Police Issues


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)



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

(#357, 5/25/20)


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)



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...

 


9/29/20 FBI crime data for 2019 is in. Crime rates per 100,000 pop. fell one percent for violent crimes, from 368.9 in 2018 to 366.7 in 2019, and 4.5 percent for property crimes, from 2199.5 to 2,109. In actual numbers, robberies were down 4.7 percent and rapes fell by 2.7 percent, while aggravated assaults were up 1.3 percent and murder/non-negligent manslaughter rose 0.3 percent. Is all this sufficient reason to take a bow? Citing a three-year decline in rates, the Attorney General thinks so. Related posts 1 2

9/28/20 An academic study of crime rates in 27 U.S. cities reveals that homicides were 53 percent higher during June-August 2020 than for the equivalent period in 2019. Aggravated assaults were also up, by 14 percent, but the number of those committed with guns was about the same. Domestic violence also seemed unchanged. Burglaries, larcenies and drug offenses were somewhat lower, with the difference attributed to closed businesses and people staying home. Related post

9/27/20 Former Minneapolis officer Tou Thao was repeatedly reprimanded as a cadet for taking shortcuts. He also had six complaints as an officer. Five ended without discipline, and one remained open. A 2014 excessive force complaint was settled with the victim for $25,000, and an internal inquiry was conducted in 2017 about his “expediency and dishonesty,” apparently for trying to avoid writing reports in certain cases. Related post

9/26/20 In Portland, five-hundred state police officers stood watch as competing protest groups - the Proud Boys, on the right, and “Rose City Antifa” and Black Lives Matter, on the left - held large, mostly peaceful rallies several miles apart. Some of the Proud Boys, who hold themselves out as pro-police and have criticized Portland’s supposedly lackluster response to left-themed disorder, wore tactical gear and carried firearms. But few arrests were made and the demonstrations ended peacefully. Related post

9/24/20 Students from low-income families struggle with on-line schooling. Computers and Internet access may be lacking. Other challenges include food, health and housing issues, no quiet place to study, and a lack of assistance and supervision. “In the last three weeks of school, I just stopped doing Zoom” said a high-school teacher in South Los Angeles. “Because no one was doing the work.” Related posts 1 2 3 4

(Updated) Protests erupted in Louisville after a Grand Jury did not indict the two detectives whose bullets killed Breonna Taylor during the execution of a narcotics search warrant by four officers at her apartment in March. Officers opened fire when Kenneth Walker, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, pulled a gun and shot a detective in the leg as he burst in. Jurors indicted only one officer, Brett Hankinson, for carelessly unleashing a fusillade that endangered other tenants. Related posts 1 2 3

9/22/20 In a sharply worded memorandum, the Department of Justice threatened to withhold funds from New York City and Portland, which severely cut their police budgets despite sharp increases in violence, and Seattle, which established a month-long police-free “safe zone.” Each city was also criticized for rejecting assistance from Federal law enforcement agencies. Related posts 1 2 3

Los Angeles police regularly turn to a regional facial recognition database maintained by the county sheriff’s department to develop leads on suspects of crime. In a recent success officers arrested a man suspected of sexually assaulting children. Although police say they are aware of the software’s limitations, the ACLU disparaged its use last year with a test that identified one in five lawmakers as a criminal. Its purpose was to support a proposed State law that would ban its use on body cameras. Related post

9/19/20 Schemes such as the fraudulent procurement of Paycheck Protection Program loans are being disguised by using go-betweens, often persons out of work because of the pandemic, to run ill-gotten funds through their bank accounts. Laundering also extends to goods such as smartphones that middlemen ship to overseas clients. Related post

Four Shreveport, Louisiana police officers were charged with negligent homicide and “malfeasance” for using Tasers, mace and nightsticks and repeatedly “punching and kicking” a highly agitated, violent man who clearly “ exhibited signs he was a mental patient in need of medical treatment.” Tommie D. McGlothen Jr. , 44, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, was placed in a police car on his head and left there for a prolonged period before being taken to a hospital, where he soon died. The coroner ruled the cause of death as excited delirium. Related post

