Police Issues

Cop? Terrorist? Both?
(#378, 1/20/21)

Some officers leap into the arms of "Q"

Chaos in D.C.
(#377, 1/11/21)

Rioters overrun the Capitol.
Are police to blame?


1/26/21 Yogananda Pittman, the Capitol’s acting police chief, told a House committee that preventing an incursion into the Capitol would have foreclosed having an “ open campus” that allowed protesting. She testified that the agency knew “that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would descend on Washington, D.C.” and that “there was a strong potential for violence” and apologized for a failure to adequately prepare. Two days before the attack the then-police chief had asked his board to declare an emergency and immediately bring in the National Guard but was turned down. In his testimony, the Guard’s commanding general said that the Pentagon had taken away his original authority to order in troops, leading to an hour-long delay to send them in once the assault took place. Related post

1/25/21 Participation of off-duty cops in the storming of the Capitol is reportedly leading police managers across the U.S. to reassess and implement measures, such as FBI screenings, to keep applicants with extremist leanings from being hired, and to help usher out those presently in the ranks. But such changes face liberty and legal obstacles, and officer unions will certainly become involved. Related post

1/24/21 As many as eight-hundred protesters may have breached the Capitol. That has led hard-pressed authorities to ponder not charging those who simply committed misdemeanor unlawful entry, but whose behavior did not involve violence, threats or destruction. Some officials, though, fear this would send the wrong message. Prosecutors are most interested on identifying planners of the storming so they can be charged with felony “seditious conspiracy.” Related post

Nicholas Kristof, who wrote the 2018 New York Times opinion piece that challenged the murder conviction of death-row inmate Kevin Cooper, reports that California’s final DNA testing go-round yielded a full profile from only one item, an abandoned, discarded towel that was supposedly taken from the victims’ residence. Its profile matches no one, including Lee Furrow, the convicted killer whom some consider the real murderer. According to Kristof, Furrow (he only refers to him as “Lee”) bragged of committing the crime to others, but denied it when interviewed. Related post

1/23/21 Ms. Ashli Babbitt was shot dead by a Capitol police lieutenant who had taken up a “strategic choke point” to allow legislators to flee. His official account, as related by a third party, emphasized the chaos and violence. Radio traffic was replete with accounts of force, requests for backup, and, he thought, a mention of shots being fired. He couldn’t tell whether Ms. Babbitt and her companions were armed. He didn’t know that officers were in the hallway she occupied, nor that a tactical team was coming. Related posts 1  2

In his latest dust-up L.A. Sheriff Villaneva decided there was “insufficient evidence” to impose discipline on Undersheriff Tim Murakami for allegedly using a Japanese-language slur. Angered L.A. County executives turned to California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. On 1/22 the AG announced that the Calif. Dept. of Justice will conduct a formal civil rights probe of the LASD, focusing on instances of alleged wrongdoing by deputies, including improper use of force and “resistance to oversight.” Related posts 1  2  3

1/22/21 The proposed “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” would, among other things, allow persons unlawfully present in the U.S. to apply for “temporary legal status” that could become permanent if they keep out of trouble and pay taxes for five years. Immediate green cards would go to “ dreamers,” persons with humanitarian temporary protected status and certain farmworkers. Related post

In June 2020 a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Andres Guardado, 18, when the youth, who was lying on the ground at the end of a foot chase, allegedly reached for a gun. Guardado sustained five bullet wounds, all in the back. Other than being seen with a gun, he was not suspected of a crime. The deputy who shot Guardado was hired in 2009. He was the subject of recent complaints for excessive force and discourtesy. A licensed security guard also accused him of loading a gun he lawfully possessed to justify charges. His only known disciplinary action is a four-day suspension in 2017 for making false statements or failing to properly screen an inmate. In December 2020 the two deputies who chased Guardado were relieved of duty over an April 2020 traffic crash. An informer has also said the deputies sought to join the “Executioners” clique, which their lawyer denies. Related posts 1  2  3

1/21/21 On January 19 the FBI arrested US Army PFC Cole James Bridges, 20, on a Federal complaint charging him with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Bridges, who had posted videos and other materials supporting Jihad, was contacted online by undercover FBI agents in late 2020. He agreed to help and provided informal instruction and training materials to facilitate terrorist attacks in the U.S. and kill American troops stationed overseas. He declined to participate personally. Related posts 1  2  3

Joe Biden must have read our related post. In his inaugural address, the 46th. President intoned Americans to “join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature...Let us listen to one another...We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility. If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment....” Related post

