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Man Ordered At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone For Recording Cops 983

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-shoot-or-we'll-shoot dept.
HungryHobo writes with this excerpt from a story at Pixiq: "Miami Beach police did their best to destroy a citizen video that shows them shooting a man to death in a hail of bullets on Memorial Day. First, police pointed their guns at the man who shot the video, according to a Miami Herald interview with the videographer. Then they ordered the man and his girlfriend out of the car and threw them down to the ground, yelling, 'you want to be f****** paparazzi?' Then they snatched the cell phone from his hand and slammed it to the ground before stomping on it. Then they placed the smashed phone in the videographer's back pocket as he was laying down on the ground."
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Man Ordered At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone For Recording Cops

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  • Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qatz (1209584) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:07PM (#36338376)
    Theft, destruction of private property, destruction of evidence, assault, and I'm probably missing a few.
  • UNacceptable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:08PM (#36338386)

    Yet another example of a government agent stomping on the Constitution. What type of country has this become? One where the government can track, monitor, record, and harass citizens, yet citizens can't even record a public event without being treated as terrorists. Just disgusting.

    Now they should sue and we can all pay for it with an ever increasing tax burden.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:08PM (#36338388)
    The U.S. is much better than China. We are free. [uchicago.edu]
  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:08PM (#36338390)

    ...and cops wonder why we hate them?

  • Fucking pigs. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:11PM (#36338404) Journal

    Fucking pigs.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Soilworker (795251) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:12PM (#36338406)

    Is the US trying a new way of social reinsertion by giving policemen jobs to prisoners with clear psychopath behavior ?

  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:12PM (#36338410)

    It definitely is and assuming that this is a somewhat accurate description of what happened, the police officers involved could easily find themselves behind bars for witness tampering, destruction of evidence amongst other things. And police officers do get sent to prison from time to time for this sort of behavior.

  • by Briareos (21163) * on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:14PM (#36338422)

    Depends on how smashed up the phone was - after a good police trampling I wouldn't be surprised if the battery was already missing and the sd card slot was bent...

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff.gmail@com> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:19PM (#36338452) Homepage Journal

    ...and cops wonder why we hate them?

    They know.

    They just don't care.

  • by dachshund (300733) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:19PM (#36338454)

    What we need is a Federal law with two components:

    1. Establish that it's perfectly legal to film the police doing their job in a public place.
    2. Make it a crime, punishable with serious jail time, for a police officer to intimidate a photographer, confiscate their camera, or return the camera without the images.

    This law should have no exception for "accidents" like phones being smashed or evidence being lost --- any more than we tolerate "accidents" involving children being lost or killed. Police should know that the minute they confiscate a private individual's camera they are putting their careers and their freedom in the balance should anything go wrong.

    Of course none of this would be workable; if Congress actually passed any kind of law it would almost certainly protect the police and not the citizenry; and half of Slashdot would probably object to this being a Federal law rather than a state law or would propose that we adopt a technological/market solution instead.

  • Not an iPhone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afortaleza (791264) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:27PM (#36338508)
    When it says he removed the SD card, you know it's not an iPhone.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:27PM (#36338512) Homepage Journal

    It's not illegal to film them, so you don't need a law explicitly making it legal. What you need is for these thugs to be charged with assault and more.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:30PM (#36338528)

    You sure seem to have assumed a whole lot of shit about me based on nothing.

    For all you know I'm an african-american lesbian. So fuck off.

    Of course, I agree with you about supporting fundamental liberties for everyone. I'm just rather irked at your bullshit assumption that I somehow ever supported doing anything like this to anyone you prejudicial fuck. The only one in this thread ever talking about this having ever been ok is you. Don't go accusing me of what bigger assholes than you (surprising that such could exist) have said.

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:31PM (#36338540)

    There's nothing that should be specific to police officers. Any public servant is accountable to the public for their actions, and has no claim of privacy from the public eye. This needs to be cast in stone, no matter which role the servant is in.