9/18/20 Remarks delivered by DOJ to State attorney generals emphasize that in today’s online world  it is vital that law enforcement agencies be given lawful access to encrypted communications. As one example the agency offered the crisis of child exploitation, which is facilitated by the ready availability of locked and encrypted cell phones that prevent access even with a search warrant. Related post

At a 9/17 news conference Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said that Mr. Dijon Kizzee was stopped because he had been riding his bike on the wrong side of the street. They added that Mr. Kizzee picked up the gun after dropping it and had it in hand when the deputies opened fire. Related post

9/16/20 An elaborate statement issued by the Department of Justice emphasized the usefulness of facial recognition technology in the fight against crime. DOJ pledged to use the technology, and assure that partner agencies do so, in a manner that “minimizes inaccuracy and unfair biases” and respects the interests of liberty and privacy. Related post

9/15/20 In collaboration with BJA, the IACP established a National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide. One of its first initiatives is an overview of “safe and positive” messaging approaches that agencies, officers, and family members can use to help prevent suicides by law enforcement officers. Related post

9/9/20 Seven Fort Hood soldiers have been murdered since January 2016, and seventy-one have committed suicide. Authorities attribute the grisly toll to  emotional problems, harassment and bullying. A 2009 study suggested various factors, including prior drug and alcohol abuse, involvement in crime and combat experience. Related posts 1 2

An academic study found that lower-income persons and Black and Latino residents of Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Chicago reported far higher levels of financial and health risks from the Covid-19 pandemic than higher-income persons and Whites. Their infection and death rates have also been substantially higher. Many reside in densely populated neighborhoods and are employed in close-contact work such as warehousing and food service where protection measures may be lacking. Related post

9/8/20 DOJ’s COPS office has set aside $4.5 million under its “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program” to fund projects that seek to improve officer mental health and prevent suicide. Related post

9/4/20 Cleveland police detective James Skernivitz, a 22-year veteran, was shot and killed while working with an Operation Legend task force. He was in a vehicle with an drug informant, who was also killed. Three suspects were detained. Related post

9/3/20 Seven Rochester, New York police officers were suspended in the March death of a Black man they encountered as he ran naked through the streets. Forced restraint and use of a spit hood were blamed for causing Daniel T. Prude, 41, to stop breathing. A detailed autopsy listed several contributing factors, including severe heart and lung problems and acute PCP intoxication, and attributed his behavior to excited delirium. Related posts 1 2 3 4

9/3/20 L.A. County prosecutors have so far dismissed seven adjudicated criminal cases that were solely based on the testimony of the three LAPD officers who were charged for falsely labeling persons as gang members. One was the 2016 conviction of a man who denied tossing a gun but ultimately pled guilty. He lost his job and became homeless. His probation was nearly up when the conviction was tossed. Related posts 1 2

9/2/20 Stung by allegations of officer gangs, the L.A. Sheriff’s Dept. is investigating whether deputies falsely reported that two men had shot at them, one in 2016, the other last year. One spent six months in jail before charges were dropped; the other, who accuses deputies of “chasing ink,” eight. Both are suing. In a deposition, a deputy testified that “a lot of times [deputies] either have a hunch or they have information that that person has a gun, but in reality they’ve never seen the gun.” Related post

8/27/20 After serving thirty-seven years for rape and murder, Robert DuBoise is free to go. Convicted in 1983 largely through bite-mark evidence, a recent DNA analysis of the long-missing rape kit excluded DuBoise and identified someone else. Interviewed by the media, the dental expert who pointed the finger at DuBoise conceded that bite marks are far less trustworthy than what was once supposed. DuBoise was originally sentenced to death, but the penalty was reduced to life without parole. Related posts 1 2

