Appeals Court Strips Immunity From Detectives Who Turned A Rape Report Into 18 Hours Of Terror For The Victim

from the blood-on-their-hands dept

This recent decision [PDF] by the First Circuit Court of Appeals details a law enforcement enabled nightmare — one that saw the plaintiff shot by the same person who had raped her earlier… and someone the police were supposed to be trying to locate. So much for the “Thin Blue Line.” The line never materialized here and, in fact, took affirmative steps to erase what little line there actually was.

There’s a lot to take in here. It goes from horrific to terrifying to cataclysmic in a hurry. And, according to these allegations — supported by officers’ own statements and reports — the detectives handling the case seemingly went out of their way to make things worse for the woman reporting a rape.

Here’s how it starts. And it’s hard to believe it gets worse from here. But it does.

At approximately 11:13 AM on July 15, 2015, Britany Irish reported to the Bangor Police Department that Anthony Lord, a former lover, had kidnapped and raped her repeatedly on the night of July 14, including at two vacant camps near Benedicta, Maine. The Bangor Police Department referred her to the MSP. MSP Sergeant Darrin Crane assigned Detectives Perkins and Fowler to the case and told the detectives that Lord was a registered sex offender. Around 2:00 PM, Sergeant Crane forwarded the detectives a copy of Brittany Irish’s statement to the Bangor Police Department. The statement said that Lord had threatened to “cut her from ear to ear.”

Irish met with detectives twice more that day. At a 3:05 meeting, she told the detectives she feared Anthony Lord would become violent if he found out she had spoken to police. The detectives agreed, telling her not to let Lord know she had spoken with them, asking her to avoid talking about it if she happened to speak to Lord again. She also told them she had moved her kids to her boyfriend’s mother’s house in another town for their safety.

The detectives followed up on her statement and found evidence of the rape at one of the sites she had mentioned. She gave the officers another statement the next day, introducing more evidence of Lord’s violence and violent threats.

On July 16, Irish made a second written statement to the detectives which said that Lord had threated to “cut [her] from ear to ear,” to abduct Irish’s children, to abduct and “torture” Hewitt to find out “the truth” about what was happening between Irish and Hewitt, to kill Hewitt if Hewitt was romantically involved with Irish, and to weigh down and throw Irish into a lake.

You’d think this would have spurred officers into action and perhaps motivate them to protect Irish until Lord could be located. Nothing could be further from the unfortunate truth.

Despite these repeated death and other threats and their knowledge that Lord was a registered sex offender, the defendants did not, as was customary, check the sex offender registry to find Lord’s address or run a criminal background check. Such searches would have revealed that he was on probation and had an extensive record of sexual and domestic violence. The detectives did not contact Lord’s probation officer at this time or request a probation hold, which could have been used to detain Lord and is simpler to obtain than an arrest warrant.

Then, despite telling Irish to avoid mentioning her meeting with police, the detectives took it upon themselves to notify the rapist of this fact.

At 6:17 PM on July 16, Detective Perkins called Lord while Detective Fowler listened. When Lord did not answer, Detective Perkins did not hang up. Rather, he left a voicemail for Lord on his cellphone. In that voicemail, Detective Perkins identified himself as a state police detective and asked Lord to return his call. Detective Perkins did not ask Lord to come meet with him. At that point, the defendants had made no effort to locate Lord, much less to apprehend him.

In court, Detective Perkins admitted it would be “logical” for Lord to assume Irish had told them about the rape and kidnapping. Why this assumption wasn’t made until the detective was sued was left unexplained.

Things began moving quickly. There wasn’t much activity by the law enforcement officers, but Anthony Lord was plenty busy.

At 8:05 PM on July 16 — about an hour and forty-five minutes after he had left the voicemail — Detective Perkins received notice of a “possible suspicious” fire in Benedicta, the town where the detectives had found evidence that Lord had raped Irish at a vacant camp. Believing that Lord may have set the fire, the detectives drove to the site of the fire. At 9:24 PM, Brittany Irish called the detectives and told them it was her parents’ barn, roughly fifteen feet from their home, which was on fire. Irish also told the detectives that someone had heard Lord say as he left his uncle’s house (in Crystal, Maine) earlier that evening that “I am going to kill a fucker.” Irish told the detectives that she was afraid for her children’s safety, planned to stay at her mother’s home in Benedicta, and would meet the detectives there.

