'Blue Lives Matter' Laws Continue To Be Introduced Around The Nation

from the BLM-mostly-DOA,-so-there's-that dept

How much do “Blue Lives” matter? More than non-Blue Lives, apparently, given the national legislative enthusiasm for generating stupid, easily-abused, redundant legislation.

Louisiana — one of the few states where legislators have agreed to extend greater protections to an incredibly-protected group — has already seen its newly-minted “Blue Lives Matter” law abused by law enforcement. It’s been abused so badly that even law enforcement’s best friend — local prosecutors — has refused to pursue charges under the statute.

But most state legislatures have yet to entertain this ridiculous idea to its illogical conclusion. As Julia Craven reports for Huffington Post, fourteen states have floated “Blue Lives Matter” laws — a total of 32 legislative trial balloons.

The good news is most of these have gone nowhere. The data compiled by Craven shows a majority of these have died shortly after introduction — most likely due to them being both (a) bad laws and (b) redundant. All 50 states already have some sort of sentencing enhancement on the books for perpetrators of violent acts against law enforcement officers. Trying to twist legislation meant to protect underprivileged groups to include some of the most privileged members of our society hasn’t found much support beyond police unions and others similarly self-interested.

For whatever reason, Mississippi’s legislature is the nation’s leader in failure and redundancy, as far as “Blue Lives” legislation goes.

Any bills that have managed to pass make things worse for anyone who has the misfortune of interacting with police. Existing laws already engage in book-throwing when it comes to violence against police officers. “Blue Lives” laws just add more severity, for no tangible reason.

[U]nlike hate crime laws, they don’t require prosecutors to prove motive.

“In the vast majority of states, you will get life or considerably less in prison for murder; but if you murder a police officer, you are almost certain to get death,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “So the truth is that including police in hate crime laws is merely a political statement ? and an unnecessary one at that.”

In most cases, “Blue Lives” laws add sentencing enhancements to normal violations. Crimes like resisting arrest (and assaulting an officer, which tends to be handcuffed to resisting charges) are treated as acts of “hate,” rather than as the basic, bog standard criminal acts they are.

It’s also important to point out — as Craven does in her article — that the “Blue Lives Matter” movement was borne of law enforcement misconduct and use of excessive force. As public confidence in law enforcement decreased, some people felt compelled to intercede on behalf of a pretty much legally-unassailable group.

The national focus on police violence has put officers and their more avid supporters on the defense. Supporters created the Blue Lives Matter campaign as a direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the growing protests against police violence.

The other aspect that makes these laws particularly ridiculous is the “hate crime” aspect of it. Hate crime laws deal with human traits that are mostly involuntary or unchangeable, like race or sexual preference. No one is born a cop and no one forces anyone to take the job. Hate crime laws themselves are generally redundant, but adding more layers of redundancy to shelter a certain subsection of Americans who are completely free to remove their “cop” status at any time is a solution in search of a problem. And the problem with problem-less solutions is that problems will be created out of thin air to fit them.

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Comments on “'Blue Lives Matter' Laws Continue To Be Introduced Around The Nation”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Should lawmakers be tough on crime or tough on the Constitution as the were sworn to be?

That blue lives matter any more (or any less) than any other life is the fallacy of such laws.

The police are over privileged (eg. qualified immunity along with arrest authority, and that the Supreme Court does not think they need to know the laws they are charged with enforcing) and awash in ego enhancing privilege (eg. the power to make others do things, even if one is innocent they cannot beat the ride and civil asset forfeiture).

None the less, they chose their profession, and can choose another if they feel they are too much in the line of fire, so to speak, which the statistics show they are actually not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Should lawmakers be tough on crime or tough on the Constitution as the were sworn to be?

Well, training a police officer is not free and you wouldn’t want to deter people from choosing that career.

You see a lot of excessively violent actions happen involving the police. Therefore there is plenty reason to do something about it.

Still I have to wonder if this is the needed medicine. Better deescalation training, more appropriate attire and the two forbidden words seem like better options.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Should lawmakers be tough on crime or tough on the Constitution as the were sworn to be?

Yeah, if only the beautician didn’t have to worry about their customer pulling out a concealed weapon and killing them because of the profession they chose or the cut they gave them, amiright?

Source: my mother was a beautician for 30 years. The hours are long and the pay sucks, but they still have it better than a cop when it comes to working conditions and the potential for violent acts against them. I never once was worried my mother wouldn’t come home at the end of the day.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 They make it home.

You’re speaking to the rumor and not the actual numbers.

In fact, I’d wonder how a long commute is in rush-hour traffic in inclement weather compares to a year of being in law enforcement.

When I started playing Payday 2 (a heist game set in Washington DC) I noticed on long missions the police just kept on coming, and it raised the question how much I and my buddies were (virtually) cutting into DC precinct manpower, or contributing to the Fallen Officers Memorial. It turns out we were often doubling it. It speaks to the violence of the game, yes, but more surprising is how few officers have died in the line of duty in Washington DC (what was at least for some of the time the murder capital of the nation).

For instance, the last death in the line of duty was in 2010. Since then, 100% of the police officers in Washington DC precincts have come home.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 They make it home.