  • by camg188 (932324) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:31PM (#36338542)
    He probably took out the memory card after they put the smashed phone back in his pocket.
    But who knows? If the reporter screwed up facts like 'SIM cards don't store video', who knows what other facts they got wrong in this story.

    Once again, news reporting appears to the be the most technically clueless profession. (and if this video actually exists, I guess the police would be the second).
  • by skywire (469351) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:33PM (#36338554)

    When pigs fly.

  • by brillow (917507) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:38PM (#36338580)

    It should be a crime, punishable with jail time, for an officer to intimidate anyone who is not committing a crime.

    Law enforcement should defer to the citizen, not the other way around. An officer should not use their power to impede a citizen without damn good reason, and they should beg the pardon of the citizen if they are mistaken.

    I've never understood why law enforcement officials are given special deferment when they say accidentally kill someone. I would expect the opposite. I would expect that its ESPECIALLY bad when a trained person who holds and guards the public trust fails at their job and considered criminally egregious when this is the result of gross negligence or incompetence.

    It seems that violent crime goes down every year, yet police budgets go up and up.

  • by JonJ (907502) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:40PM (#36338584)

    Have you ever been in a high adrenaline situation that ended in you shooting and killing someone? Have you ever voluntarily ended someones life? Have you had someone film you whilst you do this? Unless the answer to all of the above is "yes", how about you keep your damning judgements to yourself.

    If the police officer can't handle these situations, I highly suggest they go for an alternate career. Maybe as a garbageman or something that shouldn't involve weapons. Seriously, it might be an extremely stressfull situation when he's shooting at the alleged drug dealer, who allegedly shot back at them. But when this innocent bystander, only being guilty of having a camera, gets guns shoved up in his face, then you aren't fit to take care of justice. If your job as a public servant can't take the scrutiny of someone video taping you as you perform your job, then you have no business being in the line of duty. Please, let the people be able to weed out the bad cops. We need the good ones. So your arguments are basically not relevant, as criticism isn't dependant of having to be in the persons shoes.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@NOsPAm.Gmail.com> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:41PM (#36338606) Homepage Journal

    ...and cops wonder why we hate them?

    The criticism and complaints against these officers is completely justified... they should face charges at a formal hearing for this... but a blanket statement about "we hate cops" makes you look silly and juvenile. Government... federal, state, and local... has become far too powerful. But they're not yet the Nazis you and other perpetually outraged Slashdotters make them out to be.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:49PM (#36338654)

    Seriously, think before you go castrating the public's protective services just because you want to be a dick to a cop and not get punched.

    Videotaping cops or anyone else in a public place is not "being a dick." It's not even illegal in a two-party state like Florida unless there's a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    The cops should not be disempowered from performing their duties, but they should always be mindful that there are serious consequences for breaking the laws they're supposed to be enforcing.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NatasRevol (731260) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:50PM (#36338666) Journal

    New?

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:53PM (#36338688)

    If you're a US citizen, one estimate I've seen is that you're subject to 40,000+ pages of Federal, state, and local laws. You may absolutely rest assured that you have broken more than one of them today, probably before you even got out of bed this morning. As have I.

    Now, who has "something to hide," and who doesn't?

  • by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:53PM (#36338690)

    I guess we should wait until they are the Nazis, huh?

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:54PM (#36338696) Journal
    just a neverending string of isolated incidents and coverups
  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:54PM (#36338698) Homepage Journal

    So, filming a public servant in public doing his job is 'being a dick to a cop' and deserves a punching.

    Good to know that the Gestapo would have had a nice informant in you.

    Mart

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:55PM (#36338706)

    Seriously, think before you go castrating the public's protective services just because you want to be a dick to a cop and not get punched.

    Strange, I don't see anyone being a dick to the cops in that story.

    A guy RECORDING cops ON DUTY during an action ON A PUBLIC STREET ends up with a cop smashing his phone and pointing a gun at him.