It wasn’t until after 10 pm — four hours after the detectives had let Lord know cops were looking for him — that the officers actually began looking for him. A bulletin was put out to “stop and hold” Lord if an officer happened to come across him. The bulletin contained a warning that Lord might be dangerous.

Some help eventually arrived. But it was late and not that much help.

Around 10:35 PM, Sergeant Crane sent two MSP troopers to Lord’s mother’s house in Houlton, Maine, which is about forty miles from Benedicta. Those officers did not call Lord’s mother’s house but chose to drive there. There is no evidence that these officers ever left Houlton or came to Benedicta to help look for Lord.

There was more escalation.

Shortly thereafter, Irish received a phone call from her brother, who told her that Lord, upon receiving the voicemail, was irate and said that “someone’s gonna die tonight.” Irish immediately told the detectives about this death threat and asked for protection.

Thin blue line extra thin rn

The officers left the scene and no officer remained to protect her and the others.

Another hour passed before anyone pulled up Lord’s criminal record or checked in with his probation officer for Lord’s possible whereabouts.

Another plea for help was made.

Around midnight, Brittany Irish contacted Detective Perkins and asked again for an officer to come to her mother’s residence. Detective Perkins understood that she wished for an officer to protect her and her family in the event that Lord returned to her mother’s house.

And, again, no one helped.

Detective Perkins did not relay the request to his superior at this time, and no officers were sent there.

Instead, more time was wasted by trained professionals.

At 12:30 AM on July 17, four officers, including Crane, Fowler, and Perkins, went to Lord’s uncle’s house in Crystal, Maine, about twenty miles from Benedicta, to look for Lord. They did so despite having been told that Lord had left his uncle’s house earlier that evening and their suspicions Lord had set the fire in Benedicta. No explanation was given for why they did not call the uncle to see if Lord was there.

Un-

At about 1:00 AM, Crane, Fowler, and Perkins met in a parking lot in Crystal, where Detective Perkins finally told Sergeant Crane about Irish’s request for protection. Sergeant Crane told the detectives he would not provide protection to the plaintiffs because they did not have “the manpower.” The detectives did not tell Irish about this decision until an hour later. They had three hours earlier, however, alerted all officers to the fact that Lord was considered dangerous.

fucking-

At about the same time as this parking lot meeting, Detective Perkins requested that the Bangor Police Department send an officer to Acadia Hospital in Bangor to look for Lord. The request was not that the officer simply call the hospital to find out if Lord was there. There is no evidence as to whether the state police could have requested the Bangor police to provide protection to Irish.

believable.

Also around 2:00 AM, Detectives Perkins and Fowler met Detective Jonah O’Rourke and Detective Trooper Corey Hafford at a gas station in Sherman, Maine, about ten miles from the Irish home, to search the dumpster for evidence of the original rape. Not one of these four officers was sent to protect Irish at her mother’s home.

Having failed to locate Lord or protect Irish, the officers decided to call it a night.

Sergeant Crane admitted that he did not believe there were any state police resources in the area between 3:00 and 4:00 AM. No one told the plaintiffs that the detectives, let alone all police units, had left the area.

Her mother called the State Police and was lied to.

Around 3:00 or 4:00 AM, Kimberly Irish, Brittany Irish’s mother, contacted the MSP through their “800 number.” She said that she would like to come with Brittany and Hewitt in her car to the MSP parking lot to remain there overnight for protection. An unidentified MSP employee advised her not to come to the station, that leaving her house “would be a dangerous mistake,” and that the MSP had “officers in the vicinity” who could respond quickly to any problems that arose. A jury could find that these statements were not true, and that each piece of that advice was relied on by the plaintiffs and increased the risk to them. Kimberly Irish never saw any police presence near her residence, despite keeping watch through the night.

Less than an hour later, Anthony Lord attacked a man and stole his truck and guns. He arrived at the house Irish was staying in and attempted to follow through with his threats — the same threats Irish had twice reported to law enforcement.