But Washington DC isn’t the only place we’re discussing here, we talking about police, in general, aren’t we? It’s like saying Chicago and all the murder there is representative of how black people behave.

This is claimed to be a systemic issue. Meanwhile the numbers don’t support it.

I agree that policies and training have helped minimize deaths in law enforcement, but that doesn’t mean their job is any less dangerous. It just means they have been trained to deal with that danger in a better way than previously.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "The numbers don't support it."

Do tell, then. Let’s see some numbers. Show us the counties in which the police have been dropping like flies.

2016 was a bad year for the Dallas Police Department, for instance. But that’s an anomaly. Here are the rest of Dallas’ fallen.

So, yeah, show me where in the US where the War on Cops really is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 "The numbers don't support it."

Again, I never said there’s a war on cops. I said their job is dangerous. Period. It’s you people trying to delegitimize the danger they face. Please do tell me how going to work every day in a job where there is the REAL possibility of death or injury isn’t dangerous again.

I have sited numbers, articles, examples of the danger throughout this article and the best anyone can come up with is to infer things I never said and then tear down their own fallacies.

As for numbers here a link to some.


As you can see, the numbers have been dropping on average every year since 1970… that is a sign of good training and policies, including de-escalation techniques and others.

Now I’ll play your game. Please show me the epidemic of murderous cops out there gunning down people in the streets.
But remember there are about 900 thousand cops and over 1.2 million violent crimes each year… oh and in a population of over 320 million. I won’t hold my breath.

David says:


And I thought this was a semi-humorous play on emancipation of suppressed groups by referring to smurfs (similar like the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion).

This is not actually a “Blue Lives Matter” movement we are talking about. It is an “Only Blue Lives Matter” movement, or at least “Blue Lives Matter a Whole Lot More”.

And it’s similar to added punishment for burning down a fireman’s house because it turns out firemen get more often hurt by fire than members of other professions.

I prefer my smurf version as it is decidedly less stupid. Which of course makes it ineligible for U.S. lawmakers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Using the same argument, why do black lives matter more than others?

Article from July 2016

"*In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year."… "1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).

According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.*"

The only thing missing from the article above is that despite making up just 13% of the population, blacks committed half of homicides in the United States for nearly 30 years. DOJ statistics show that between 1980 and 2008, black people committed 52% of homicides. In 2013, black criminals committed 38% of the murders. Whites accounted for just 31 percent.

You could argue that due to environment and poverty, that those statistics are skewed, but you have to take into account that no matter the socioeconomic environment, the police still must enforce the laws, hence their stats would be skewed as well while enforcing in those areas.

I would argue that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, a baker would state “the amount of flour in the dough matters”. Because that is what is most likely to warrant adjustment. In contrast, the amount of cigarette ashes in the dough is not all that interesting a question since there usually is not a lot of leeway for variation.

That doesn’t mean that the amount of cigarette ashes in dough does not matter. It most certainly does. But there is not much of a need for debate with that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Using that same argument, are there more white quarterbacks because of racism, as many believe?
Why do we report employment numbers by race? Why have that field on an employment application? Shouldn’t the best person for the job be the right person for the job, as it is in sports?

Just because there is only 1 Black CEO of a fortune 500 company, it doesn’t imply racism. Correlation doesn’t have to indicate causation, right?

There have been several recent examples of bad cops in the news. But when you consider that there are ~900,000 cops, or 1 cop for every 320 people, I would call the number of inappropriate uses of force small.

According to the FBI
"In 2013, an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 4.4 percent from the 2012 estimate."

And those are just the reported crimes. So we’re talking about more violent crimes committed per year than there are cops to police them. now consider, in 2016 Police shot and killed 963 people.

This number doesn’t take into account justified shootings, just raw numbers. That’s 1000 people out of ~1 million violent crimes (0.1%) in a population of over 320 million.

So we’re talking about something that has affected .0003% of the population. This is a political issue, not a rights issue or a race issue. It’s most definitely not a Black/Blue Lives Matter issue.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is a political issue, not a rights issue

Wait, so something needs to happen on a large, widespread scale for it to be a rights issue?

So like, hypothetically: if you were illegally searched or arrested without cause or denied a fair trial or compelled to testify against yourself or had any of your other core civil rights stripped from you, that wouldn’t be a rights issue? After all, it’s just one person, barely a measurable portion of the population. So if you were to complain about your rights being ignored, and others were to stand up for you, we’d be justified in saying that you’re just being “political” and this is not a rights issue because it’s not happening to millions of people every day?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"So if you were to complain about your rights being ignored, and others were to stand up for you, we’d be justified in saying that you’re just being "political" and this is not a rights issue because it’s not happening to millions of people every day?"
If I was claiming it’s a systemic thing, then yes you could.

I concede that my point was poorly worded. I should have said community rights issue. But to equate my individual rights being violated to the claims by many of a systemic issue of rights violations is disingenuous.

There is no systemic rights issue. The incidence rate doesn’t come close to supporting such a conclusion.

