Deputy Wants Immunity After Breaking Bones, Tearing Ligaments Of Suspect During Arrest; Appeals Court Quickly Shuts Him Down

from the officer-still-believes-no-'excess'-in-this-use-of-force dept

This was an extraordinarily-fast resolution to an excessive force lawsuit, especially considering it took a trip to the appeals court.

The culprit here is Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Burgess (presumably no relation except for the ultraviolence). Burgess works for Techdirt favorite Sheriff Grady Judd, a man who's more showboat than sheriff and who has frequently mistaken his Florida office for an episode of "To Catch a Predator."

Burgess helped "effect" the arrest of a man who was peacefully going about the business of being arrested. The suspect was ordered to spit out the cigarette he was smoking while he was being cuffed. He turned his head and did so, and the spit cigarette allegedly grazed the sleeve of Deputy Burgess -- whom the suspect hadn't seen approaching from behind him.

This didn't sit well with Burgess, who then interrupted the handcuffing of the suspect by throwing him to the ground in an extremely violent manner.

Deputy Burgess then grabbed Mr. Ramirez by his torso and took Mr. Ramirez to the ground, severely injuring Mr. Ramirez’s right leg and scraping Mr. Ramirez’s face on the road. Mr. Ramirez’s hands were in the air when he was thrown to the ground. Mr. Ramirez testified that the gun was in his face throughout the incident, until he was taken down. Deputy Burgess held Mr. Ramirez on the ground, with his knee on Mr. Ramirez’s spine, and handcuffed Mr. Ramirez. Deputy McLeod then put his foot on Mr. Ramirez’s head. Mr. Ramirez was held on the ground until a police vehicle was brought to the scene. Mr. Ramirez’s tibia was shattered by the takedown, and his face was bleeding, bruised and swollen. Additionally, Mr. Ramirez has tendons and ligaments in his leg that are torn beyond repair as a result of this incident.
Burgess tried for immunity, claiming the use of force was justified and not excessive given the circumstances. The court disagreed.
When Deputy Burgess used force to effectuate the arrest here, Mr. Ramirez had already stopped moving, had surrendered, was obeying the deputies' commands, and posed no threat to the safety of the officers. In fact, by taking Ramirez to the ground, Deputy Burgess interrupted another officer, Deputy McLeod, who was handcuffing Mr. Ramirez. Ramirez was being arrested for a misdemeanor offense, domestic violence – battery. The undisputed facts show that Ramirez followed every command the deputies gave him, including the command to spit the cigarette out. Ramirez could not use his hands to take the cigarette out of his mouth because his hands were either in the air or being held behind his back from the time he was initially stopped until the takedown. There are no allegations that Mr. Ramirez was actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee. Ramirez did not attempt to fight, kick, hit, or swing at the deputies. He was compliant with the deputies’ commands. The evidence, in the light most favorable to Ramirez, indicates that Ramirez did not pose a threat to the safety of the officers or others.

A reasonable law enforcement officer in this situation would not believe that anything more than de minimis force was warranted. Yet, Deputy Burgess used force sufficient to break bones and tear ligaments. That force was excessive.
And because the court found the force excessive, away went Burgess' immunity.
The right to be free of excessive force by law enforcement officers during an arrest is clearly established. Because Deputy Burgess’ conduct violated a clearly established constitutional right of which a reasonable person would have known, he is not entitled to qualified immunity.

Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, the cigarette grazed the sleeve of Deputy Burgess’ uniform. Deputy Burgess was not injured by the cigarette and there is no evidence that this action amounted to a level of resistance that made breaking Mr. Ramirez’s leg reasonable – particularly in light of the fact that it was Deputy Burgess who instructed Mr. Ramirez to spit out the cigarette in the first place.
Judd's office appealed the decision. This appeal was swiftly dismissed by the 11th Circuit Court.
This appeal stems from a citizen-police encounter. Defendant Burgess, an officer in the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, contends that the District Court erred in denying him qualified immunity as to plaintiff Carlos Ramirez’s claim, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that Burgess used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment in arresting him on the night of July 28, 2010. We disagree. Taking the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to Ramirez, we conclude that a reasonable jury could find that Burgess used excessive force as Ramirez contends. AFFIRMED.
This is the entirety of the opinion. Very few unpublished opinions run more than a couple of pages at the most, but this unpublished opinion runs only four sentences, and that's if you include "AFFIRMED." This is a swift booting that defines the term "dismissive." One almost can see the eyeroll that accompanied this quick review of the facts. Being an appeals court judge means spending time on the weakest of appeals, simply because every appeal must be looked at. There's nothing in this one, though, and the court only wastes the number of words it absolutely has to in order to send it back where it came from.