Lord fired one round with Mayo’s shotgun at the front door to break the lock, which hit Brittany Irish in the arm. The door remained locked, so Lord kicked down the door. Lord entered the house, saw Hewitt [Irish’s boyfriend] on the couch, and shot Hewitt nine times while Brittany Irish watched. Brittany ran from the room and into the bathroom to hide.

With the help of her mother (Kimberly), Brittany escaped the house. During this escape, her mother was shot in the arm. The terror did not end there.

Moments later, Brittany Irish was able to jump into the truck of Carleton Eddy, a passing motorist. Lord saw her get into the truck and managed to jump into the bed of the truck as Eddy began to pull away. From the bed of the truck, Lord shot Eddy three times in the neck and then pulled Brittany out of the truck and took her back to the pickup truck he had stolen from Mayo. They drove away. The police did not free Irish or apprehend Lord until around 2:00 PM on July 17, about nine hours after the shooting.

This footnote adds even more horror.

Around 6:20 AM, Lord and Irish arrived at a woodlot in Lee, Maine. Lord and Irish encountered Kevin Tozier and Clayton McCarthy, and Lord asked them if he could borrow one of their cellphones. One of the men lent his cellphone to Lord. Tozier noticed Irish’s wound and asked about it. Lord responded by fatally shooting Tozier in the chest several times. As McCarthy ran away, Lord shot him too.

So does this one:

Lord then stole a pulp truck, abandoned it in Haynesville, Maine, stole an ATV, and travelled with Irish to Weston, Maine. In Weston, he stole a Ford F-150 truck and drove to Houlton. At some point during this flight, Lord raped Irish again. The police finally apprehended Lord around 2:00 PM when his uncle reported that Lord was in Houlton.

With a bunch of people dead or wounded and the suspect in custody, the police finally decided something needed protection: the evidence.

Only after Lord’s capture did the MSP post an officer at the Irish home. They did so for two days to protect the crime scene.

Unbelievably, the district court found plenty of settled law and still decided the law was unsettled. It granted the officers qualified immunity, claiming there was no clearly established precedent that might have clued officers in that this sort of shitshow might violate rights and harm people officers are supposed to care about protecting.

As to qualified immunity, the court reasoned that the existence of the state-created danger doctrine was not clearly settled law in the First Circuit because this court had never found the theory applicable to the specific facts presented by the case before it. Recognizing that a consensus of persuasive authority from other circuits was sufficient to clearly establish the doctrine, it nevertheless declined to hold that the doctrine was clearly established.

The detectives argued no circuit precedent “warned” them that acting irresponsibly and recklessly while handling an investigation of a violent criminal would result in them being successfully sued. Wrong, says the First Circuit. There is precedent.

The officers argue that because the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits have rejected the state-created danger doctrine, the doctrine cannot be clearly established. Again, as a proposition of law this is wrong. A circuit split does not foreclose a holding that the law was clearly established, as long as the defendants could not reasonably believe that we would follow the minority approach. After Rivera, the defendants could not reasonably have believed that we would flatly refuse to apply the state-created danger doctrine to an appropriate set of facts.

[…]

Rivera warned that if an officer performed a non-essential affirmative act which enhanced a danger, a sufficient causal connection existed between that act and the plaintiff’s harm, and the officer’s actions shocked the conscience, the officer could be held liable for placing a witness or victim in harm’s way during an investigation.

The court goes on to point out the detectives’ arguments are wrong in more than one way.

Defendants also argue that they are immune from suit because no factually similar cases alerted them that their conduct was impermissible. This too is incorrect. As we have just said, a general proposition of law may clearly establish the violative nature of a defendant’s actions, especially when the violation is egregious. […] Not only is the argument wrong, but its premise is wrong; there are factually similar earlier cases.

The earlier cases are directly on point.

These cases gave the defendants notice that they could be held liable for violating the Due Process Clause if, after receiving a report of criminal activity, they effectively alerted the suspect that he was under investigation in a manner that notified the suspect who the reporting individual was, despite knowing that the suspect was likely to become violent toward that person. Monfils, 165 F.3d at 513-18. The officers were also on notice that failing to take steps to mitigate the danger they had created and misleading the victim about the level of police protection she had could likewise give rise to a constitutional violation under the state-created danger doctrine. Kennedy, 493 F.3d at 1063-65.