A Chicago man who had posted numerous “disturbing” videos on Facebook, including rants in which “he brandished a gun” and “threatened to ‘blow up the whole community’” went on a shooting spree on January 9. Jason Nightengale, 32, apparently chose his victims randomly. By the time he was shot dead by Evanston police three were dead and four were wounded. A fourth victim has since died.
Special topic: Police & mentally ill
Related posts 1  2

1/20/21 A lawsuit by Chicago Police Lieutenant Franklin Paz claims that he was punitively reassigned for complaining that in a drive to “crush the numbers” a Deputy Chief set production targets for “traffic stops, arrests, citations, and other documented contacts with people on the street” that could lead officers to profile minorities and break the law. Quantity and Quality special topic Related post

1/19/21 Illinois is a Governor’s signature away from eliminating cash bail altogether. While civil libertarians mostly back the measure, some worry that judges might overuse provisions that allow them to detain low-level offenders they consider dangerous. Police and prosecutors oppose the bill as it mandates release for a broad range of crimes, “irrespective of their likelihood of re-offending, the danger they pose generally to the public, or their willingness to comply with conditions of their release.” Related posts 1 2

1/17/21 L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez have been relieved of duty and are being criminally investigated for “kidnapping” allegedly unruly skateboarder Jesus Alegria, 24, then taking him on a “wild ride” that ended in a car crash and left Alegria bleeding from the head. In June 2020 Vega and Hernandez shot and killed Andres Guardado, a death still under investigation. Related posts 1  2

1/14/21 Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back and crippled by a Kenosha (WI) officer told ABC News that he dropped a pocketknife on the ground while returning to his car. He picked it up and was about to put it in the car and surrender when he was shot. “I shouldn’t have picked it up, only, considering what was going on...at the time I wasn’t thinking clearly.” Related post

“Dozens” of individuals on an official FBI terrorism watch list (TSDB, Terrorist Screening Database, with “hundreds of thousands” of entries) reportedly attended pro-Trump rallies in D.C. on the day of the attack. Most were white supremacists. FBI agents had supposedly visited many in advance to discourage them from attending. Related post

DOJ issued a formal rebuttal to criticisms in the President’s Council of Advisors 2016 report that challenged the validity of comparison techniques such as those used by firearms and toolmarks examiners to match firearms to recovered bullets and shell casings. According to DOJ, the report’s conclusions are inaccurate but are being used by courts to exclude worthwhile testimony. Related posts 1  2  3

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, will be tried separately. His trial for 2nd. degree murder and manslaughter is scheduled for March 8. His three colleagues: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, will be tried jointly for aiding and abetting Chauvin. Their trial is scheduled for August 23. All four officers were fired and are on high bonds. Related post

1/13/21 Acting A.G. Jeffrey Rosen, who took over after A.G. Barr’s resignation in December, stated that DOJ is aware that protests are planned for the Inauguration. He pledged that DOJ would support the exercise of Constitutional rights but “will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power [or] for any attempts to forcefully occupy government buildings.”
Related post

One day before the assault on the Capitol a leaked FBI memo warned about online exchanges between extremists who were preparing for “war, ” designating places to meet and form groups, and circulating plans of the facility’s tunnels. But the memo’s author was also concerned about encroaching on free speech. An earlier FBI memo warns that members of the Boogaloo movement plan to hold rallies across the U.S. and stage armed marches on State Capitols on Inauguration Day, January 20. Related post

A Federal appellate court overruled a lower-court decision that allowed “Safehouse, ” a Philadelphia non-profit, to open a “supervised injection site” where users inject illegal drugs under medical supervision. According to the Court, such sites, which are open and regulated in portions of Canada and Europe and have been proposed in the U.S., violate Federal drug laws. Related posts 1  2

1/12/21 A Federal “sedition and conspiracy task force” with anti-terrorism and intelligence components has taken over the Capitol investigation. So far 170 suspects have been identified and seventy have been charged. In addition to illegal entry their crimes include theft and damage, possessing weapons, stealing security information, assaulting officers and felony murder. One accused, Lonnie L. Coffman, had a wide assortment of loaded firearms as well as “a crossbow, several machetes, a stun gun and [incendiary] devices.” Another, Aaron Mostofsky (he wore fur pelts) grabbed a Capitol police shield and a vest. He had posted a video claiming that Trump was cheated out of ten million votes. Related post

1/11/21 For stunning photos and videos of the mob as it assaults officers defending the Capitol, click here.