8/24/20 Elected on “a progressive platform,” Mike Schmidt, Portland’s new D.A., announced that he will not prosecute minor cases against hundreds of protesters arrested on minor charges. “What we’re doing is recognizing that the right to speak and have your voice heard is extremely important.” That doesn’t mean, he insists, that violence and causing damage will be tolerated. But police aren’t pleased. Related post

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, officers followed a participant in a domestic dispute to his vehicle. They reportedly used a Taser and, as the man entered the car, repeatedly shot him. According to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, “Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.” Unrest spread through the city, and arsons were reported. Related posts 1 2

8/23/20 Portland police officers observed and issued warnings but didn’t step in as right-leaning pro-police “Back the Blue” demonstrators clashed, occasionally violently, with supporters of Black Lives Matter. But police declared an unlawful assembly and moved in to disperse rowdy crowds who threatened a police precinct house and threw objects at officers. Related post

8/21/20 A citizen’s excessive force lawsuit against the LASD includes a deposition by a deputy who had worked at the Compton station. In his statement, the deputy alleges that members of the “Executioners” deputy clique would falsely report observing someone with a gun to provoke a response that might turn up a weapon. Related posts 1 2 3

8/20/20 According to Earl Gray, the lawyer for ex-officer Lane, autopsy results prove that Floyd, who had a pre-existing heart condition, literally “killed himself” with a drug overdose. In videos, Floyd reportedly complained about not being able to breathe well before ex-cop Chauvin pinned him with his knee. “We are going to show that my client and the other cops were doing their jobs” said Gray. Related post

8/19/20 A.G. William Barr cited examples of casework in eight Operation Legend cities. So far most of the Federal arrests are for felons illegally acquiring or possessing firearms, and for the possession or usie of firearms in furtherance of a Federal drug offense or crime of violence. Related posts 1 2

8/15/20 Newly released officer bodycam videos in the George Floyd case. Click here and here.
A new link for Floyd's full autopsy. Click here. Related post

8/14/20 Applying a standard of “strict scrutiny,” a Federal appeals panel ruled, 2-1, that California’s ban on magazines that hold ten or more rounds (i.e., “high-capacity”) violates the Second Amendment.  Mass shootings don’t require such magazines. And state bans won’t necessarily have an effect, since assailants often use multiple firearms and bring in large-capacity magazines from other states. Related posts 1 2

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that twenty-six deputies will be disciplined for engaging in an off-duty brawl that supposedly pitched members of the “Banditos” deputy clique against non-member colleagues. Complaints about prison-like deputy gangs whose leaders rule the roost, act as “shot callers” and dominate their stations have beset the agency. Related posts 1 2 3

Indianapolis, where homicide has reportedly increased by 51 percent, joined DOJ’s “Operation Legend.” The roster now includes Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. Operation Legend commits the ATF, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service “to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence.” Related posts 1 2

8/13/20 A 22-year old man who allegedly harbored a grudge against the family of LeGend Tallifero and had made recent threats was arrested in the child’s killing. He faces murder and weapons charges.
Related post

A tech start-up, Clearview A.I., has assembled a database of “billions” of facial images from the Internet, including from popular services such as Instagram. It uses these to compare against facial images furnished by police to help them identify and track down persons suspected of crime. Several state attorney generals are suing Clearview for violating privacy laws. But the company claims that its activities are protected under the First Amendment. Related post

8/12/20 A UC Berkeley poll of 8,328 California voters reports that about equal proportions (70 and 72 percent, respectively) are satisfied with police but favor redirecting some funds to better deal with the homeless, substance abusers and the mentally ill. Large margins also favor making it easier to sue police, prosecute officers for excessive force, ban chokeholds, and limit the power of police unions. Related post

Twenty major cities report a surge in homicides. Kansas City has been especially hard hit. Many of its killings are unexplainable. Some result from “random, angry” conflicts between citizens who aren’t believed to be currently involved in crime but may be struggling to accept the lockdowns. Related posts 1 2