    Yeah, blame other people for being dicks to the cops. That makes a lot of sense.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:03PM (#36338756)

    That's OK. I will be sure not to record your beating or shooting when it comes to you.

    Fair enough?

    --
    BMO

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:15PM (#36338804)
    We are free, except for the millions of people who are behind bars; in fact, the US imprisons more people than any other country, including China, and the only countries to even imprison more people than the US were the USSR and Nazi Germany. As if that were not shameful enough, we also imprison a higher proportion of our black population than South Africa did during Apartheid.

    Shameful.
  • Re:herp (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:16PM (#36338810)

    As long as the police officers in question are appropriately punished, it's not the government but agents of the government acting contrary to their intended purpose. If the government does nothing, then the actions of their agents are condoned and the government becomes responsible. We can't expect our government to be perfect anymore than we can expect those that are a part of government to be perfect. We're all human, and the people in government are just as prone to misbehavior as those outside of government (more so, if you believe the "power corrupts..." theory.) What we can expect from our government is that it will hold those that do misbehave accountable for their actions. Until it fails in that duty, it isn't truly corrupt.

    Note that the punishment may be no punishment at all as long as that is determined by a jury of civilians in a court of law.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:18PM (#36338818) Journal
    ok fine, but make the penalty for ANY crime by a police officer against a citizen life in prison if non-violent and death if violent
  • by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:20PM (#36338824)

    I didn't ask them to protect me. They took it upon themselves. They coerce their keep from my paycheck. They can damn well be held to the highest standards of conduct in those circumstances.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:23PM (#36338840)

    You can't make it more against the law such that they won't do it.

    You absolutely can. "Against the law" has nothing to do with convictions and punishment. We entrust (and pay) these police officers to enforce the law, and yet when they clearly break the law it's a LOT harder to get anyone to prosecute, let alone convict them. They'll probably get suspended WITH pay, and at best fired, more likely fined. The chances of them getting convicted of an actual crime are pretty low...

    Make destruction of potential evidence of negligence or abuse by a police officer a felony with mandatory jail time (ie. worse than the original crime) and you will make them think twice. In fact, make felony crimes by police officers equivalent to laws that double sentences for crimes committed with a gun. They have a gun, and if they committed and are convicted of a crime, what's the difference?

  • by lexsird (1208192) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:32PM (#36338880)

    You sir, are a lemming traitor piece of shit. Its fuckheads like you that empower fuckheads like that.

  • by asdbffg (1902686) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:39PM (#36338916)

    the cops could have avoided all that trouble

    Yes, by not shooting people or threatening witnesses at gunpoint.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:40PM (#36338922)
    So the guy who filmed Rodney King receiving a kicking was being a dick? Well, glad to know where you stand on the matter, Officer.
  • by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:44PM (#36338944) Homepage

    the cops could have avoided all that trouble

    Yes, by not shooting people or threatening witnesses at gunpoint.

    But then why would anyone bother to become a cop?

  • by BoberFett (127537) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:47PM (#36338972)

    When these incidents happen, how often do the pigs face real punishment? That doesn't mean desk duty, or leave with pay. I mean life in prison, the kind of thing the rest of us would do for blatantly murdering someone then trying to cover it up by assaulting and threatening witnesses.

    The whole system is corrupt and needs to be flushed.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PyroMosh (287149) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:50PM (#36338984) Homepage

    I had trouble Googling the incident myself until I added "Raymond Herisse" (the name of the man who died) to my searches.

    It turns out he's been IDed as the suspect in an armed robbery attempt from earlier in the weekend and police tried to pull him over (no idea if it's because of the robbery or another reason), but rather than stop, he rammed a police cruiser and tried to run over at least one officer on foot.

    So considering him a threat? Sure. I buy that. If what they say is true he demonstrated that he was a threat.