As to the "most privileged members" of our society…
Safe harbor protections are given to ISP’s why???
Because the services they provide open them up to the potential to be abused, or unjustly held liable for actions they have no control over, correct? ‘Go after the offender’ is the common statement on here, isn’t it?

Cops perform a service that puts them in a very similar position. How many bloggers are killed in the line of duty every year? How many sports stars are killed because of the uniform they wear? How many professionals, outside of the military or firefighters, go to work each day knowing that they could be asked to place themselves in harms way to protect the lives of complete strangers?

Should they not expect certain protections that the average civilian shouldn’t? They are required to make life and death decisions in less time than it takes you to grab your cell phone. Not every day, but then you don’t have the same work day every day either, do you? Should we judge your work by the most mundane of tasks or by the most difficult?

If you knew that every year 10 random sports figures die just because they showed up to work and someone in the crowd shoots them, would you become a baseball player? Would it color your attitude towards the crowd if you did?

Hey, I’m with you on the legislation, it’s redundant. It’s as political as any identity politics grandstanding. But the continued conflation of such rare incidents into some kind of systemic problem is just wrong.

The numbers aren’t there.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

As jobs go, garbage collectors are something like 3 or 4 times more likely to be injured or killed on the job than cops are.

Garbage collection is more necessary to society than law enforcement — you can run from or shoot a mugger, but a plague caused by rotting garbage lying around doesn’t care if you run or shoot.

If you suggest that garbage collectors should have the privileges of cops, people look at you like you are crazy.

Police officer, despite barely being in the top 20 most dangerous jobs gets people insisting we cut them all kinds of privileges — why do garbage collectors not get the same consideration (or even greater consideration) for being in the top 5?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Bad analogy. You’re referring to industrial accidents. Those risks can be mitigated. Dealing with an unknown, unpredictable human being is a next level risk. It’s not even in the same league.

Cops knowingly put there lives in danger because we demand it of them. We are a nation of laws. We willfully give them the authority (special privileges, if you like) to enforce those laws. There is inherent danger in performing those duties. Why is that so hard to grasp?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The number of shootings is one thing, reasons can be debated.

There can be no doubt that sometimes a cop shoots someone that they shouldn’t. There are cases when a cop shoots someone without justification where they are not held accountable and given a pass. That is unacceptable. That is what we need to change.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If you’re trying to work out (or get us to work out) whose life has the most value, that’s sick and wrong on many levels. Let’s take a closer look at the issue at hand:

Sometimes the police abuse the power they have over us and there’s a culture of collusion, of “us V them” that keeps the circle spinning.

Black people appear to be disproportionately targeted, along with ethnic minorities; basically, if you’re not white you’re more likely to be stopped and searched, etc.

Something’s got to give. I’d suggest an expansion of existing community initiatives to encourage the cops to stop thinking of the public as “the enemy” and to protect and to serve us instead. Not only would this improve community relations it would improve their reputation.

We need more of this: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/justice-department-aims-rebuild-trust-police-community-engagement-initiative/

and less brutality and robbery at badgepoint.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Something’s got to give. I’d suggest an expansion of existing community initiatives to encourage the cops to stop thinking of the public as "the enemy" and to protect and to serve us instead. Not only would this improve community relations it would improve their reputation.

While getting rid of or at the very least lessening the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality would certainly help, I think a more pressing concern is the appearance and often reality of double-standards and no accountability or even interest in it(a problem that these ‘blue lives matter’ laws are only making worse).

When a rotten cop does something and not only are they not punished but the system closes ranks and defends their actions as just, that heavily undermines any trust the public may have towards police, as it demonstrates that there is no interest within the police to keep their own in check, and as such none of them can be trusted.

One of the biggest steps towards rebuilding public trust of the police is actual accountability, both to get rid of the corrupt individuals who are dragging everyone else down with them, and to show the public that even those with a badge are held accountable for their actions.

As for the article… yeah, not impressed. That read like a whole bunch of empty words, with pretty much no actual details of ‘Here’s the problem, here’s what we plan on doing about it’, just vague ‘There’s problems, and this is going to do something about them’.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It’s not just an issue with the ‘thin blue line’, there is also an issue with the ‘thin black line’ where the judiciary continues to enable the ‘thin blue line’. The way ‘qualified immunity’ has been used to protect cops, without some qualification of the word ‘qualified’ makes difficult any attempt for holding cops accountable.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Poor wording on my part it would seem, not helped by the fact that I narrowed down what I was talking about within the same sentence which can lead to confusion. When I said ‘the system closes ranks’ I was including more than just the police, and meant the police and the legal system as well.

Police closing ranks to protect even the worst amongst them is bad, but when the courts and prosecutors jump in and help them do it it makes the problem much worse, that I most certainly agree with you on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The point isn’t that they matter more, it’s to point out that they matter, period. This is because whenever there’s a shooting of a black person, justified or not, if they weren’t a straight A student wearing their sunday’s finest while on the way to volunteer at a kitten shelter, people like you pop up to say they should have just put their hands up and complied like every blessed-by-the-lord white person learned from birth. Or that they otherwise deserved to die because the local Judge Dredd feared for his safety after spotting a black man in the car he pulled over.