In the Los Angeles Times, a profile of two brothers, Gadseel and Jose Quiñonez, who are among the persons the three LAPD Metro officers are accused of falsely labeling as  gang members. Both are employed, and neither was ever in a gang. They’ve given their stories to internal affairs. Related posts 1 2

8/11/20 Seattle police chief Carmen Best “abruptly” announced her retirement. Her decision, she said, was influenced by the City Council’s move, without her input, to promptly cut 100 officers from the agency. Staff salaries are also being slashed, and a fifty-percent reduction in funding is being considered. AG William Barr issued a statement regretting her departure: “In the face of mob violence, she drew the line in the sand and said, "Enough!", working tirelessly to save lives, protect her officers, and restore stability to Seattle.” He was apparently referring to the resumption of policing in the Capitol Hill area, where police coverage was discontinued at the Mayor’s direction until violence forced cops to return. Related posts 1 2

 



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



9/27/20 Former officer Thao was repeatedly reprimanded as a cadet for taking shortcuts. He also had six complaints as an officer. Five ended without discipline, and one remained open. A 2014 excessive force complaint was settled with the victim for $25,000, and an internal inquiry was conducted in 2017 about his “expediency and dishonesty,” apparently for trying to avoid writing reports in certain cases.

9/13/20 Prosecutors filed a written notice of their intent to offer evidence that, before his contact with Mr. Floyd, Chauvin had inappropriately used neck restraints on eight occasions since 2014.

9/12/20  Hennepin County District Court hearing (9/11). Chauvin, in custody, charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three officers, out on bond, charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

  • The Judge rejected defense lawyer requests to admit evidence of Floyd’s involvement in a 2019 drug case in Minneapolis and a 2007 drug-related robbery in Texas.
  • Prosecutors asked that the cases against the four officers be consolidated into one trial.
  • Citing local bias, each defense lawyer asked for a change of venue. Each also moved for a dismissal. Chauvin’s lawyer said his client acted carefully and Floyd died from drug intoxication. Kueng’s lawyer (Chauvin’s partner) said what Chauvin did was “reasonable” and that he did not know Chauvin was about to commit a crime. Lane’s lawyer (his client made the initial contact) said Floyd resisted getting out of the car. And the lawyer for the fourth officer, Thao, said his client focused on crowd control and had no input on what otherwise took place.

9/3/20 Seven Rochester, New York police officers were suspended in the March death of a Black man they encountered as he ran naked through the streets. Forced restraint and use of a spit hood were blamed for causing Daniel T. Prude, 41, to stop breathing. A detailed autopsy listed several contributing factors, including severe heart and lung problems and acute PCP intoxication, and attributed his behavior to excited delirium. Related posts 1 2 3 4

8/20/20 According to Earl Gray, the lawyer for ex-officer Lane, autopsy results prove that Floyd, who had a pre-existing heart condition, literally “killed himself” with a drug overdose. In videos, Floyd reportedly complained about not being able to breathe well before ex-cop Chauvin pinned him with his knee. “We are going to show that my client and the other cops were doing their jobs” said Gray.

8/15/20 Newly released officer bodycam videos. Click here and here.
A new link for Floyd's full autopsy. Click here.

Floyd’s final, full autopsy report indicates that a wide assortment of drugs were in his system, including “Fentanyl 11 ng/mL, Norfentanyl 5.6 ng/mL, 4-ANPP 0.65 ng/mL, Methamphetamine 19 ng/mL, 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC 1.2 ng/mL; Delta-9 Carboxy THC 42 ng/mL; Delta-9 THC 2.9 ng/mL, Cotinine positive,  Caffeine positive.” His blood was free of alcohol. Urine was “presumptive positive for cannabinoids, amphetamines, and fentanyl/metabolite” and “morphine (free) 86 ng/mL.”

6/27/20 In the New York Times, a probing portrait of Alex Kueng, the black rookie who was arrested in Floyd’s death. Now out on bail, ex-cop Kueng faces the wrath of both friends and family members.

 



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)


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



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