Three days after helping defend the institution he served for fifteen years, Capitol police officer Howard Liebengood, son of a former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, apparently took his own life. He was off-duty. Related posts 1  2

New York Governor Mario Cuomo’s third attempt to legalize recreational pot is supported by civil rights advocates who complain drug laws have proven systemically racist. But some liberally-inclined groups oppose the idea, which they claim would benefit wealthy businesspersons but cause more impaired driving and increase the use of high-potency marijuana products by youth. Related post

1/6/21 In connection with the killing of Breonna Taylor, Louisville PD fired Detectives Cosgrove and Gentry. Sgt. Mattingly was exonerated for use-of-force violations, and three other officers connected with the case received reprimands or one-day suspensions. In a decision that has sparked controversy, Louisville selected Erika Shields as its new permanent chief. Ms. Shields had resigned as Atlanta police chief after the shooting of Rayshard Brooks. Related posts 1  2

1/5/21 D.A. Michael Graveley announced that his office will not charge Kenosha, Wis. officer Rusten Sheskey for shooting Jacob Blake, a wanted man whom police claim was armed with a knife. According to officer Sheskey, he fired in self-defense as Mr. Blake “started turning toward him with the knife.” Police are on high alert and the Wisconsin National Guard has been mobilized. A Federal civil rights investigation of the shooting is underway. Related post

1/4/21 In the New York Times, three members of the wrongfully convicted “Central Park Five” endorsed a proposed New York state law that would prohibit providing false information to persons being interrogated or otherwise deceive them in a way that could lead them to falsely confess. Related posts 1 2

1/3/21 Illinois legalized recreational pot in 2020. In September the state’s 67 licensees (there are plans for more than twice the number) sold $68 million of recreational pot and passed on $20 million in state taxes, nearly as much as for liquor. As the year ended Governor Pritzker also pardoned 9,210 “low-level” pot convictions, while 492,000 misdemeanor marijuana arrest records were expunged. Related post

1/1/21 Four of the seven LASD deputies fired in 2013 for belonging to the “Jump Out Boys” clique were reinstated after successfully arguing to the Civil Service Commission that while they wore the clique’s tattoos they did not partake of its creed or mission. Their terminations were reduced to suspensions, but those, too, were later set aside by a judge. One subsequently left the agency; three remain on duty. A year-old Sheriff’s policy now forbids such cliques altogether. Related posts 1  2  3

12/30/20 DOJ announced that it would not file Federal civil-rights charges against White Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback over the 2014 death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old Black youth. They responded to a 911 call about a person pointing a gun, and then-officer Loehmann shot and killed the child when he allegedly pointed what turned out to be a B.B. gun. Dispatchers were reportedly told that the suspect was a kid and that his gun might be “fake” but did not pass it  on. DOJ statement   Related posts 1  2  3  4


New essays post regularly:

Main topics

Third, Fourth & Fifth Chances
(#376, 1/4/21)

Some cops repeatedly avoid meaningful sanctions. Then disaster strikes.

Select, Don't "Elect"
(#375, 12/19/20)

When top cops are elected,
controls fly out the window


Was a Dope Roped?
A trial judge thought so.
But an appellate court disagreed.

(#374, 12/8/20)

Fix Those Neighborhoods!
Creating safe places calls for a comprehensive, organic approach
(#373, 11/23/20)

When Must Cops Shoot? (II)
"An Ounce of Prevention"
(Ben Franklin, 1736)

(#372, 11/11/20)

When Must Cops Shoot? (I)
Four notorious incidents; four dead citizens. What did officers face?
(#371, 10/31/20)

L.A. Wants "Cahoots." But Which "Cahoots"?
Some politicians demand that officers keep away from "minor, non-violent" crimes
(#370, 10/21/20)

R.I.P. Proactive Policing?
Volatile situations and imperfect cops guarantee tragic outcomes

(#369, 10/10/20)

Explaining...or Ignoring?
In a badly divided land, the ambush of two deputies unleashes a raft of excuses. And, as usual, no solutions.