Meanwhile Trailer Trash Jimbob pulls a gun at a Planned Parenthood and is subdued non-lethally.

But something tells me this is lost on you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The assumption that anyone believes they matter less is based on a flawed and distorted view of the facts.

First off, the majority of people of color endorse the very same idea that "they should have just put their hands up and complied like every blessed-by-the-lord white person learned from birth". You assume much when you think only white people think this.

Second, if the numbers supported the notion that there was a systemic issue, I would whole heartedly agree that there is a problem… but there just isn’t. The incidence rate just doesn’t support the claim.

So that leaves what? I believe it’s a genuine belief in certain communities that you do not have to comply with any authority figure. That you have ‘rights’ that allow you to resist, violently in some case, the officer who has sworn to uphold OUR laws.

Is the system perfect? No. Is there room for improvement? yes. Do the numbers indicate a systemic problem or is it the overblown, constant bombardment by the media and fringe groups to sell a narrative that just doesn’t exist?

Take for instance the number of mass shootings in the US. Have they gone up? You would assume the answer is yes, but that isn’t really true, now is it?

What about extreme weather? It’s definitely on the rise due to Climate Change, right?
oh… maybe not.

Just because people are talking about it, doesn’t make it true. It just means that communications and information sharing have come a long way in a very short period of time.

Another thing people never seem to take into account when spewing the false narrative of some kind of police vendetta against the public is that over the last 30 years, the population in the US has grown by almost 100 Million. That kinda skews the numbers and actually supports the idea that the % of violent interactions has decreased quite a bit per capita, no?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: More than others?

I think the BLM argument is currently black lives don’t count as much as white lives do. And Blue matter more than any of us ordinary civilians.

Blue lives aren’t really that threatened if we look at how often one of them gets killed on the job. And they do have a propensity to just rotate around murderous officers from precinct to precinct like they do priests who engage in child sexual assault. The good cops don’t like it because every murder by an officer drives the wedge between police and community further and further.

I can’t confirm your homicides stats, but I do know that homicides, along with violent crime in general, have plummeted since the 70s and 80s, most likely due to removal of lead from gasoline. Despite what Trump says, we aren’t living in a crime wave, at least not crime by civilians.

Murders by law enforcement are under-reported by law-enforcement. (This is despite a congressional order that every incident has to be reported to the FBI and then to the BJS. They just refuse.) The only reason we have statistics at all in the last couple of years is thanks to non-profits and more recently news-media agencies actively tracing dead bodies at the coroner’s to the incidents that killed them.

Case in point, Michael Brown was left to die in the street for hours, with no attempt by Wilson to contact paramedics to render life-saving aid. (An old SS trick, by the way — shoot them and let them bleed out in the street.) When Wilson’s incident report was requested for the coming grand jury, it hadn’t even been filed yet. The report was finally released a week after the incident. So Brown was murdered and the entire precinct didn’t bother with the report until it was absolutely necessary.

So we really don’t know the stats regarding how many black lives have been taken by blue lives except in the most recent handful of years.

According to those black lives I’ve known, police brutality has not gotten any better since MLK was complaining about it (much to the chagrin of J. Edgar Hoover) in the early 1960s. But until everyone had phone cameras, and police became less successful at confiscating them, the US public was just able to pretend that none of this was going on.

We also still have the matter that a legal system that can indict a ham sandwich seems to be incapable of indicting a law enforcement agent. And where we give ordinary indictments less than sixty seconds, we’ll spend days convincing a grand jury that a blue life shouldn’t be even indicted.

Then there’s the mistrial of Officer Randall Kerrick in which the twelfth juror could not in good conscience find a law enforcement officer guilty. They had video of him shooting Jonathan Ferrell in the back and then re-arranging evidence to cover his story.

Blue lives already matter. Blue lives matter way more than civilian lives ever did.

And Jonathan Ferrell’s life doesn’t matter at all.

And neither does yours, if a law enforcement officer covets your spouse or your stuff. Or wants to gun you down out of sheer spite. Even video of the incident will not see justice. And you may not appreciate that, Anonymous Coward, because you aren’t yet in the crosshairs.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you (and the United States) didn’t decree the fate of the rest of us based on the behavior of some people who have a few common traits with us, whether its brown skin or low income or whatever.

Because if we were to apply the same sort of judgement to blue lives, the case for epidemic brutality and abuse of power has already been made evident with video after video after video. The behavior of the entire police force during the Ferguson unrest was contemptible (and recorded, despite their best efforts), and is in itself an indictment of the entire law-enforcement complex. Their behavior alone suggests that humans simply turn monstrous once issued a badge and a gun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: More than others?

Are murder rates down in Chicago, Baltimore or other urban areas?

I agree, our justice department needs to be fixed, cops need to be held accountable, bad cops need to be put in jail. Our court system, our juries need to break the cycle of no accountability. The blue wall of silence needs to end, because it turns good cops into bad cops.

But you can’t seriously believe that police brutality has not gotten better since the 60’s. Bad policing and an unjust court system is what needs fixing, but it is better than the past. Cops over-reacted in Missouri, and under-reacted in the recent Berkley protests.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The (Alleged) Chicago Crime Wave

Here. CNN has provided some good charts to put the Chicago crime wave in context.