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  • identicon
    David, 4 Aug 2015 @ 11:41pm

    Prisons are overfull

    So instead of sticking the criminals in prisons, we stick them in uniforms and give them batches. Unfortunately, that still does not keep them off the streets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:25am

    If this is how they treat someone who /isn't/ putting up a fight...

    Broken leg, bruised bloody and battered face, permanent muscle damage, and how does the cop in question and his precinct respond?

    By claiming that he didn't use excessive force.

    Just think about what they are claiming here. They're honestly arguing that broken bones and permanent bodily harm is seen by at the very least one precinct as acceptable, for the 'heinous' crime of unintentionally spitting a cigarette in the general direction of an officer.

    Yet again the police show why you would have to be an utter fool to trust them, or even want them anywhere near you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:24am

      Re: If this is how they treat someone who /isn't/ putting up a fight...

      Well, you can't blame the officer for feeling treated unjustly hard for having already to appear before court because of broken bones and teared ligaments in response to spitting out a cigarette when other officers do not even get indicted for strangling a man to death when selling loose cigarettes.

      If all policemen were equal before the law, he should be able to break at least a dozen more people's bones before being inconvenienced by a court appearance.

      At any rate, the appeals court stated that a reasonable jury might find the use of force here excessive, but that does not mean that the plaintiff will be able to avail himself of a reasonable jury.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:53am

        Re: Re: If this is how they treat someone who /isn't/ putting up a fight...

        I really wish that was more sarcasm than poe, but at this point it honestly wouldn't surprise me if a great many cops shared that very thought process.

        "What's a few broken bones and torn muscles, he could have gunned the guy down, and anyway, he deserved what he got for spitting a cigarette in the direction of a cop."

        As for the last bit, here's hoping for a sane jury, one that's not blinded by a badge and willing to overlook a crime because of it.

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        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: If this is how they treat someone who /isn't/ putting up a fight...

          Of course, what the court neglected to mention, was that disobeying a deputy's order is generally considered resisting, and to therefore justify broken bones and permanent muscle damage...

          The guy with the cigarette was damned if he obeyed and damned if he didn't.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re: If this is how they treat someone who /isn't/ putting up a fight...

        A reasonable law enforcement officer in this situation would not believe that anything more than de minimis force was warranted.
        Obviously, the court doesn't keep up with the news. Either that, or the definition of "reasonable" no longer connotes such ideas as 'average', 'normal', or 'majority'.

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  • icon
    Kaemaril (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:37am

    appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

    That turned out really well :)

    I wonder why the court didn't want that appeal published? Is that a regular thing for the court of appeal eleventh circuit?

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    • icon
      Dan (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 3:46am

      Re: appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

      It's been changing in recent years, but it's still pretty common for courts to only publish opinions that have some actual legal analysis. A four-sentence smackdown, satisfying as it is, doesn't have any real precedential value.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 5 Aug 2015 @ 3:54am

        Re: Re: appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

        So [DO NOT PUBLISH] should be considered a filing instruction rather than a sealing order?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Manabi (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 6:11am

          Re: Re: Re: appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

          Sealing is entirely different, that's when it's a secret decision and closed to anyone beyond the participants knowing about it. Unpublished decisions are simply decisions unavailable for citation in other cases, as the court deems them to have insufficient precedential value.

          Basically all it means is "hey, this isn't worth citing, so don't do so".

          Now there is some controversy about unpublished decisions, but it's not meant to be secret in the same way that sealing a decision is. And this particular one would be uncontroversial, since it's just a simple and short upholding of the prior decision (which can be cited).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 6:12am

          Re: Re: Re: appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

          In this context, "publish" means "include in the court's reporter", which historically were the bound volumes of significant decisions. Wether it's digital or printed now, there is still an official publisher of the reporter, who establishes the official pagination and line numbering of each decision, which is used by citations in later decisions.