This will go back to the lower court, in front of a jury, with no qualified immunity shield to deflect culpability. Presumably jurors will be far more “reasonable” than these law enforcement officers were during their handling of Irish’s rape allegations.

On this record, a reasonable jury could conclude that as much occurred here. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants, even in the face of Irish’s expressed fear that Lord would react violently, contacted him in a manner that a reasonable jury could find notified him that Irish had reported him to the police. The plaintiffs also allege that the defendants failed to convey her request for protection to their superiors for several hours and further failed to inform her in a timely fashion that the request had been denied. A jury could also conclude that the defendants played a role in the decision to withdraw all resources from the area without telling the plaintiffs that they had done so, thereby allowing the plaintiffs to believe more protection was available than was actually true. Finally, the defendants’ apparent utter disregard for police procedure could contribute to a jury’s conclusion that the defendants conducted themselves in a manner that was deliberately indifferent to the danger they knowingly created, and that they thereby acted with the requisite mental state to fall within the ambit of the many cases holding that a violation of the Due Process Clause requires behavior that “shocks the conscience.”

It’s the last part of the paragraph that should sting the most: “apparent utter disregard for police procedure.” This is their job. It’s what they’re supposed to do. And when someone came to them for help and relied on their expertise and knowledge, they did more than let her down. They put her in harms’ way. Repeatedly. When most people suck at their job, they inconvenience employers or customers. When cops suck, people die.

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Comments on “Appeals Court Strips Immunity From Detectives Who Turned A Rape Report Into 18 Hours Of Terror For The Victim”

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56 Comments
James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Thrown out by the Supreme Court in 5,4,3...

Well…..no.

The supreme court ruled that law enforcement did not hold a general duty of care to protect citizens. However if you read the ruling you can see an attempt to set a higher bar for assigning the responsibility for the actions of a criminal to police inaction or indirect action but can find there is room for situations in which police action directly creates a specific, articulate, and immediate danger.

So while they had no general duty to protect her from a sex offender or even a rapist who had decided to track down and kill a victim generally, the actions of the officers created a specific danger to specific individuals in the immediate future that reasonably would not have existed, in ways that violate every policy on the books to prevent this crap. That is why the arguments have largely rested on Qualified Immunity and not a lack of liability entirely. They created liability and now need to shield themselves from liability.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Police as the Cavalry in fiction

Way back when, before the dark times, before the Empire, I wrote a blog piece about the police in fiction and what to do when the police can too easily be called in, now that everyone has a cell phone.

Nearly all fictional worlds have a kinder, more competent police service than that of the US (and much of the industrialized world) it seems, though a murder in Cabbot Cove could easily go from a cozy mystery into a dystopian thriller once the police arrives in force and starts detaining, searching and confiscating goods in full force.

Fictional precincts are big enough to include shrewd detectives, over-eager killers and even a young-but-competent deputy to round up a Jason-hunting party (or my favorite, fly in a gunship to dispatch the monster). These days, I’m not sure if the real-world precincts in the US could manage two of those three.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Strains belief

"This story read like what I’d imagine from a newspaper article in the aftermath of one of Stephen King’s novels…"

What makes Stephen King so damn scary is that most of the truly unpleasant asshats in his novels are taken from real-life experiences he’s had. He just takes it that one step further and makes you look deeper. Pennywise, Leland Gaunt, Cujo…the supernatural is just window dressing, because in most of his novels the really frightening monster is your smiling, friendly neighbor.

And yeah, this story is one of the grimmer ones. The only thing missing is a grinning clown in the background for it to be something right out of "IT" or "Needful Things". It is Maine, after all.

This should have been more shocking. Really. After Henry Davis, Jacob Blake, George Floyd, etc, etc, etc…this is just one more atrocity. An attempt to exhume the coffin of police credibility to hammer another nail in it post burial.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Do you want people yelling “all cops are bastards”? Because this is how you get people yelling “all cops are bastards”.

What’s worse is that a court was willing to let these assholes off the hook for everything that happened because of their reckless disregard for police procedure and, I assume, everyone but themselves. The cops may be bastards, but the courts aren’t much better.