Murder rates are up in Chicago in context of very recent years. It’s actually hovering at a low point with slightly higher bumps. 2016 was a slightly higher bump. Contrast to the mid 90s when the murder rate in Chicago was 1.6x what it today.

That’s not a crime wave to inspire Batmen unless you’re Trump.

As for police brutality being better since the 60s, we don’t really have evidence to say one way or the other. The police covered things up. The marginalized communities complained. The Rodney King aftermath started a riot, and as more and more cameras enter the field we’re seeing that police brutality is an accepted norm, largely because we assume that blacks and marginalized minorities are all incorrigible hoodlums that hulk out with the first toke of cannabis.

(The dudes-monstering-out-on-drugs legend came from a few incidents involving PCP. No one really takes Angel Dust anymore, since it’s a bad buzz for a lot of risk and health hazards. Crystal meth and crack have since replaced PCP being cheaper and a faster high. It’s kind of like cars exploding in 80s action flicks because of a couple of Pintos)

Regardless of whether brutality rates better or worse, it’s bad now. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t still have police fighting bodycams or collecting phones against Supreme Court rulings, or yelling STOP RESISTING! as they pummel the crap out of their latest victim. These are all indicators of a brutality culture.

And it’s systemic, such as with a use of SWAT raids for any little thing (rather than specifically for hostage-barricade situations). SWAT raided occurred 500 times a year in the 70s. Now it’s 50,000 times a year, with undertrained agents, and we no longer knock. They just barge in and toss in flashbangs, and then search the house for something to justify the raid.

This is all history. And it’s all recorded here on TechDirt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The (Alleged) Chicago Crime Wave

Yet you tar all police from the actions of a minority of cops. There are good cops out there, cops that save black lives, cops that put their life on the line for black lives.

According to your thinking of tarring all with the actions of a few, since blacks commit crimes at a higher rate, it would follow that all blacks are criminals.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Tarring all on the actions of a few

A ten thousand percent increase in SWAT raids tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

The NYC pressure on officers to do Terry stops tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

The privileged reviews that law enforcement officers get (in contrast to the lest-than-sixty seconds rest of us get) to determine indictment tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions refusing to read and then declaring mostly anectdotal the reports on human rights violations by law enforcement in the US tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

The FBI’s policy to refuse to report shootings by officers to the BJS — despite congressional mandate — tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

The police unions’ desperate lobbying efforts to cease advances in accountability and culpability of law enforcement agents tells me I’m not tarring all the police from the actions of a few

I know officers who are true believers in the To Protect And Serve motto. I know good officers, so I know good officers exist. But remember, as the mistrial of Officer Randall Kerrick has shown us (as well as the short list of convicted officers) this is a systemic problem, not something you can blame on bad apples.

No, rather, law enforcement internal affairs was supposed to manage their own. And. They. Don’t. The precincts circle the wagons every single time. It doesn’t help that the bad apples are not brought to justice, and then typically keep their jobs (at most, in another precinct.)

None of this is about tarring all the police from the actions of a few

We have bad apples throughout the Department of Justice, right up to Sessions, himself. We have judges that collude with bad apples, because they’d rather see a hundred innocent get incarcerated than a guilty suspect go free. And we don’t know how often they get the culprit on first try, but if the various exoneration projects are to be believed, it’s somewhere between a third and a half of inmates.

The bad apples have, this time, spoiled the barrel. We’re beyond tossing the bad ones and need to salvage any good ones in a whole ‘nother barrel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The good for the gander comment was concerning statistics and what they indicate, but if police are killing black murderers, that would be different than if they are killing black people that are not murderers (or other dangerous people.)

Society needs cops. Cities need cops. Blacks in certain neighborhoods in Chicago would benefit if there were cops on every street, 24 hours a day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Wendy, I agree, cops need to do a better job and we need to hold them accountable. That being said, law abiding residents of inner city neighborhoods want and demand the police to be in their neighborhoods.

Remember the outcry in Baltimore after the riots where people were complaining that the cops are not visible, were afraid to do their job in certain neighborhoods?

Think the people in Chicago want fewer cops around after the over 700 murders that took place in 2016?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

People in "dangerous" neighborhoods would probably love to have police officers around more often — if they felt officers could be trusted. There are a myriad number of reasons why that trust is gone, but they almost all involve harmful actions inflicted by the police upon the communities they serve. The police have to make the communities they serve feel as if the cops are not going to act in the same way that caused the loss in trust. Only then will they regain a community’s goodwill.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

There are a myriad number of reasons why that trust is gone, but they almost all involve harmful actions inflicted by the police upon the communities they serve

Anecdotal and unsubstantiated.

If you know that a certain demographic commits a larger percentage of crimes, due to economic or any other reason, would you be distrusting of that demographic? If so, isn’t that racist? If not, then you understand that the few bad actors do not speak for the entire group.