(#368, 9/21/20)

White on Black
Should Black citizens fear White cops?
(#367, 9/7/20)

Black on Black
Are Black citizens better off
with Black cops?
(#366, 9/1/20)

"SWAT" is a Verb
Officers join specialized teams for a reason
(#365, 8/16/20)

Should Police Treat the Whole Patient?
Officers deal with the symptoms of social decay. Can they go further? Should they?
(#364, 8/3/20)

Turning Cops Into Liars
Keeping score can distort what
officers do
(#363, 7/20/20)

Violent and Vulnerable
Some combative citizens may be at heightened risk of death
(#362, 7/8/20)

Don't "Divest" - Invest!
Stripping money from the police is foolish. So is ignoring the plight of poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

(#361, 6/26/20)

Is it Ever OK to Shoot Someone in the Back? (II)
In Atlanta, a “routine” encounter turns lethal. Instantly, a deplorable outcome is attributed to race.
(#360, 6/19/20)

Gold Badges Can Be the Problem
Ordinary cops often know what's best. They should act on it.
(#359, 6/8/20)

Punishment Isn't a Cop's Job
An officer metes out discipline. He then faces society's version.
(#358, 6/3/20)

But is it Really Satan?
A Sheriff’s lament reflects the hopelessness of urban decay

(#357, 5/25/20)

A Conflicted Mission
An ideologically-fraught quarrel poses unique challenges
(#356, 5/12/20)

Letting Go
Who should stay locked up during the pandemic? Who can go?
(#355, 5/1/20)

Can the Urban Ship
be Steered?

Seasoned police leadership. Yet the
violence continues.
(#354, 4/21/20)

Taking Missiles From Strangers
One wannabe heads to prison. Another waits. Should we be relieved?

(#353, 4/10/20)

Fair But Firm
Gaining voluntary compliance is the
sine qua non of everyday policing.
Indeed, of everyday life.
(#352, 4/2/20)

When Should Cops Lie?
NYPD detectives tweak an old approach. But lying is still lying.
(#351, 3/26/20)

COVID-19: R.I.P. Policing?
Crime-fighters confront the challenges
of coronavirus
(#350, 3/17/20)

Place Matters
Desperate to avoid controversy, politicians avoid the obvious

(#349, 2/29/20)

Must the Door Revolve?
Bail and sentencing reform come.
Then stuff happens.
(#348, 2/9/20)

A Recipe for Disaster
Take an uncertain workplace. Toss in a "mission impossible" and pressures to produce. Voila!
(#347, 1/24/20)

Loopholes are Lethal (II)
Who can buy a gun? Indeed, just what is a gun? Um, let’s pretend!
(#346, 1/4/20)

Loopholes are Lethal
Federal gun laws are tailored to limit their impact. And the consequences
can be deadly.
(#345, 12/22/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest? (II)
Quit blaming police racism for lopsided outcomes. And fix those neighborhoods!
(#344, 12/3/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest?
Accusations of biased policing
derail a stop-and-frisk campaign

(#343, 11/12/19)

Technology's Great -
Until it's Not

Police love Rapid DNA and facial recognition but hate encryption.
Privacy advocates beg to differ.

(#342, 10/18/19)

Means, Ends and 9/11
Extraordinary measures beget extraordinary consequences

(#341, 9/28/19)

Human Renewal
Despite redevelopment, South Bend's poverty and crime remain locked
in an embrace
(#340, 9/13/19)

A Workplace
Without Pity
Doing right by the public might
mean doing wrong to the cop
(#339, 8/27/19)

Going Ballistic
Stop with the tangential!
Gun lethality is, first and foremost,
about the projectile
(#338, 8/12/19)

Repeat After Us:
"City" is Meaningless
When it comes to crime, it's neighborhoods that count
(#337, 8/2/19)

Two Sides of
the Same Coin
Street gangs and officer cliques
have a lot in common
(#336, 7/20/19)

Can You Enforce
Without Force?
Decriminalizing illegal immigration would have serious consequences
(#335, 7/1/19)

A Distinction
Without a Difference
An epidemic of officer suicide raises the question: do guns cause violence?
(#334, 6/22/19)

Informed and Lethal
Confirmation bias, on steroids
(#333, 5/5/19)

Mission Impossible?
Inner-city violence calls for a lot more than cops. Is America up to the task? (#332, 4/13/19)

Driven to Fail
Numbers-driven policing can’t help but offend. What are the options?
(#331, 3/27/19)

No Such Thing As
"Friendly" Fire
As good guys and bad ramp up their arsenals, the margin of error disappears (#330, 3/4/19)

A Not-so-Magnificent Obsession
Lapses in policing lead to chronic rulemaking. Does it hit the mark?
(#329, 2/15/19)

A Victim of Circumstance
Building cases with circumstantial evidence calls for exquisite care
(#328, 1/26/19)

When Walls Collide
Ideological quarrels drown out straight talk about border security (#327, 1/14/19)

Cops Aren't Free Agents
To improve police practices, look
to the workplace
(#326, 1/3/19)

Keep going...


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