          A "do not publish" decision has (in the court's opinion) no value as legal precedent. They got it right in this case.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 6:59am

      Re: appeal : [DO NOT PUBLISH]

      wonder why the court didn't want that appeal published

      It's fairly common. They figure that it does not decide any interesting legal issues and will not offer much guidance beyond the case at hand.

      Since they charged through all the F.2d numbers and in just a few years are well up in the F.3d numbers, there is some desire to cut down on the published opinions or at least limit them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Deputy Burgess, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:57am

    go fuck yourselves

    hey people, you don't know the stress of my job. For all I know his cigarette might have contained explosives ricin or child porn, or all three. Think of the danger the public could have been in if he had succeeded. His own actions led to my prompt response in protecting the community and had I not succeeded, the result could have been 9/11 times a thousand. So fuck y'all and Bubba lets go out tonight and keep America free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kaden (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:25am

      Re: go fuck yourselves

      You forgot to stress your god given right to go home safe. That's the heart string tugger.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Grady Judd, 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: go fuck yourselves

        I've put in a request to the City Council that all of my officers be allowed to telecommute from now on. They will never again have to worry about going home safe, as they will never have to leave their homes. Since they will no longer be able to go to the firing range to maintain their weapons skills, they will be allowed to randomly shoot at their neighbors every Tuesday. This should be fine: their neighbors are pedophiles.

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        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: go fuck yourselves

          The truly scary thing about your humorous post, is that given 20 years or so it might be reality.

          Put a can of the restraint foam that is in development, a taser, a camera and a gun on a quad-copter drone, and police really COULD telecommute.

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    • identicon
      Ismail, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:19am

      Re: go fuck yourselves

      IF you're truly Burgess (notice I didn't include the "deputy" label because you're not deserving of it), you would have known that your first duty is to UPHOLD THE LAW! That includes not using EXCESSIVE FORCE, and breaking bones and causing permanent muscle damage when a suspect is complying with your requests is EXCESSIVE FORCE! Just because you have a badge and gun doesn't grant you immunity in order to do whatever the hell you want. Hate to break it to you, fella, but we here in the US have CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, and apparently that concept is alien to you. Therefore, you don't deserve to wear that badge or carry that gun because you've abrogated your first responsibility to those who employ you: the people who reside in the county you work for! You're no "Dirty Harry," no matter what twisted fantasies reside in your mind, and god willing, you'd be lucky to get a job as an unarmed security guard after the dust from this snafu has settled, so......

      GO FUCK YOURSELF!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mack, 6 Aug 2015 @ 1:24pm

      Re: go fuck yourselves

      Face it you are a disgrace to the uniform that you wear. I have 4 family members in law in for cement and you as someone that has the balls to say that someone doesn't know what your consist of and what you have to go through everyday in your duty as an officer of the law. Their are many out here in the world that KNOW what you go through everyday. Just be a man up and admit you are wrong in your actions over a cigarette being spit out and grazing your shirt. Also using excuses like child porn and ricin come on. Then you say 9-11 all over by a 1000. You act like your some kind of fucking super hero and your not. This is just a case of a bad apple (you) making others like some of my family members look bad by your actions... I have lived on the streets of the big city and had seen many a things and had the private talks with these same family members that stand in blue to protect us. Get off it man and admit you are wrong and leave the real work to the professionals..
      Mack

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 5 Aug 2015 @ 5:58am

    Now what they need is for Burgess to be held personally liable rather than the city paying any settlement that might arise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      If policemen were held personally liable they'd make sure they don't leave any cripples which are really expensive due to ongoing medical treatments but rather stiffs which are just a one-time payment to their relatives.

      And police solidarity will make their colleagues look away when they pull their gun and execute some severely injured guy in order not to cause hardship to their own family.

      What is really needed is a culture of criminal liability for abusive police and any false witnesses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      Exactly! Except it will be the tax payers footing the bill. And this scumbag Anthony Burgess will get another job as a cop - assuming he is even fired...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Stephen May, 5 Aug 2015 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      I'm pretty sure that Rogue with a badge will still be personally liable for any civil rights judgment against him -- and it can never be erased in bankruptcy since it is deemed intentional. If the government pays, it can seek back a percentage -- up to 100& -- on various legal theories.