Similarly, blaming the miniscule number of bad cops for the general distrust certain communities have towards the entire organization is unjust. Especially since about half of cops grew up/live in or near the neighborhoods they serve.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Cops serving their own community

Last I checked, many police departments prefer to take in new officers from outside of town.

It was one of the noted elements of the Ferguson affair that in a community that was over 60% black the police department was 90% white, most of whom commuted from St. Louis.

There was a whole racket in Ferguson where the system by which citations were processed was obfuscated so as to run up late charges. That way, even if a kid in Ferguson was cited for something petty, it could bankrupt his entire family, or drive the kid into prison.

Then there’s the New York City terry stops which targeted blacks disproportionately, even though the whites stopped were more likely to have contraband, more blacks were arrested because they stopped more blacks.

There’s the Chicago canine unites that had an over 90% false positive rate when sniffing Latin suspects. At this point detection dogs so consistently show false positive rates that they’re being challenged as a valid police tool at all.

Then there’s the asset forfeiture program that robs the public of more money than all the burglaries in the US.

Then there’s the false testimony culture that is expressed within the precincts. Officers share an entire slang about who is expected to lie to cover for whom by saying what. This isn’t a few guys who know how to wink and nudge each other, but a protocol consistent across the nation.

Then there’s the labs who were willfully faking positives of drug tests because doing so encouraged the precincts to take their lab work there. Then there’s the $2 field tests that often yield false positives, and the DoJ insists they should still be valid in court.

Then there’s the NSA searches which were tolerated only because they were limited to anti-terror. Now the results are passed on to local law enforcement.

Then there’s the labor unions, benign brotherhoods and fraternal orders who go into tantrums and outrage over every slightest effort to increase accountability or curb asset forfeitures. While I personally know two officers who really believe in serving the community, the resistance of the entire law enforcement sector implies they’re in it for the money and the free murder.

Then there’s our underfunded public defenders, and a ninety percent conviction rate within the legal system. We can safely say our penal system has more than a fifty percent rate of wrongfully convicted inmates, not that this can be proven, given the system tasked with such proof is corrupt from the law enforcement officers to the jurists. We have the largest prison population in the world, and the highest incarceration rate in the world. (We run neck-and-neck with the Republic of Seychelles at around 700/100,000 the next one down, St. Kitts, is at 600/100K. Russia, in which Putin openly imprisons dissenters, is at 450/100K. Also Human Rights Watch despises our prison conditions, finding them worse than some non-industrialized nations in Africa.)

We may want a justice system but we don’t have one. We may want law enforcement, but no law enforcement at all would be better than the alleged law enforcement sector we have today. If every cop quit tomorrow morning, the nation would actually be better off than it is.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Anecdotal and unsubstantiated.

Hello Attorney General Sessions, nice of you to stop by the TD comment section. While it’s nice to have such a prominent figure taking time out of their busy day to comment here, surely you’ve got more important things to be doing? Other multi-year ‘anecdotal’ investigations you could be busy ignoring?

Similarly, blaming the miniscule number of bad cops for the general distrust certain communities have towards the entire organization is unjust. Especially since about half of cops grew up/live in or near the neighborhoods they serve.

If the number of ‘bad cops’ was the minority, you might have a point, but they aren’t, so you don’t. A cop doesn’t have to directly abuse their position to be a ‘bad cop’, sitting back and doing nothing, or defending the actions of a corrupt cop also does the trick, and when you set the bar at that level the overwhelming majority of police in the US qualify, because while most of them might not be a threat to the public(financial, physical or otherwise) they don’t seem to have any interest in holding accountable those in their number who are.

When the ‘good’ police defend the bad and make it clear that they care more about their own than the public then they are no longer the ‘good’ cops, and they don’t get to complain when the public no longer trusts them.

Anonymous Coward says:

The whole argument is stupid, but “blue lives matter” is just a response to another stupid argument, which is “black lives matter” and the whole concept of “hate crimes”.

Hate crimes was created in response to a guy murdered when someone tied him to the back of their truck and dragged them through the street. Last time I checked, murdering someone by dragging them behind a truck is illegal, what does adding hate on to it do? If I punch you in the face because I hate Jews, why is that any worse (or different) if I am just an asshole and like to punch people in the face? Isn’t that also illegal? Should the reason I do something (outside of intent) make it any worse? If I rape black women, is it worse because I am doing it because I hate blacks vs. I just think black women are hot so I rape them? A perfect recent example is that some idiot was arrested for phoning in bomb threats to Jewish organizations. Before the arrest, the media talked about anti-Semitism, which is a hate crime. Once the suspect was arrested, turned out he was doing it to get back at an ex-girlfriend, so guess what, no hate crime. Of course, it is still illegal to phone in a bomb threat.

Consider this, hate crimes, blue lives matter, black lives matter, all of these try to make illegal what someone thinks, not what they do. Police shoot black people without reason? That is illegal. Punch someone in the face because you are a racist or don’t like “Nazi’s”? That is illegal. Making thought illegal is a very dangerous thing and something we should not be considering.

Fixing the system, yes. Punish actions, punish cops that do the wrong thing yes. Punish other cops, town councils and mayors that do the wrong thing? Yes.