    But from the video I saw, it seems that they shot at him on a crowded street. The car stops, and cops approach it. Then a few seconds later the 6 or so officers I could see all appear to not just fire, but unload their guns into the car.

    Did the suspect draw a weapon? That would explain that kind of action, but the video I saw doesn't show that.

    I can imagine a scenario where the cops do everything right and bystanders get hit when shots are fired. I can perhaps even forgive them for unloading their weapons. Adrenalin, and all that. I've never been there. Still, all the stars have to be aligned perfectly for me to believe that 4 bystanders got hit and it happened with the cops doing everything right.

    Nothing however explains the confiscation of cameras and assaulting of bystanders. There *is* no reason I can dream up that is anything other than a criminal act on the part of the police.

    The ACLU is investigating apparently, and rightly they should.

    Even more troubling, is I can find no evidence that any officers have even been suspended. Though apparently there were officers from multiple departments involved.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:53PM (#36339008)

    You're making it too complicated. Any crime by a police officer should be death. On duty or off.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @07:55PM (#36339020)

    And yet people who could currently leave if they put their minds to it continue to live in the USA.

    An image of a frog in warming water comes to mind.

  • by Arker (91948) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:00PM (#36339054) Homepage

    Here in the US we fought a very bloody and painful war which all the oddsmakers gave us absolutely 0 chance of winning to gain our independence, and one of the major reasons we did that was because of warrantless searches. We have a fourth amendment for a reason. If a law is impossible to enforce without warrantless searches (laws attempting to regulate peaceful private behaviour generally are) then it's a bad law and it shouldnt be enforced anyway.

  • by hjf (703092) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:12PM (#36339114) Homepage

    Well, of course China has few prisoners. They just execute the "bad apples", even if they didn't actually commit the crime. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_China#Crimes_punishable_by_death [wikipedia.org]

  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:16PM (#36339134) Journal
    The real trick is to post everything directly to "The Cloud". Yes, yes, I hate the term as much as the average /.-er, but in this case it's extraordinarily useful. Destroying the device doesn't destroy the data, and you also have a record of the destruction. There's a good reason for decent systems to keep off-site (ideally off-continent) records.
  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CrazyDuke (529195) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:45PM (#36339254)

    I'm willing to consider moving. But, could you kindly point me in the direction of an English speaking country that is, well, not going in this direction or already there? Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand all seem to be in varying states of going down the loo. I know broken bits of French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. But, nothing I can get by on.

  • by Arker (91948) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:53PM (#36339298) Homepage

    Reliable statistics would obviously be very difficult to generate, if you can find anything approximating such I would love to see it.

    But just to be clear, I am not in any way implying that 95% of cops in this country are actively corrupt as in going out shooting people just because they can or the like. What I *am* saying seems to be true, is that 95% of cops WILL comply with the 'blue line' nonsense and refuse to do their duty and/or actively obstruct justice to defend the bad cops. I have seen how this is deeply encultured in our law enforcement officers, and even though I can understand and even sympathise with those officers, the fact is that it is THOSE officers - not the handful of hard-core bad apples, but the masses of 'thin blue line' believers who may do little or nothing wrong otherwise, that make the problem so intractible.

    Think about the story behind this article. From reading both the links, it seems that it was mainly a single policeman who was the active culprit here, committing a number of crimes under color of law (assault, battery, destruction of property, evidence-tampering, just at a glance) and it might be tempting to jump out and claim he is just one bad apple and it doesnt reflect on the rest of the force. But there were a large number of police on the scene to witness his crime!

    It was the large number who stood by and did nothing effective to stop the 'bad apple' - who in a true law and order state would have placed HIM under arrest on the spot, but who, in our world, will instead look the other way and claim afterwards not to have seen the incident - without those supposedly good cops to enable him, the bad cop wouldnt last long at all. That was what I was trying to point out.

  • meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hellop2 (1271166) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @09:29PM (#36339450)
    Sounds just like every run-in I've ever had with police. I've even videotaped the cops beating the shit out of my friends. The only thing that ever amounted to was my friends not being convicted of Obstruction of Justice, Disobeying a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest, Interfering with an Investigation. And, maybe a couple cops quit the force.

    It was funny when they played the video in court and the Judge looks over at the prosecutor and said, "Don't you hate when that happens? Case dismissed."

    But the cops were never convicted of anything. Not even the local lawyers in my town want to take on the cops.

    p.s. I remember the time a cop, with his foot stuck in my door over a noise complaint, grabbed my arm and said, "That's it, you're under arrest." I yanked my hand back and said, "Fuck you, get off my property, you're trespassing." Oh there was also the time that same cop just busted into my house (also a noise complaint) with his arm extended pointing a can of pepper spray at me... I ran into the kitchen where there was like 20 people. The cop eventually put away the pepper spray and walked away... knowing he would have sprayed everyone. Oh there's also the time a cop said I did a 360 on my motorcycle going 50mph, and when I stopped put my hands on my head, and sat down Indian-style, he beat me repeatedly with his baton.. so obviously I got a resisting arrest charge... dismissed, thankfully. Oh and a few months ago when I got a ticket for driving on a learner's permit with no licensed driver... though there was a licensed driver in the car, and I haven't had a learners permit for 15 years... I appealed that and.... inexplicably, lost. I could go on and on.
  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @09:58PM (#36339590)

    "Arresting someone if you aren't a police officer would be kidnapping. If a speeder simply could escape by driving 10 mph over the speed limit and the cop never being able to catch up then it would be all but impossible to enforce speed limit laws."

    which would be a fine argument if they weren't explicitly allowed to do those things.
    Police are granted a great deal of additional rights and powers to enforce the law.
    It's only sensible that they should be punished more severely if they abuse that power.

    this isn't "whoops, I lost control of the police car during a high speed chase and hurt someone" or "damn, I aimed at the bad guy but missed and hit some poor sod"

    this is explicitly attacking someone and trying to destroy evidence.
    That isn't a little mistake.
    That isn't something that just happens when you're trying to enforce the law.

    You can give your witness report 10 minutes later somewhere private, on the other hand if a cop was beating the shit out of you for the crime of being black then you'd probably welcome the guy with the video camera.

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @09:59PM (#36339596)

    Officers like this need to be made examples of. If not by judges, then by citizens.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:00PM (#36339598) Homepage Journal

    the cops could have avoided all that trouble

    Yes, by not shooting people or threatening witnesses at gunpoint.

    But then why would anyone bother to become a cop?

    There're still plenty of drug dealers to shake down and prostitutes to extort free sex from.

    LK

  • by shipofgold (911683) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:04PM (#36339616)

    Obviously the other extreme is when all regulation disappears and the sharks feast on the small fish. The rich get richer and the gap between rich and poor grows enormously. As a student of history you also understand what happens next.....The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and today the Arab Spring....Don't think for a moment that any of those societies ended up better off.

    Unfortunately those who want to cut all the social programs which attempt to equalize society, also want to spend the most on big brother technologies to keep the masses in line. I would rather pay my share to make sure people are not hungry, and have at least adequate medical care. Go visit India sometime if you want to see a society that has no social safety net....not a pretty sight seeing kids grow up under underpasses.

  • by Artifakt (700173) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:32PM (#36339742)

    See, you were making a pretty good argument, and then you threw in this:

    Is anyone willing to *personally* take a good working-over by government thugs in exchange for another social program? (emphasis mine).

    It's not the social programs that empower the goon squads. The US government currently has 17 civilian agencies that have agents empowered to carry fully automatic weapons. There is a line item in the federal budget equal to about half the overall FBI budget, and it goes just to pay for the FBI running rifle, grenade launcher, and even rocket launcher training ranges for all the other security related agencies. Those are not the social services agencies that have the police like powers. A person from the department of health and human resources may be able to take one of your kids away, but at least he or she can't shoot you in the head to stop you from getting a lawyer and fighting it. The BATF, DEA, and 15 other police/security related agencies most definitely can.

