police officers responsible for the deaths of two unarmed black men. However, the shooting in Ferguson lacked a crucial element: a video recording of the incident. In Ferguson, the evidence presented was a mess of contradictory eyewitness testimonies.

In the New York City incident, clear recordings of an NYPD officer choking Eric Garner to death were all over YouTube before the NYPD could even issue a coherent statement. For some reason, it’s called the “Ferguson Effect” even though it was NYPD officers who first stated a reluctance to lay down on the job in response to the backlash.

As Comey sees it, the problem (which doesn’t actually exist) isn’t with police departments. It’s with the people they serve… and their unblinking eyes.

He said his conversations with officers often come back to cellphones. He said they describe encounters with young people and their cellphone cameras “taunting” them “the moment they get out of their cars.”

“They told me, ‘We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of our cars,'” Comey said.

To put it in the parlance of official police statements: the officers feared for their safety power.

Police have always performed their duties in public, observed by many. But until recently, any footage of these encounters were left to dashcams. In the absence of recordings, it was the public’s word against the officer’s, and the officer’s word usually won out. Now, police officers no longer have the luxury of controlling the narrative. Apparently, it’s this lack of control that’s preventing them from doing their jobs.

The “Ferguson Effect” narrative goes hand-in-hand with the “War on Cops” — the bogus theory that cops are being targeted and killed more frequently simply because they’re cops. In both cases, there’s no data backing up these assertions. Any perceived spike in violence cannot be traced back to law enforcement officers being more wary of deploying force. Even if it could, the problem still lies with the police, rather than the public.

Public servants performing their duties in public should expect to be observed. If officers can’t handle the “taunting” of camera-wielding citizens, they should exit the law enforcement business. If they feel imprisoned in their own vehicles by members of the public wielding nothing more dangerous than recording devices, they’re not cut out to handle the actual dangers of the job.

Comey’s furtherance of this bogus narrative is not just stupid. It’s also hypocritical. Constant observation — a.k.a. “surveillance” — alters people’s behavior. Comey admits as much in his remarks on the “Ferguson Effect.”

So the suggestion, the question that has been asked of me, is whether these kinds of things are changing police behavior all over the country.

And the answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know whether this explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.

Marcy Wheeler points out the obtuseness of this statement, which highlights the side effect of constant surveillance no government intelligence/investigative agency seems willing to discuss.

I actually do think there’s something to the chilling effect of surveillance (though, again, what’s happening to cops is targeted, not dragnet). But if Comey has a problem with that, he can’t have it both ways, he needs to consider the way in which the surveillance of young Muslim and African-American men leads them to do things they might not otherwise do, the way in which it makes targets of surveillance feel under siege, he needs to consider how the surveillance his Agents undertake actually makes it less likely people will engage in the things they’re supposed to do, like enjoy free speech, a robust criminal defense unrestricted by spying on lawyers, like enjoy privacy.

Law enforcement can dish it out, but it can’t take it. That’s the true definition of the “Ferguson Effect.”

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Comments on “Comey Sells The 'Ferguson Effect,' Blames Spikes In Violent Crime On Citizens With Cameras”

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85 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

if those in positions of authority can lay the blame for anything bad that has or is happening, that will in turn enhance the bringing into law what they want, they will blame a mother for having a child! any excuse thought up that condemns others will do, even though there isn’t a shred of evidence in it’s favor!

Anonymous Coward says:

Mr. Comey has been essentially removed from his clumsy attempt with the whole encryption/”scared of the dark” and now has shifted gears toward the cooling relationship between law enforcement and citizens. Not surprising, but if he sticks to his methodology, he will further exacerbate the situation.

Great article and it zeros in on the issue: if you’re in law enforcement and are easily “taunted” by the use of phones to keep you honest in your duties; you should quit or be removed as your are unfit for the job. Unfit officers are the issue, not the citizens.

Zgaidin (profile) says:

Can't have it both ways...

I am by no means a police apologist, but the argument cuts both ways. Surveillance state detractors (myself included) cannot reasonably promote a state free of dragnet surveillance and then turn around and give the big thumbs up to constant citizen surveillance and heckling of the police.