      A Thug Cop's worst nightmare is facing a civil rights jury!

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    • icon
      Wothe (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 3:19pm

      Re: liability

      No --- he needs to be personally liable along with the city that screened, hired, and backed his actions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 6:29am

    Tim Cushing really hates cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pcdec, 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:26am

    You know when you're walking in the woods and you see a poisonous snake. Most people are very careful and retreat in fear. Others kill it. Almost noone likes being near the snake...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:45am

    Ramirez was being arrested for a misdemeanor offense, domestic violence – battery.

    I was with you right up until I read this line.

    First off, why in the world do places exist in the USA where beating your wife and/or kids is only a misdemeanor? And second, if he'd been doing that, he deserves everything the cop did to him and more. Sorry if that sounds harsh and offends anyone's delicate sensibilities, but if so you probably haven't been on the receiving end. Any man who is capable of bringing himself to do that is no man at all.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      He was accused, not convicted.

      It's possible Burgess was motivated by this same thought, which is a major problem when cops believe they can be judge and executioner.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      pcdec, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      Sheesh...where to start on this one. First off battery can be spitting on someone. Permanently disabled for spitting on someone sounds fair...

      So to pass judgement you obviously know all the details of this perticilar case...enlighten us please.

      So you want to get rid of judges and just leave it up to the cops to dole out punishment on the spot?

      And finally...equal rights. I guess you don't support womens rights. They have the same rights as men. Why do you see them as inferior?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:06am

        Re: Re:

        I guess you don't support womens rights. They have the same rights as men. Why do you see them as inferior?

        First off, how in the world did anything I said lead you to conclude any such thing about my beliefs?!? I said nothing whatsoever about the rights of women. I did imply that they have a right to not be beaten on by their husbands, but that's it.

        Second, "domestic violence" doesn't mean spitting on someone. It means that someone was being violent enough that the victim was in in fear for their own safety to such a degree that they called the cops on the guy, knowing full well that if this didn't work it would invite reprisals. Go on, ask me how I know what these things mean and how they work...

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        • identicon
          pcdec, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Won't even get into the sexism...you either see it or you don't.

          But there unlimited examples of spitting being domestic violence/battery.

          http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/nevada-battery-domestic-violence--an-overview- of-domestic-violence-laws-in-nevada

          http://ask-a-lawyer.freeadvice.com/law-questions/is-spitting-on-s omeone-co-147616.htm

          http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/domestic-violenc e/oklahoma-domestic-violence-laws-charges-penalt

          http://lawyersusaonline.com/benchmarks/2011/05/24/sp itting-boyfriend-gets-just-deserts/

          A jury found Hobbs guilty of domestic battery and injury to other property. With his priors, the trial judge enhanced his sentence and sent Hobbs to High Desert State Prison for a maximum of 25 years.
          Before the Nevada Supreme Court, Hobbs argued that spitting did not constitute the use of force or violence required for a battery under the state’s domestic violence law.
          Thursday, the state high court removed any doubt on that question.
          The court found that the language and meaning of Nevada’s domestic battery statute is clear and that battery is the intentional and unwanted exertion of force upon another, however slight.
          “Because the record clearly demonstrates that Hobbs intentionally spat on McClain and because spitting on another amounts to the use of force or violence as contemplated by [the statute], we conclude that Hobbs was properly convicted of domestic battery,” the court said. (Hobbs v. Nevada)


          Use google much?

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 11:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Won't even get into the sexism...you either see it or you don't.

            Way to shift the burden of proof when you have nothing to back up your accusation.

            A jury found Hobbs guilty of domestic battery and injury to other property. With his priors, the trial judge enhanced his sentence and sent Hobbs to High Desert State Prison for a maximum of 25 years.

            Yeah, did you miss the part about how he was already a convicted felon several times over, and how he trashed her car?

            Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear. When I said "domestic violence doesn't mean spitting on someone", I didn't mean to imply anything about legal definitions of domestic violence, but rather that if you call the cops on someone for domestic violence, it's because you believe that you are in enough real, physical danger that the risk of the inevitable reprisal of this doesn't work is less than the immediate risk of doing nothing.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ...but rather that if you call the cops on someone for domestic violence, it's because you believe that you are in enough real, physical danger that the risk of the inevitable reprisal of this doesn't work is less than the immediate risk of doing nothing.

              So if he called the cops on her, would it have been alright if they beat the shit out of her instead?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Now there's a rhetorical trap if I've ever heard one, seeing as how the guy above is flinging around baseless accusations of sexism...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              pcdec, 5 Aug 2015 @ 4:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If you spit on a family member or a member of your household they can call the cops and you can be charged with domestic battery. Fear is irrelevant. It can be a joke but you can still take the charge if they report it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          My uncle came home drunk one night and yelled at my mother, she called the police to try and get him to settle down, once the police showed up he had already settled down and had done nothing more than be loud and obnoxious, their response... we have to take him in for something, so domestic violence it was and he was in jail for the week for being loud and obnoxious.

          Not in any way condoning ACTUAL domestic violence, but the charge itself doesn't automatically equate to physical violence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Whoever, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:12am

      Re:

      Ramirez was being arrested for a misdemeanor offense, domestic violence – battery.
      I was with you right up until I read this line.
      Because people are never falsely accused?

      We have a system of courts, where guilt is established, and it takes more than an accusation for someone to be held as guilty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:35am

      Re:

      "...he deserves everything the cop did to him and more."

      IQ of a cop?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:08am

        Re: Re:

        Who? Me?

        Well, I'm currently making 6 figures as a professional software development. Feel free to draw your own conclusions, since you seem to already be doing so anyway...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Given that Donald Trump is a billionaire...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          jackn, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Shit, kids in india are doing that too.

          Yes, I think you nailed it. IQ of cop. That's why you're stuck in a teenager's job.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 2:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Spoken like a true outsider with no clue what they're talking about. Yes, a lot of programming work gets outsourced to kids in other countries who don't know what they're doing. I know this all too well; I've been the guy who cleans up the mess the outsourced code monkeys leave behind, more times than I'd like to remember.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      spano, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:04am

      Re: was with you right up until I read this line.

      I have a friend who was arrested for hitting his wife with a pillow.
      and where did "innocent until proven guilty" go?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re: was with you right up until I read this line.

        The officer was clearly punching down. Men don't deserve due process because patriarchy. If you don't think that a man who was accused of domestic violence deserves to be put to death immediately without a trial, you have internalized misogyny and also deserve to die.

        (this is what san franciscans actually believe)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re: was with you right up until I read this line.

          This is what everyone in the city of San Fran believe?
          Why is it that this statement sounds exaggerated?

          Something something due process, blah blah

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      First off, why in the world do places exist in the USA where beating your wife and/or kids is only a misdemeanor?

      Because if you make EVERYTHING that pisses you off personally a felony, what are you going to do with all those felons?

      Imprison them? Great. How're you going to pay for it?

      And if you decide to charge them all as felons and NOT imprison them because you can't afford it, do you think the felony on their record is going to enhance or retard their chances to do anything positive after that?

      Prison doesn't work. If it did, the outcome would be LESS people in prison, rather than more.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re:

        Because if you make EVERYTHING that pisses you off personally a felony, what are you going to do with all those felons?

        Yeah, because I totally said that, didn't I? I said "everything that pisses me off should be a felony."

        ...oh wait, no, I didn't. In fact, I said nothing of the sort. Seriously, where do you people get this crap from?

        But a person who betrays the trust of those who are supposed to be under his protection and inflicts violence on them? Give me one good reason why that should not be among the most serious felonies on the books.

        Prison doesn't work. If it did, the outcome would be LESS people in prison, rather than more.

        Depends on how you define "work". You know what keeping someone locked up does a very effective job of? Preventing them from beating on their family any more!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 10:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, you're right - I generalized a bit.
          But my point stands. If everything's a felony, what're you going to do with all the people?

          Remember the ridiculously harsh drug laws we passed during the war on drugs? Was that a success? No drug problem anymore?
          How about the 3 strikes laws, where people ended up serving 25 years for a minor 3rd offense? That was clearly a winner, wasn't it?