    Right now, you can take the amount that goes to Israel out of the foreign aid budget, and half the rest is directed by the DEA. For example, we give multiple squadrons of assault helicopters to Columbia to 'help stamp out Cocaine trafficking, add attack helicopters and air to ground Hellfire missiles to protect them, current elite grade scrambling to keep the drug lords from overhearing their communications, and many other forms of support, and then all their neighbors worry about what happens if Columbia uses all those neat toys for something besides the war on drugs, so we have to give the rest of Central America weapons too. If they don't have enough Cocaine growers to justify putting it in the DEA budget, we put it in foreign aid, earmarked to be spent only buying weapons from US based corporations. Then we have right wing radio show hosts frequently stress how foreign aid is all a liberal waste of money. (Yeah, because the Liberals are the ones who support a huge war on drugs.). Many of us strongly suspect there's still funding for covert ops hidden in the social services side of the budget, but it's a pretty safe bet nobody in, say, the National Endowment for the Arts is hiding money in the Military/Security part of the budget. The reverse however, is false - it has now been openly admitted that the CIA funneled money through the Nat. Endowment for the Arts for covert ops in the 1950s and 60s.

      Please don't fall for the idea that we have to cut social services to control the government - the power and arrogance they contribute to the whole is so trivial compared to the effects of all those agencies grouped under homeland security that eliminating all social spending would probably have less effect on the nation's slide into fascism than finding out why anyone else in the Treasury department, besides the Secret Service, needs full auto weapons training. (I'm willing to grant we need something like a Secret Service to protect various officials from nutcases - but why does a guy who's full time job description is to investigate insider trading, a guy who is required to be a CPA before qualifying for the job, but need have absolutely no military or law enforcement background, need to qualify on a M16-A4 assault rifle with under-mounted M203 grenade launcher?). Multiply that by all the agents for BATF that are not investigating firearms or even the few remaining old fashioned stills in the Kentucky hills, but need them for all those cases where someone is smuggling cigarettes without tax stamps - surely a few pistols or assistance from a federal marshall or two would be enough to handle such cases. Multiply by all the small towns that now have used federal grants for SWAT teams even if the most serious crime in a typical year there is likely to be a bar fight.

  • by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:42PM (#36339788)
    Any government big enough to have local police forces is big enough to do this. There's a reason we talk about "police states" rather than "bureaucrat states" or "social worker states". This has nothing to do with big government or little government--police brutality would still be a problem in a minarchist state.
  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:49PM (#36339828) Homepage

    No, you misunderstand.

    Yes, he was driving a weapon. But you clearly misunderstand the narrative that makes this not make sense unless he drew a weapon or made some other overt threatening action.

    Here is the video:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ef7_1306812064 [liveleak.com]

    The video sucks though, so let me explain what I see blow by blow. I may be wrong, about some of this as it's hard to see.

    The video starts, and I can't even see the car.
    At about 3 seconds shots ring out. The source of them is unclear, but there is on report of shots coming from anywhere other than the officers.

    At about 5 seconds the car halts near the intersection on the right.

    Men approach the car cautiously with guns drawn. Presumably they are the police.

    The officers surround the car which is now stopped. There is no additional sign of activity. The car doesn't move any further.

    Then at 1:13ish many, many shots ring out. Far more than the number of shots that rang out before. Definitely multiple officers discharging lots of rounds.

    The question is why? What were they reacting to?

    Reiterating what I said before: If what the suspect supposedly did is true, and the cops are telling the truth that he fled and tried to run them over and refused to stop one can make the argument that the shots at 0:03 could have been justified.

    But no shots were fired again until 1:13, and then they unloaded. What changed? If he didn't draw a weapon or make an overt threat, there's no reason. He had been stopped. The shots at 0:03 either hit him, or scared him into stopping.