Have the LEOs seemingly bent over backwards to earn the public’s distrust? Absolutely. Should we be free to record public servants at work so long as it does not interfere with that work? Yes, without reservation.

Still, you wouldn’t want someone to come and record your every single move at work and heckle you constantly, and if you’re honest with yourself, that would probably have a negative impact on your job performance. I’m not saying they haven’t earned every ounce of disrespect they’re getting these days, or that we shouldn’t record and disseminate video of misconduct, but maybe we can advocate for transparency and a more balanced and accurate narrative without jeering at police every time they show their faces in public.

Otherwise, we’ll create such a hostile work environment for them that we might as well fire them all and do without. I’m fine with that, too, but let’s not pay taxes for them to do a job and then make it impossible for them to do it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

“Surveillance state detractors (myself included) cannot reasonably promote a state free of dragnet surveillance and then turn around and give the big thumbs up to constant citizen surveillance and heckling of the police.”

I don’t think that’s what’s happening, though. Outside of the fringe that exists with any group, nobody is giving a big thumbs up to heckling or harassing cops.

As to constant citizen surveillance of cops performing their duties, that’s nothing close to the dragnet surveillance that is being fought against. It’s really the same as the sort of surveillance that many employers engage in (and we are the employers, remember). While that type of surveillance is not free from controversey, it’s also a different issue that must take into account different considerations. It can’t really be compared to the arguments against uniquitous surveillance in the way you propose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

“Should we be free to record public servants at work so long as it does not interfere with that work? Yes, without reservation.”

Everything you said after that was a big ole’ RESERVATION.

There is no half-measure. The public is either free to record LEOs or it is not. Because if you place restrictions, guess who will enforce them, LEOs.

Zgaidin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can't have it both ways...

I don’t have any reservations about filming on-duty police, but we can at least all admit that we should be grown-ups about it and not heckle them. I have no idea how much “taunting” is real vs. perceived by them or whether that’s just code for “they pointed cameras at us.” If it’s imagined or code, tough shit for them, but if it’s real, that’s not behavior we should condone, let alone support.

Everyone’s had that boss (and yes, we are their boss whether they remember that or not) who pays you do to something and then spends all their time getting in your way. I’m just saying, don’t be that manager.

Another Anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: Can't have it both ways...

Recording a public official performing an official action in a public place is totally different from “taunting”.

It is possible for someone to do both, though. If that happens, the taunting be part of the recorded material, and that person will be discredited by it.

As a result, the very act of recording makes it less likely that the same person will also be taunting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

With great power comes great responsibility. If police have proven they can’t be trusted with the responsibility that they have been given, which they have, we will have to treat them like the petulant children they are and watch their every move until they prove capable of handling the responsibility. Seriously, you’re suggesting bad parenting. They are almost entirely without any punishment for their actions, and suddenly they are scared that they may be punished for years of killing people with only token oversight. The only reason that this is a problem is because police have been caught, numerous times being bad actors. They reaped the wind and now they are sowing the whirlwind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

As has already been pointed out there is a difference between an on duty police officer being paid by the public acting on behalf of the public and a private citizen acting in the context of their own privacy. An on duty public servant should have no expectation of privacy anymore than an employee does working at a bank being recorded by cameras. The time an LEO spends working, the time an employee spends working and is being paid, does not belong to the employee. It belongs to the employers. If a cop can’t handle public surveillance to do their job it’s time they find another career.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

“Still, you wouldn’t want someone to come and record your every single move at work and heckle you constantly”

That very accurately describes my work environment. A large part of my workplace is on video, and before you’ve proven yourself competent running everything, there will be a lot of people hovering around nearby observing your work. (Even after that, there’s often still someone around observing your work). Of course, that’s expected since we deal with large amounts of very hazardous chemicals, and messing things up has very serious consequences to us and our neighbors.

But I’m sure nothing cops do is anything like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sorry, but PUBLIC recording of PUBLIC acts vs. GOV recording of PRIVATE acts

I’m sorry, but you are suggesting that PUBLIC recording of PUBLIC acts (citizens recording the police) is in some way comparable to GOVERNMENT recording of PRIVATE citizen’s acts (Which is supposed to be protected by the constitution’s “illegal search and seizure…”).