          I guess if you define work as growing the prison economy, then congratulations! You've achieved your goal of having the highest number of citizens in jails!

          Sorry. I'd rather see this out of control cop go to jail, rather than the guy who allegedly beat his wife.

          Before you argue "But a person who betrays the trust of those who are supposed to be under his protection and inflicts violence on them?" - understand that the cop who beat the shit out of this guy also fits this bill rather nicely.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Remember the ridiculously harsh drug laws we passed during the war on drugs?

            No, I don't remember any such thing. I remember a bunch of ridiculously lax laws that fail to treat drug dealers as what they are: murderers and worse than murderers. If we actually did treat them accordingly, if a person knew that if they got caught peddling addictive substances that destroy not only the life of their victim but the victim's family as well in all too many cases, that they would be punished as a person who destroys life is punished, you'd see a whole lot less drug dealing going on. (Which is why I object to the highly misleading term "war on drugs" in the first place. What kind of war is it where it's not presumed reasonable to kill enemy combatants as a matter of course? Some people think we need to end the war on drugs. I think we need to actually start it! That would be a far better use of our resources than, say, war in the Middle East.)

            How about the 3 strikes laws, where people ended up serving 25 years for a minor 3rd offense? That was clearly a winner, wasn't it?

            Which violent crimes are you calling 'minor', specifically, especially in the context of a person having established a pattern of violent crime and recidivism?

            Also, in light of the way violent crime has been decreasing quite significantly since the passage of these laws, what is your basis for claiming that they're ineffective?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Google Rockefeller Drug Laws to start.

              If we actually did treat them accordingly, if a person knew that if they got caught peddling addictive substances that destroy not only the life of their victim but the victim's family as well in all too many cases, that they would be punished as a person who destroys life is punished, you'd see a whole lot less drug dealing going on.

              Ahh yes...if they just knew the penalties they were facing...that would eliminate crime completely.
              Just like it did with gun violence, and every other form of crime where the penalties are ALREADY severe.

              Just like it did with copyright infringement...oh wait...

              What kind of war is it where it's not presumed reasonable to kill enemy combatants as a matter of course?

              You're really going off the deep end on this one, Mason.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 2:05pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Ahh yes...if they just knew the penalties they were facing...that would eliminate crime completely.

                There is actually a case to be made for this. Let me state first, clearly and unambiguously, that I am not advocating following this example. Having said that, history does give us two examples of lawmakers who did successfully manage to bring crime within their domain to a screeching halt: Draco of Athens (for whom the term "draconian" is named), and Vlad Tepes, aka "Vlad The Impaler." (Who, it's worth noting, is still considered a great hero to this day in his native Romania; it was his neighbors--political enemies--who quite literally demonized him, calling him Drakula, which translates as "son of the dragon" or "son of The Devil," depending on who's doing the translating.) So yes, history demonstrates that deterrence does indeed work, and there is a point at which it apparently works completely.

                Now again, I am not advocating following their example. There are other important factors that need to be taken into consideration when developing criminal justice policies for a modern, civilized society. But to just blithely dismiss deterrence like that makes you look horribly ignorant.

                You specifically mention gun violence. This is an interesting case, because it combines two distinct things: violent crime, and guns. Would you agree that in almost all cases of intentional attack with a gun (ie. not counting the horror stories we've all heard about a gun going off accidentally, or a child finding a loaded pistol and not realizing it's not a toy, etc...) that if a gun had not been available, the violence would have still taken place anyway, by other means?

                This being true, it makes sense to look at gun violence as a special case of violent crime in general, which, as I pointed out above (and as Techdirt has mentioned repeatedly over the years) has been on a steep decline for decades. The reason why gun violence in particular is so prevalent in the US as a subset of violence in general is a highly politicized question that both sides seem to agree can be blamed on the degree of availability of guns--the question is whether it's too high, or too low. (Deterrence again, in the latter POV.)

                As for copyright infringement, think back to Disney's Aladdin: "Trouble? No, you're only in trouble if you get caught." When only a small fraction of 1% of people who engage in copyright infringement ever face any legal consequences for it, there's no deterrence even if the hypothetical penalties are insanely high.