Making thoughts and reasons illegal? No.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Wendy, are you any more or less dead if you are murdered by a man because you are a woman or because the man just wanted to shoot someone? If a black cop shoots a black person unjustly, is that ok because it wasn’t racism?

You have to deal with actions, not thoughts, because you can never truly know thoughts, and even if you do, it doesn’t change reality.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You have to deal with actions, not thoughts, because you can never truly know thoughts, and even if you do, it doesn’t change reality

So, for example, would you remove the notion of "perceived threat" and the question of whether such perception was "objectively reasonable" from determining qualified immunity for police, and base it solely on a material determination of whether someone did genuinely pose a threat?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“what does adding hate on to it do?”

It provides for great “Political Theater” a primary purpose for the edification of the stupid and ignorant voters. Now for government its Primary purpose is to use the new laws as a way to make more criminals when they need more boogeymen to scare up and to pad DA & Judge resumes as “tough on crime” future politicians.

So yea, the nature solution for most is that in order to fight racism or whatever ism or phobia du jour, you need to create illogical laws. It is literally a win-win for government and a lose-lose for citizens.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

While I do think hate crime laws are often redundant and can cause problems, this whole focus on “punishing thought” misses the mark for me.

Thought is already highly relevant to crime. For example, “remorse” plays into both sentencing and the parole process, and is even sometimes examined via forensic psychiatry. “Motive” and “malice aforethought” are critical to murder charges, with the latter being specifically enumerated as four different “states of mind”. And of course there is the entire world of “Not Criminally Responsible” which hinges almost entirely on a person’s mental capacity and state.

So while I think there’s plenty of room to debate the appropriateness, necessity and specific implementation of various Hate Crime laws, I don’t buy that just saying “you can’t have laws about thought!” is the be all and end all of the discussion.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Last time I checked, murdering someone by dragging them behind a truck is illegal, what does adding hate on to it do?

Well, that depends.

The thing is, hate crime laws are – or at least, when properly understood and implemented, should be – entirely about motivation and deterrence.

Say you have three people: A, B, and C.

A is left-handed; the other two are right-handed.

B hates left-handed people, and thinks they’re subhuman mongrels; the other two don’t feel that way. None of the three have any particular negative feelings about right-handed people.

Any of these people might decide that they hate one of the others for something specific, rather than over the question of handedness.

Now imagine a set of scales, representing the decision of whether or not to commit a crime against a particular person – for example, murder. The incentive from the specific hatred would be a weight on one side of these scales, tilting the decision towards committing the crime.

The laws against any given crime will – at least in theory – be designed to balance the scales, by adding enough weight to the other side of the scales that the decision will tilt the other direction. That weight comes partly in the form of rules which affect the likelihood of being caught and convicted, and partly in the form of penalties – the punishments for those convicted of the crime.

Those penalties will – at least in theory – be set at the level necessary to deter most people from committing the crime. In this case, that will be the level needed to prevent B from murdering C, or prevent A or C from murdering anybody.

But B’s hatred of left-handed people means that B has additional incentive to murder A; the weight on the "commit murder" side of the scales is heavier. That same level of deterrence will not necessarily be enough to prevent B from murdering A.

The idea of hate-crime laws is to add additional weight to the "don’t commit the crime" side of the scales, by increasing the deterrence factor, to match the additional incentive which is provided by the hatred.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What a load of crap.

If I kill someone unjustly, it doesn’t matter why I did that. Is A, B or C any less dead because they are murdered for a “better” reason?

Of course, there is a difference between murder and manslaughter, there can be more penalties because of some of the reasons, but the crime is the crime.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, they aren’t less dead because you did it for a different reason.

But the different reason means you have differing levels of incentive to do it, and those differing levels of incentive need differing levels of counter-incentive.

Hate-crime laws are an attempt to provide increased counter-incentive, to oppose the increased incentive provided by hatred.

You can disagree that that’s appropriate, but you should still recognize that that’s what they’re trying to do: reduce crime originating from extreme causes. Simply asserting that the argument doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter fails to counter the argument.

If the laws against murder, by themselves, are enough to keep you from murdering B and C, but are not enough to keep you from murdering A (because you hate left-handed people), how is increasing the penalties in an attempt to discourage you from murdering A a bad thing?

Anonymous Coward says:

“subsection of Americans who are completely free to remove their “cop” status at any time”

Tim, I don’t think you really mean this, but are not religious people who are discriminated against not free to remove their “religious” status at any time? Should they not have to do that? I think that statement weakens your argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Especially if the religion dictates that people who leave the faith be killed. I would say that someone who has been a cop for 15 years and feeds their family with that position, bases their identity on their position and could find it difficult to begin a new career makes it difficult to change jobs. Also, when it comes to rights, does something being difficult vs. easy make a difference?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In addition to the ‘one is easier to give up than another’ raised by Stephen, one’s religion is notably different than one’s job. Most people I would guess are more or less born into their religion in the sense that their parents are members and they are raised in it as a matter of course and there is no real choice as to whether or not they want to be a member until much later in life when they can decide whether nor not they want to continue to be a member.