In NO WAY can they even be uttered in the same breath.

Zgaidin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sorry, but PUBLIC recording of PUBLIC acts vs. GOV recording of PRIVATE acts

That’s not the argument I’m making at all. The article springboards from the notion that constant surveillance changes behavior. It’s bad when the government does it to us because it violates our right to privacy and has “a chilling effect” on certain behavior (right to association, right to free speech, press, etc.)

It’s simply dissonant to argue that similar constant observation won’t have an impact on police behavior. It will, and mostly that’s good. If it stops even one person from being beaten to death for no good reason, that’s all worth it, but if it’s gone so far, or if the police as a national institution are so rotten that they simply can’t or won’t do their job while being observed, then we need a more drastic solution than cameras. As several of you have said in the past, it may just be time to fire all of them and start over.

That was the point I was trying to make, and apparently didn’t make very well.

bugmenot (profile) says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

“Public Servant” is a euphemism..they are Government Servants..Cops exist to protect the State(Government), Enforce it’s Laws and maintain General Order(If that order is arresting African-Americans for violating Jim Crow..they will do it). So lets get that straight..Cops exist to Serve and Protect the Government..Courts have already ruled that Cops have no duty to protect individuals. So when you ask the question about a person who works for a private business feel about a customer(or non-customer) going to a business on private property to record and heckle isn’t the same as a Government Servant being heckled/recorded in on a Public Street/Public Area..don’t forget Cops aren’t the employees of Citizens..we aren’t their customers..so they have no duty to treat us with respect the way a real business would that trying to attract customers.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Can't have it both ways...

Still, you wouldn’t want someone to come and record your every single move at work and heckle you constantly, and if you’re honest with yourself, that would probably have a negative impact on your job performance.

Sure, I do. I can do great stuff. I love a cheering section! I never hide my strengths or gifts from onlookers or my manager or my employer. I want to teach them how to do it for themselves. I prove my worth to them by showing off what I can do for them!

Cops should be no different. CIA should be no different. I prove my worth. Shouldn’t everyone want to also?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Supposedly, law enforcement officers are afraid to do their jobs properly, fearing reprisal, public humiliation or possible prosecution for deploying any form of force.”

This is not believable to you?

No. How many hundreds of people have been killed by cops so far this year? How many cops have been killed so far this year? Do the math. Do you actually believe you’re fighting a war against domestic insurgents?

How many firefighters or EMS have been killed this year? How many infantry in foreign wars have died this year. How many innocent non-combatants have died in drone strikes this year?

You guys should be dialling it back. You’re not really under attack, no matter what your masters say.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Well to be fair there has been a spike in violent crimes, committed by cops, being reported.
Now that both sides can have cameras, it becomes clear that they can no longer spin narratives by editing or deleting footage and giving officers days to make a statement after being able to review all of the “evidence” available.

Slowly the public perception of the breathless reporting about the horrible things “criminals” are doing are being exposed as cops power tripping on those historically not able to fight back against a system that discounts their version of the story deferring to those charged with upholding the law (who have been shown time & time again violating those same laws).

Treating those who would record the interaction as taunting rather than people who are very afraid of those charged with protecting & serving them explains the problem. If you are unable to do the job when there is a way to hold you accountable, that is very telling. Tone deaf leadership of Unions & Governmental oversight who blather about these made up problems, while covering up or discounting bad actions by those *few bad apples” (who aren’t that few from appearances) do nothing to help.

This is the Us vs Them mentality, the problem is it is out of control. Every stop is now treated like there is a missile wielding terrorist in the car, just waiting to strike so we need to get them first. Getting fed up with being stopped multiple times for imaginary reasons and not staying in your place is seen as challenging the officer who doesn’t think you have the right to question anything. They have all of the power and anything that is seen as a challenge is a threat, and they respond as such often to the detriment of their targets who no one by cops sees as threatening.

Whatever says:

Cool story, bro!

I’ve had to log out of my account in order to post this because I know PaulT is watching my post history to try and bait me into responding to his cheap trolling. The fact is, if citizens didn’t run around holding devices in their hands that any reasonable cop can mistake for a gun, the police wouldn’t consider escalating. Shall the police assume that something in the hand of a citizen is unlikely to be a gun? Is that what you want? I suppose the nuances just sailed right over your heads, but judging by the reckless disregard other commenters here have for law enforcement, it’s hardly any surprise.