                If you want a better example, let's talk about kidnapping of children. It used to be thing in the USA. These days, it's nearly nonexistent, and most of what is termed "kidnapping" anymore involves a custodial dispute which one of the parents decided to resolve in a unilateral manner, frequently with the approval of the child in question--a far cry from what the average person would envision when they hear the word "kidnapped."

                What changed? The FBI started taking kidnapping very seriously, and made it very clear that if you steal a child from their parents, you're not going to get away with it, and it worked.

                Likewise, hijackings. You know why there hasn't been a single American airliner hijacked since 9/11? Because we made it clear that anyone who tries is going to get immediately mobbed by a plane full of passengers who all believe they have nothing to lose, and so the hijackers will never succeed in their goals.

                When people know the penalties they face, and believe that they're likely to actually face them, it does have a strong tendency to eliminate crime. Sometimes even completely, as examples both ancient and modern show.

                You're really going off the deep end on this one, Mason.

                Ah yes, the classic holdout weapon of the debater who knows he has no case to make: mockery. Try to short-circuit the audience's reasoning by appealing to ridicule rather than facts and logic.

                It's kind of sad how well it works.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Socrates, 6 Aug 2015 @ 1:51am

                  Domestic violence

                  Some might have overlooked your IF in the first post in this thread. If I read your posts correctly you argue that harsh punishments for those that make other peoples lives a living hell is well deserved. And more so if they are a spouse or a parent because they abuse the trust a child would have to a parent and the intimate relation to a partner. It is also a abuse of power; to do violence.

                  If I have understood you correctly in this, it is views we have in common.


                  It is also an obvious truth that both domestic violence and neglect, to a large extent is neglected by the government. It have this in common with rape, sexual abuse, police violence, and "billing" of rape victims.

                  It is part of a several thousand years long religious and "cultural" tradition. Including assassination of a mans own children.

                  Traditional rape laws in the US defined rape as forced sexual intercourse by a male with a "female not his wife." Not until 1993 were marital rape a crime in all 50 states.

                  There is hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in USA. After public pressure and as a lip service to harvest voters, single digit million dollars is used here and there. When they do, they sometimes find kits stowed away somewhere that nobody knew about.

                  After the massive child rape operation were exposed, the Catholic church were free to move wealth to "inaccessible" funds to chide the children all over again. The US government see nothing, hear nothing and care not at all.

                  There is a pattern. A pattern of neglect. A pattern of power abuse. Is this the will of the people? Or is everyone hung up on Democrats vs. Republicans bullocks?

                  Is it doting on power and contempt for weakness? Like when people cheered on to assassination of a bicyclist with cruse missile, and feeling great? Or beating up geeks at school for being week and understanding math?



                  I have an issue with the police dishing out punishment though. Police dishing out is a problem no matter if the recipient actually deserved it (or not). And your analysis regarding excessive punishment working for preventing bad parents is likely wrong. As you full well knows, the manipulator and the bad person might be the same person. Giving the manipulator increased ability to SWAT someone, and there is unlikely that there will be fewer victims. To make more people safe, costs money, demands effort, to protect weaklings like children and battered spouses.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 6:29am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No case? You only wish, Mason.

                  You seem to reconcile that all of this fear of punishment is a deterrent. Yet, the prison population has been steadily increasing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

                  So while you can blather on about how crime rates have decreased, you now have a different, and as I mentioned UNSUSTAINABLE by-product of that, with 1 in 100 adults in prison.

                  Please explain how an increasing prison population equates to a deterrent. If it truly is a deterrent, then that population would decrease over time, no?

                  And I'll ask this same question again, since you continue to avoid it - how do you plan to continue to PAY for this, especially if you want to add minor offenses such as domestic violence to the equation?

                  I'll also add that recidivism is nearly 68% - so again, this is success to you?

                  With 1 in 100 adults in prison or jail and 2/3 of those more likely than not to be BACK in jail once they're released, I'll reiterate my original point that prison DOES NOT WORK as a deterrent.