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Upstream (profile) says:

A drop in the bucket

This is a good example of why getting rid of the travesty of QI should be considered just a first, small, baby step toward holding bad cops accountable. This ruling only allows a civil suit to go forward. Even if the cops lose, which is far from certain, any monetary damages that are awarded will be paid by the taxpayers, not the bad cops. The cops will likely go on with their lives and careers as though nothing happened. In order to effect real change and have real accountability, we need to be able to have cops such as these criminally charged, with several serious felonies, just as any non-LEO citizen who engaged in such behavior would be. Only when cops face serious time in the same prisons with other vicious criminals, some of whom those cops may have helped put in those prisons, will we have any real, meaningful deterrent to the kind of egregious behavior described in this article.

Koby (profile) says:

Protect Yourself

There’s a saying along the lines of "police aren’t bodyguards; they’re just there to draw the chalk outline afterwards".

Fortunately, I’m able to exercise my 2nd amendment rights, and you should too. The police probably won’t be nearby to defend you when you really need it. Don’t rely on the police to defend you from a psychopath. Use your rights and ensure that this sort of thing cannot happen to you or your family.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The police in this case had ample knowledge of the past of the man who committed all this violence. They had knowledge that he had made threats against the woman who accused him of raping her. They had knowledge that, after they willingly informed him of their investigation into the rape (which is exactly what they told the woman not to do), he made further threats and was likely responsible for a related arson.

And they did nothing with that knowledge.

Yes, don’t count on the police to help you. But don’t act like this was a situation where the cops absolutely couldn’t have done far more in this case than the damn near nothing they did. There’s not relying on the police, then there’s wondering why the fuck we even have them if they’re only going to be Captain Hindsight cosplayers.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Protect Yourself

"The police probably won’t be nearby to defend you when you really need it."

So "defund the police" really doesn’t go far enough by half, you mean?

It’s a wonder. The rest of the western world may have issues with their cops now and then but the US police in particular keeps demonstrating actions you’d expect if you interbred a sicilian crime family with the Keystone Cops.

Annonymouse says:

Re: Re: Protect Yourself

How about just use your second ammendment rights to the fullest and set up a local militia with all the powers and responsibilities associated with such
Responsibilities like suppression of organized gangs of theives and murderers. As long as you can get the governor to sign off on the paperwork you are good to go.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: organized gangs of thieves and murderers

This seems like a way to set yourself up to gun down some minority teenagers trying to survive in US poverty.

If you really want to make a dent in the woes of the United States, you’ll go on a hunting spree of white collar criminals. That’s what a sporting man would do.

Even Batman doesn’t go after white-collar crime very much. It’s easier to punch out street thugs in ghetto alleys.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Protect Yourself

Most of our violent crime are not from psychopaths or street thugs but domestic incidents, and assuming you actually care about the person you’re fighting with (whether or not the abuse is mutual or one-sided), a gun in the house is only going to elevate the risk of escalation.

We’ve made vast improvements in reducing the escalation of domestic violence by providing shelters for victims. Also now that women have their own jobs and means, they have the capability of taking a night away in a hotel or at a friend’s. Often a mutual time-out can make that difference.

But the police are as much shit at investigating crime as they are at preventing it, instead harassing bystanders for municipal infractions (and then escalating the incident themselves) instead of hunting and capturing murderers. Compared to the 1950s and 1960s, our homicides have vastly reduced, but they also have gone from a 90% clear rate to about 35%.

And to be fair, when a domestic incident does result in homicide, it’s generally very easy to clear. Figuring out who killed whom is not that difficult.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Let’s not go that far. I’ve likely called for violent retribution against total bastards before, and with the kind of glee that would frankly embarass me right now. And although I’ve tried hard to move past that thinking, I can’t say that I’ve avoided such thoughts altogether. So yeah, not exactly walkin’ on water over here — just tryin’ to be better today than I was yesterday.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Bruno's girlfriend

Yeah, while it might feel like just desserts for the occasional cold-blooded child killer to end up as Bubba’s bitch, generally it’s the young kids busted on drug charges that end up someone’s boy toy. The thing is, we treat it as part of the punishment (with even Spongebob Squarepants making prison rape jokes) even though it’s more that we just want to forget about those on the inside, whether they’re getting fucked by Nunzio, by Sgt. McNally or (most likely right now) by COVID-19.