Contrast that to a job, where you choose which job you want to take after (hopefully) careful consideration of what it entails and the requirements of the job.

You choose a job, you don’t really choose what you do or do not believe, so quiting a job isn’t really comparable to ‘quiting’ a religion.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: What economy are you living in?

Are you really trying to suggest that anyone has become a cop, an innately dangerous job but one with tons of perks, because of a lack of other options?

Because no. The people going into that profession did so intentionally, either from good or bad motives, but not because there were no fry cook positions at the diner.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

It is something endemic.

I was visiting a friend for lunch, and after, saw the preperations for a parade in the town square. The county high school has their basketball team in the state championships tonight at Georgia Tech. So we sat and watched.

Imagine my surprise when, along with 9 cop cars escorting the team bus, the ONLY decal on the bus itself was a big "back the blue" window sticker. Not even something for the team, but ‘support police officers without criticism’.
You think I’m kidding… I’m not

Anonymous Coward says:

Best way not to get killed by a cop? Don’t commit a crime, and when interacting with a cop, don’t resist arrest or get in an argument. Is that all that fucking hard?

Sure, you can get into an argument with a cop about them violating your rights, but you risk getting shot.

Best advise is when your rights are violated, shut your fucking mouth, take it and then go get a lawyer and sue.

If you don’t like that, good luck with that, because you yourself, with your actions, are increasing your risk of getting shot and having your case become the next media sensation. You will do a lot of good for the cause, although you won’t be around to see it.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "Don't commit a crime"

HAH! You apparently haven’t lived in the poorer neighborhoods of the US, or been a person of color. Or been in the vicinity of a crime as the same approximate build and sex of a suspect.

Once an officer has it in his mind you are guilty, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out what. You are committing crimes right now. Every American averages three felonies a day (and you might be surprised what is regarded as a felony).

So if an officer is wanting a collar or doesn’t like you defiling his beat, or wants to fuck your spouse, or wants that sweet, sweet car you are driving, you are, but for the grace of a small handful of decent judges, doomed to a few years in prison. Because they’ll make your life Hell no matter how clean you are.

No, the best way not to get killed by a cop: don’t be black. If you are black, stay off the streets. And even then someone will SWAT your house thanks to a false informant just out of spite.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cops go to high crime areas, doesn’t that just make sense? Is it surprising that stop and frisk takes place in heavily minority neighborhoods because those are typically high crime areas? You don’t see stop and frisk in gay neighborhoods, because those are typically low crime areas, and the gays would just enjoy it.

So cops focus their attention on high crime areas that are heavily populated by minorities, so of course the interactions can lead to criminals getting shot.

BLM should be focused on why black communities seem to be high crime areas instead of protesting against cops.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Did you really just suggest that gays enjoy getting assaulted by the police?

Part of the reason minority communities are high-crime areas, as investigations of Ferguson have informed us, is that the police go there and harass civilians with petty crimes. In Ferguson’s specific case it was part of a fining racket in which fines were compounded by making the warrant resolution process obtuse, and making it difficult for workers to appear when summoned.

Law enforcement can follow just about anyone and within ten minutes find a reason to detain them for something. And then according to the Department of Justice, anything can be probable cause, from being too calm to being too nervous.

Terry stops have been ruled time and again as a violation of fourth amendment rights. And we’ve seen how they’re used disproportionately against minorities. They’re not random stops in that a computer tags every 500 + RND (1000) head for a Terry stop. Essentially, the officer gets to choose who he wants to harass. And that’s the problem.

So…yeah, go easy on the simplified preconceptions.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: PS: Regarding sexuality

Gays just like partners of their own sex rather than of the opposite sex.

It’s bottoms in BDSM, specifically masochists that enjoy heavier degrees of stimulation, and then they tend to like specific things, and in a safe consensual setting.

There are rare incidents of people who like fearing for their life, and getting hit hard, but even they don’t want to be strangled to death under a jackboot, or shot in the back, which seems to be the kind of play preferred by malicious police officers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Did you really just suggest that gays enjoy getting assaulted by the police?

A statement of intent?

This is really sad that some in our society think this way. This is why some good comedians don’t play college campuses any more. Sinfield, Chris Rock and other really funny people won’t go to a college campus any more because people today all look for “intent”.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 A statement of intent

You seem to forget that we are living in an era in which white nationalism is being normalized and hate crimes against marginalized groups have accelerated.

So, no, while I can appreciate good comedy, even comedy about controversy, part of the art of craft is being able to joke about it without deriding those who are being marginalized. And yes, it’s tricky. Sometimes you have to know your audience.

Seinfeld and Chris Rock have, from time to time both been able to do exactly that. And Chris has intentionally trod up to the line. They know those risks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 A statement of intent

And yet he still won’t play on campus.

Uriel, would you believe that today is worse for blacks living under Slavery? Living under Jim Crow, even in the 60’s? No sane person would claim that.

Chris Rock and Seinfeld have not changed their “acts” besides updating them, they just don’t bother with college students because a minority of them have no fucking sense of humor and take everything as a life and death situation. That isn’t the real world, and if it is their real world, then they are living in a pretty sucky world.

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