                  I anxiously await more 13th century examples to support your theories...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              jackn, 5 Aug 2015 @ 1:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think you guys should give up. There is enough evidence here to show Mason Wheeler is a loser and beyond logical debate.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But a person who betrays the trust of those who are supposed to be under his protection and inflicts violence on them? Give me one good reason why that should not be among the most serious felonies on the books.
          Take another look at your own words, and then think about the fact that you're defending a LEO for assaulting a compliant arrestee.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Brick Vehicular, 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:06pm

          Questions for Mason Wheeler

          1). Are you married? If so, has your wife ever intentionally annoyed/aggravated you to where you have had to leave or you will lose it?

          2). Have you seen some these "so-called" defenceless" spouses that maliciously and intentional push the members of their families to breaking point?

          3). Have you seen the results of husband bashing?

          4). Do you believe in "innocent until proven guilty"?

          5). Do you have all the details of the specific allegations in this particular case?

          Accusation is a great colourer of how people will be viewed, irrespective of what the real story is. In this particular case, all we know is that he was accused of domestic violence (battery), we do NOT know whether, in fact, any battery (of any kind) was actually performed.

          The police may have simply charged him with this without any verification. From the article, we do NOT know.

          In any case, irrespective of his actions, the actions of the police officer were themselves extremely problematic. His actions are a matter for other court activity. If found guilty of battery then the appropriate punishment and discipline needs to be undertaken.

          But a person who betrays the trust of those who are supposed to be under his protection and inflicts violence on them? Give me one good reason why that should not be among the most serious felonies on the books./blockquote>Just so. Every police police officer, every government official, every politician should be held to these same standards. Violence occurs in many ways, not just physically interacting with them. It includes threats, it includes removal of freedom, it includes financial ruin, it includes trust betrayal, it includes many other things.

          My mother-in-law is in the grave now. It is a good thing that she is gone. She was an extremely abusive (emotionally, mentally, physically, etc) person. Due to her own hatred, she drove great wedges in her own family and yet she always managed to come across as the abused victim. I have a friend who (thankfully) is long divorced from her abusive ex-husband. He also was able to present himself as the abused victim.

          Don't assume that everyone accused of domestic violence was, in fact, the perpetrator of the event. There are many women who have not been able to get to safety through the fear instilled by their respective violent husbands (or partners), they need our help and protection. But there are also, a significant number of men who are in exactly the same situation and they need our help just as much.

          Until all the facts are know, an accusation is just that, an accusation. If we can't engender the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" then we are the lessor for it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      al, 9 Aug 2015 @ 12:59pm

      Re: I was with you right up until I read this line.

      I was arrested for battery on my ex-wife, (and fortunately I dont smoke)

      However at court I was able to show self defense and found not guilty .... but please explain how it follows that I " deserve[s] everything the cop did to him[me] and more."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hans, 5 Aug 2015 @ 8:58am

    "... if he'd been doing that ..."

    I know others have already pointed out your foolish beliefs about due process, but I want to point out that even you understand, as is clear from what you write, that his guilt is in doubt at the point of arrest. There's a reason for due process, and over zealous policing is one of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:09am

    This is exactly why the Police should be treated as rabid animals, you can't trust something that continuously attacks without being provoked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 2:34pm

      Re:

      Now now, that's an unfair comparison. Rabid animals aren't to blame for their actions, they hardly choose to get sick with rabies. Cops though, they choose to act how they do, meaning they are absolutely to blame for their actions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:13am

    Cops are a safety threat to all communities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2015 @ 5:59pm

    Hopefully the violent thug is taken off the street before he body slams anyone else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OGquaker (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:25pm

    Peace Officers

    As a 1% childhood friend of mine (we started in the 99%, he moved away to a 1,000 acre spread) says: they should remove their testicles as the first condition of they're employment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 7 Aug 2015 @ 12:31am

    Legalized Crime and Immunity from Punishment

    Any word as to what sort of punishment was meted out to the orifice, er... officer, once his immunity from the law was revoked.

    I'm just wondering which wrist was slapped of course.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wrath Attacker, 7 Aug 2015 @ 9:12am

    Crime and that other thing

    What was it that annoying girl said...

    Oh, yes - "the more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip you your fingers"

    /zam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2015 @ 3:17pm

    and cue sheriff judd ordering (another) black man to be shot in the back / back of the head....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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