Our prisons, many of them private, are comparable to gulags and concentration camps. That’s not hyperbole.

Funny thing, the same high rate of sexual assault in our penal system (much of it by guards) also applies to mental health institutions that have inpatients. It’s one of the reasons I don’t feel safe reporting suicidal ideation when cashing in becomes too tempting. Most professional therapists have a duty to report if I’m a danger to myself or others, but what will they do? They’ll lock me in a facility where one third of the patients are victims of some kind of violence, often sexual. Often by the staff (and not just the orderlies). Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of place where I’ll could relax and come to my senses.

Learning to give a fuck about the black-bottom least of us is one of the many many steps the United States has to make in regaining its soul. If it chooses to go that route rather than go full-on Nazi purge mode.

But this time the Allies may let the nation burn for a while before they intervene.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Bruno's girlfriend

"Our prisons, many of them private, are comparable to gulags and concentration camps. That’s not hyperbole."

Fun fact in that regard; China’s prison population (including estimates made by international observers on incarcerated dissidents) is 1/4 of that of the US per capita.

Which means that at 655 per 100,000 citizens the US holds four times as many in permanent prison population than China does with an estimated 164.

What part of this is the "land of the free" when the biggest known ultra-authoritarian dictatorship in the world puts about less than a quarter that many people in prison?

"Learning to give a fuck about the black-bottom least of us is one of the many many steps the United States has to make in regaining its soul. If it chooses to go that route rather than go full-on Nazi purge mode."

As I keep saying what the 2020 election showed to the smarter international observers was that one in three americans would be just fine with a full-on nazi purge mode. Trump was just that one unmistakable symptom.

Biden’s talk about reconciliation shows that rather than address the deep-rooted divide the democrat response is, as usual, to forget about it for four years of holding a hand in the air across the aisle and having it spat on…until the GOP produces another president and the republicans try to push the boundaries a few more steps into full dystopia.

"But this time the Allies may let the nation burn for a while before they intervene."

Here’s a question to ask before that; After the betrayal of the kurds, you think the other old US wartime friends would dare trusting America to have their back, or give a toss about what happens to it?

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Bruno's girlfriend

I generally agree with your post, but there is one other point that should be made:

While the US prison population is outrageously high, whether expressed as raw numbers or per capita, the US almost certainly does not execute or "disappear" nearly as many people as China. While reliable data on just how many people China executes or "disappears" each year is impossible to obtain, phrases such as "many thousands" and "more than the rest of the countries in the world combined" show up regularly in reports on the subject. Were this not the case, the disparity in prison populations would not be nearly so dramatic, and might even skew in the other direction.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 How many are executed in the field by law enforcers?

Police-involved Homicide is supposed to be tracked by the FBI and reported to the BJS. They’ve been required to do this by congressional order since the late 20th century and have failed. Some non-profit organizations do their best to link coroner reports or obituaries to police incidents, and since 2015 (triggered by the Ferguson unrest) some news agencies have been keeping track as best as they could. The Washington Post running total converges on about a thousand a year.

But other reports conflict with their count, and sometimes incidents not counted in one database doesn’t land in the other databases.

Then there are parts of the nation where law enforcement is very good at keeping police-involved violence quiet, so it doesn’t land in any online reports. So when it’s all totaled up the range is somewhere fuzzy between 1200 and 2000 a year.

So I use the approximation of about four a day. Four people a day die to police violence, most of them unarmed and compliant.

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 How many are executed in the field by law enforcers?

Yeah, our government and it’s agents kill a lot of people every year, but I still think China has us beat, by far. You have to remember that the estimates of government killings in China are just that, estimates. While our cops manage to cover up a lot of their killings, or make them appear justified, I tend to think that the same sh*t surely happens in China, but probably on a much grander scale. Think orders of magnitude. I doubt there is any way to get even an educated guess of those numbers. China is still one of the more closed and secretive countries in the world these days. Sure, you can do business there, and have all your products made there, and go there as a tourist (at least in the Before Times), but don’t even think of looking behind the curtain.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 How many are executed in the field by law enforcers?