    I have no idea what the first half of your second paragraph is talking about. Sadly, I suspect that there have been too many journalists killed in war zones recently to know which "Reuters guy" you are referring to.

    That said, I suspect your analysis of why this happened may be pretty close to the mark. Something along the lines of:

    Stressed cops from this big, hard to control event get confronted with a real threat: an officer is nearly run down in a motor vehicle stop. Everyone's on edge, and the suspect is trying to get away. A gunfight ensues. Everyone is keyed up. And bad calls get made.

    Further evidence of this is that there was another shooting later in the same night. A female officer who claims a different suspect was trying to run her over too.

    It's not an excuse, or a defense. But I think this didn't just happen. These cops were driven to an edge. They did what they thought they had to do, but then they took things too far. I suspect a lot of these things happen in similar ways.

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:55PM (#36339844)

    It's not the social programs that empower the goon squads.

    If there wasn't so much government to protect, there wouldn't be as many goons. If the government didn't control the amount of wealth necessary to pay for social programs, they couldn't pay for as many goons. Money going into government coffers gets used for whatever those in power want, regardless of what any Constitutional Amendment, law, regulation, or politician promises.

    So, yes. More wealth...even for social programs...controlled by government means more resources for the government to use against the people's interests. Where's that Social Security "lockbox'? Outside of what's collected from current wage earners to pay current recipients, how much is *not* government IOUs in the form of Treasury Notes etc?

    The government wanted that SS money and took it. Just as it will any other wealth it wants...unless enough people stand up and demand the madness stop.

    Strat

  • Re:Ahhh crime. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @12:07AM (#36340114)

    Back when the Soviet Union still existed, the US had to keep up the facade of a liberal, free country where you may be what and how you want to be, where your privacy and your rights are protected by the government and not trampled on

    To be fair, though, this was also the era of Hoover's FBI and the Red Scare. We had no business claiming to be any better than the Soviets as long as we had institutions with names like the "House Unamerican Activities Committee."

    There's plenty of stupid fascist bullshit going on today in America and I'm never reluctant to bitch about it on Slashdot... but honestly, I suspect things were even worse for most of the country's modern history. Don't let a misplaced sense of nostalgia obscure the progress that has been made over the last several decades.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:09AM (#36340576) Homepage

    The goons are busy protecting private property and the wealthy who own them. Absent the government, they'd skip the middle man and simply hire goons to get rid of people they find disagreeable with a lot more impunity.

    "Government" is a discrete collection of programs, not a mass noun.

  • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bye (87770) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @06:38AM (#36341440)

    Just wondering, you said in your first comment that a cop came in over a noise complaint, and you also said:


    I ran into the kitchen where there was like 20 people.

    So the kitchen had 20 people already - were you partying? How late was it?

    What I'm trying to get at, was the noise complaint, by any chance, justified?

    Even well intentioned cops will do a lot of weird shit if they think they are rightfully protecting others from you .

  • by martyros (588782) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @10:07AM (#36342330)

    But then why would anyone bother to become a cop?

    You've put your finger on the source of the inevitable problem. Given the job, you're guaranteed to get this kind of person showing up at least occasionally; just like you get BOfH sysadmins, Wall Street attracts get-rich-quick schemers, the lawsuits attract ambulance-chasers.

    The critical question isn't whether these things happen; they will. The critical question is how they organization responds. What will happen to these police, and the department that they work for? Will they be fired and never allowed to work in law enforcement again? Will there be a review of the attitudes of the police department to see if there are other systematic violations of rights, or a failure to provide adequate training or incentives to uphold the law (rather than abuse it for personal gain)? Or will they be given a slap on the wrist, and business continue as usual?

    If there are consequences, then it won't be as attractive to this kind of person; or, this kind of person will control themselves because they know there will be consequences. If there aren't consequences, you're going to attract a whole lot more of this kind of person.

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