Idiots with cameras trying to “gotcha!” everything the police does are to blame. If you’re going to fault the police for fearing for their lives, fault your fellow criminals for glorifying their own irresponsible behavior in masking their illegalities.

(Go ahead and censor me now. I don’t care!)

Whatever says:

Re: Re: Cool story, bro! you're a fucking troll

Stinky troll bait and free speech. That’s all you’ll ever have, PaulT. When the police come to take you away I will laugh long and loud. It’s a shame the other commenters won’t censor you as quickly as they do to me, antidirt and other intellectuals criticizing your pathetic narrative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cool story, bro!

Idiots with cameras trying to “gotcha!” everything the police does are to blame.

When I read this, I thought, “hmmmmm….kinda like those speed traps that cops run…”

Seems like if there’s a lot of “gotchas” then perhaps the police are out of control…you know, like a stretch of road where they “step up enforcement” to prevent “problems.”

They just have problems with being accountable. And if that’s the case, they can fuck off and find a new line of work for all I care. I don’t pay for shitty work at a garage – why would I pay for shitty work by police?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Cool story, bro!

Idiots with cameras trying to “gotcha!” everything the police does are to blame. If you’re going to fault the police for fearing for their lives, fault your fellow criminals for glorifying their own irresponsible behavior in masking their illegalities.

Go one step further back in your blame game. Why are people trying to get those “gotcha” moments of police? Because the police have been abusing their authority without any repercussions for quite awhile now.

Do you seriously think things like charging a suspect with assaulting a police officer for bruising the cop’s knuckles with their face isn’t abuse of authority and shouldn’t be curtailed? How else is the general public supposed to fight against such injustices in a system rigged against them from the get go, except with undeniable proof like a video recording?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cool story, bro!

Do you seriously think things like charging a suspect with assaulting a police officer for bruising the cop’s knuckles with their face isn’t abuse of authority and shouldn’t be curtailed?

Just in case anyone thinks this is hyperbole, I give you Henry Davis.

(http://www.npr.org/2014/09/12/348010247/in-ferguson-mo-before-michael-brown-there-was-henry-davis)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cool story, bro!

“Idiots with cameras trying to “gotcha!” everything the police does are to blame.”

The problem isn’t everyone trying to ‘get’ the police. It’s the fact that the police are doing stuff to get ‘gotten’ for. If they don’t do anything wrong there won’t be anything to ‘get’ and hence they have nothing to worry about.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Cool story, bro!

Funny stuff. I don’t log out of my account to post. I call PaulT a shit logged in, I don’t hide from him.

So sorry guys, you got trolled by one of your own. I didn’t post any of that stuff.

Once again, Techdirt stoops just a little lower. Perhaps it’s time to ask the programmers to not allow a posting name the same as an actual user… just an idea!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cool story, bro!

Uh huh. The same vapid insults of how people have to accept police brutality and escalation, the same condescending attitude for everyone else except yourself… and now we have to take your word for it that it’s not you. (Oh look, it’s the same “one rule for me, fuck you for the rest of you losers” all over again.)

Nobody’s going to believe a troll who displays such loyal support for other trolls who use TOR to spam this site.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, I’d actually think Rodney King is foremost in their minds.

The cops in question risked their lives chasing a convict who was fleeing from them because he didn’t want to get in trouble for violating his parole conditions. He was intoxicated at the time, which made him prima facie a threat to everyone around him while behind the wheel, even if he hadn’t been speeding. When they finally got the car to stop, a still-intoxicated King ended up trying to fight the officers off instead of submitting to arrest.

The tape that got shown on news programs worldwide showed none of that. It showed the effect, but not the cause. All people who watched their TV got to see was the officers trying to subdue a very strong, very hostile person who had just put a lot of lives at risk. Understanding that, it’s hard to say that they did anything wrong–as a jury of their peers later found–but without that context it’s very easy to make it look like police brutality, and that out-of-context video ended up touching off some horrendously destructive riots. And all because they were trying to do their jobs and protect the people from an extraordinarily strong and resilient threat.