"I tend to think that the same sht surely happens in China, but probably on a much grander scale. Think orders of magnitude."*

…or not. Proportion is a thing. There’s plenty of abuse carried out in China, true enough, but if we’re talking only about the parts where law enforcement actually flat-out murders someone then China would have to off 5000 citizens a year just to achieve proportional parity with the US.

It’s unfortunate we don’t have good numbers, either from the US or from China, about assault, extortion and harrassment. At least when it comes to dead people we can count the bodies and extrapolate from there…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Bruno's girlfriend

"the US almost certainly does not execute or "disappear" nearly as many people as China. "

We have hard data for the US. Not so much for China and the infamous "black jails" are yet another massive concern. With China being about four times as populous as the US, however, they’d need to slaughter some 5000 people every year off the record just to obtain proportional parity with the US.

"…phrases such as "many thousands" and "more than the rest of the countries in the world combined" show up regularly in reports on the subject."

There’s good reason to doubt those assertions. Many thousands? Sure. More than the rest of the world combined? That’s not really given. With China’s population of 1,4 billion, the number China needs to black bag before achieving parity with US statistics is 5000 per year.
There are some truly nasty incidents in recent years in dictatorships, rogue states and war-riven hellholes pushing the top end here. The top 6 offending nations when it comes to law enforcement killing people tally, combined, 18500-19000 people. That’s, in descending order; Brazil, Venezuela, Philippines, India, Syria, and the US. That’s a lot of people.

After that we’re left with the prison population data of the US still being about twice the proportional amount compared to China, after the estimates by international observers have been added.

I can’t repeat it often enough – that we even have to guess which party is worse when one of the parties is still the nominal leader of the free world is…I don’t even have the words.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Murder is better

After reading of similar events in the past: I theorize that officers (fed and state) prefer a witness be murdered in many cases. The reason would be simple: it is easier to get a life sentence conviction for murder than (in this case) what they probably thought to be a he/she said rape case.

It’s otherwise hard to see why — as in this case — officers so frequently clue in perpetrators about talking witnesses…and then leave those witnesses swinging in the breeze, without protection.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Victims are problematic

It’s only in the late 20th century that we acknowledged living victims of violent crimes in the first place. Given violent crimes were, well, crimes against the state rather than a civil dispute, the victim herself (himself — especially himself) would typically be ignored.

The whole victims rights movement started to secure care and recompense for harm done before it turned into an engine to deprive criminals of rights justified by revenge.

These days, police still don’t know what to do with victims, well, as this story demonstrates.

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LostInTheWild says:

Cops playing in the garbage while....

This is crazy… Like so much these days, but I digress. I went through the Police Academy in my state but fortunately figured out I really didn’t want to be a cop and found a better career path. It is repeatedly and forcefully hammered into our heads in the academy that when there is an ongoing danger you treat the danger first, over anything else. A good example of this would be an active shooter (AS) situation. If you arrive on the scene of an AS you proceed to the shooter and ignore everything else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a classroom of slaughtered children or a ticking time bomb you have to remove the shooter. You do this so it’s safe not only for you but also so it’s safe to provide care to victims, defuse a bomb or collect evidence. The idea that these cops were nearby looking for evidence in a dumpster while the danger is lurking out there somewhere is beyond the pale (or were these cops using this dumpster and the nearby gas station as a convenient location to shoot the shit until their shifts were over). It’s maddening that QI is still a thing.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: TV isnt true

US television has been deluged for decades with copaganda, mostly police procedurals and forensic science porn. I remember the GCPD in Gotham, an allegedly corrupt police department was presented as more ethical and responsible than what we had seen from law enforcement during the Ferguson Unrest. In fact, if the corruption in the precinct was as we saw it during the series, it would be the least corrupt in the US.

I’d then observe years later after the nationwide George Floyd protests that Batman seems to dress as a monster and go about punching thugs to feel better about his parents. But he’s too pro-establishment — invested in a system that produces punchable thugs — to actually go after white collar criminals or change the system so that our impoverished are less desperate to get a leg up.

Batman may become obsolete along with the police.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: TV isnt true

"Batman may become obsolete along with the police."

I read a webnovel once where the protagonist tried to describe Batman to a person from an alternate reality; "We have this myth about a warrior who dresses up as a bat and goes around punching poor people…"
To which that person responds; "That’s a terrible myth".

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