If you were in a business where anyone could take your actions completely out of context and twist them into portraying you as a monster, and possibly end up touching off riots that you would then get blamed for, wouldn’t you feel a little like you’re under siege too?

No, I don’t think they’ve forgotten about Rodney King at all. I think that “they remember the Rodney King incident all too well” is in fact the best theory by which to explain current LEO attitudes towards cameras.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Taken out of context?

Was the Federal trial where two of the four officers were convicted of violating King’s civil rights taken out of context? Was the 3.8 million dollar award from King successfully suing Los Angeles taken out of context?

They fear cameras because they are afraid of accountability. Spin the “context” argument all you want – it’s tired at this point, and no amount of context allows officers to continue to beat the shit out of a suspect after they have been subdued.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Was the Federal trial where two of the four officers were convicted of violating King’s civil rights taken out of context

Yes, and more to the point, it was illegal, because they had already been put on trial and found not guilty. The Bill of Rights says you can’t then go and do what the politicians, for political reasons, then went and did to the officers. But they did it anyway, for political reasons, mainly to placate the rioters.

no amount of context allows officers to continue to beat the shit out of a suspect after they have been subdued.

Under what definition is someone considered to “have been subdued” when they continue, with some success, to resist?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Illegal? If they were being tried for criminal charges twice, I’d agree. However, your double jeopardy link doesn’t apply to civil suits. It was why OJ was found not guilty of murder, but responsible during the civil suit.

Under what definition is someone considered to “have been subdued” when they continue, with some success, to resist?

How is lying on the ground getting beaten resisting? Putting up your hands to stop getting hit by a club, perhaps? Yeah, sure. The federal court disagrees with your definition apparently.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Illegal? If they were being tried for criminal charges twice, I’d agree. However, your double jeopardy link doesn’t apply to civil suits.

The US Department of Justice had them indicted by federal a grand jury, and after they were found guilty it ended in jail time. News flash: that’s not a civil suit. That’s blatantly illegal double jeopardy in a politically-motivated kangaroo court.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nonsense, clearly forcing a cop to chase you is a horrible crime, and is grounds for the suspect to be beaten until the cops’ arms are tired and/or they’ve worked out their irritation at having to run. No judge or jury needed, that takes too much time, just jump straight to the punishment and teach those punks what happens when they force cops to put those legs of theirs to use. /poe

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The problem with Rodney King is that the cops kept beating him well beyond when he was subdued. That’s what the cameras caught.

[citation needed]

Did they continue beating him well beyond the point where you’d reasonably expect a normal person to be subdued? Absolutely. But Rodney King continued to struggle and fight back the whole time, even when it should have been clear to him that he had already lost, and in light of that, what exactly did the police do wrong?

There are two very effective ways to make someone involuntarily stop resisting altogether: You can kill them, or you can knock them out cold. The first is highly disproportionate in most cases, and is generally a bad idea for any number of reasons which I shouldn’t have to enumerate here. And the trouble with the second is that it’s very difficult to accomplish reliably without using enough force that you run a very real risk of killing them. (“Knockout blows” are the stuff of cheesy martial arts movies, not real life.) So what better option was there?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Did they continue beating him well beyond the point where you’d reasonably expect a normal person to be subdued? Absolutely.

Full stop, Mason.

If you’re arguing they still have an excuse for it after this, then please enlighten us as to what law specifically allows them to continue to beat him.

Otherwise, it just seems like you’re a cop sympathizer who will defend their actions, even when wrong.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If you’re arguing they still have an excuse for it after this, then please enlighten us as to what law specifically allows them to continue to beat him.

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t have to be. The “excuse” after this point is simple: he was continuing to resist, and therefore was not subdued. He struggled more, and took more physical punishment, than you’d expect a normal person to be able to, but all that that proves is that he was on the right slope of the bell curve in that aspect. (Being intoxicated probably helped too. Diminished awareness of pain and all that.)

And if the police had done something wrong I wouldn’t defend it. But as long as someone who had just finished putting hundreds of lives in danger by driving impaired at high speeds is continuing to resist, I don’t see anything wrong with continuing to attempt to subdue him.

Otherwise, it just seems like you’re a cop sympathizer who will defend their actions, even when wrong.

No, what I am is a DWI un-sympathizer. (Losing a couple friends to a drunk driver gives you a bit of a different perspective on such things.) The police were simply doing their jobs. Part of their job is to get people who endanger everyone around them off the streets, and you can’t arrest someone and put them in a car while they’re still fighting you.

What part of this is so difficult to understand?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

What part of this is so difficult to understand?

The part where you feel continuing to beat a man on the ground – and who is CLEARLY on the ground in a fetal position – is somehow justified because of his prior actions.

A federal court found it to be unnecessary, and he was awarded 3.8 million from the city for what you deem to be “necessary.”

News flash, Mason – cops don’t get to decide punishment.

David says:

Misunderstanding

He said his conversations with officers often come back to cellphones. He said they describe encounters with young people and their cellphone cameras “taunting” them “the moment they get out of their cars.”

The young people are sympathetic with the policemen’s suffering under the Ferguson effect and are expressing their gratitude for their work by making sure there will be lots of exonerating evidence when the policemen are falsely accused of disproportionate behavior by neverdowells.

It’s a reassurance: “fear not that your dashcam might be malfunctioning: we have your backs, valiant servants of justice!”

Anonymous Coward says:

One way to identify a failed state, is how feudal it is.

In a functioning state, local authorities cooperate with central authorities because they are “of one mind”, share the same goals. In a failed state, however, the default response of local authorities when approached by central authority, is to ask “what’s in it for me?”.

One of the things central authority can offer is unchecked power. “You can do as you please, we’ll mind our own business as long as you collect taxes and pay a share of it to us” – that was the feudal deal.

The weaker the state is, the more local authorities have to be bribed this way. At the most extreme, think warlords in Afghanistan.

What we’re looking at with these cops, is something like belligerent feudal lords. They’re not willing to do their jobs unless they’re paid in unaccountable, discretionary power.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In a functioning state, local authorities cooperate with central authorities because they are “of one mind”, share the same goals.

Not sure I agree with that. In the US, state and local governments have the power that they have so that they can do things the way they want to. If it worked the way the founders intended, the states would have a fair bit more autonomy than they do. This isn’t a sign of a failed state, it’s a result of attempting to put control of government operations as close to the people as possible. I would not judge my local government based on how closely its goals align with the federal government’s, but on how closely they align with the public good of the city and county.

annonymouse (profile) says:

that one time

A number of years ago there was a crisis in Oka Quebec where the local LEO stepped so far over the boundary that they were looking in the face of a group who were better armed and experienced than them in a little thing called war.
They figuratively pooped their pants and called in the military who first announced that they would be coming in 24 hours before their deployment. This gave time for the locals to evac their heavy equipment and avoid a shooting game.
Now here is the telling thing from back then. The soldiers deployed were instructed to not rreact to anything. There is a famous video of a young masked warrior screaming obscenities in the face of a soldier who never flinched.

Maybe we need to bring in the army with their discipline and court martials. …. oh wait. … you guys have a similar problem there as well….

nasch (profile) says:

Re: that one time

Maybe we need to bring in the army with their discipline and court martials.

That would require an act of Congress, so is next to impossible. Though after everything that we’ve seen lately I can imagine a president doing it without congressional authorization and just daring them to do something about it.

PS it’s courts martial, not court martials, and I’m not sure that they would be used to try civilians in the US.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courts-martial_in_the_United_States

James says:

People, it’s really quite simple. Every time someone records the police interacting with the public, it creates the potential for a brutality lawsuit. These lawsuits take time & resources, which means fewer cops out looking for pedophiles. More pedophiles means that more children will doubtlessly be kidnapped, abused, and killed.

If you record a cop, you’re murdering a child.

_____
Also: terrorism!

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Really this is just a fitting contrast to any article regarding police brutality.

Aint that strange.

On TV, both dancers’ faces are blurred out, but there they both are, live and in person, being utterly human and awesome, on video, on the web, undisguised.

What a strange world we have made here. Normally on TV, only the faces of criminals are blurred.

(and in truth, I’d have to vote the cop as the winner – both for the dance-off and for the respect he just got from an entire nation)

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