Darren Wilson is the subject of a fascinating profile in the New Yorker this week, in which he reveals what his life was like in the days after he shot Michael Brown dead, as well as what his life is like now.
Throughout Jake Halpern’s piece, Wilson seems somehow both keenly aware of the racial dynamics of his statements and insensitive to the point of defiance when it comes to the implications of them. For example, when discussing the possibility that members of the black community don’t trust police officers because of a legacy of brutality, he quickly dismissed the validity of such claims.
“I am really simple in the way that I look at life,” he said. “What happened to my great-grandfather is not happening to me. I can’t base my actions off what happened to him.”
“We can’t fix in thirty minutes what happened thirty years ago,” he continued. “We have to fix what’s happening now. That’s my job as a police officer. I’m not going to delve into people’s life-long history and figure out why they’re feeling a certain way, in a certain moment.”
By way of explanation, he claimed that “[w]hen a cop shows up, it’s, like, ‘The cops are here!’ There’s no ‘Oh, shit, the white cops are here!’”
“Everyone,” he said, “is so quick to jump on race. It’s not a race issue.”
For Wilson, the issue is poverty — and a lack of discipline among poor people, the majority of whom just happen to be black. “There’s a lack of jobs everywhere,” he said, “but there’s also lack of initiative to get a job. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
What's striking about these cases—aside from the officers' limited understanding of the laws they're entrusted to enforce—is how flimsy the pretext can be to pull someone over. The grounds cited for stopping drivers included entering an intersection when the light was yellow; or having, on the back of a car, a trailer hitch; or having, in the front of a car, an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror—you know, the ones shaped like pine trees, the ones so ubiquitous that the president of the Car-Freshner Corporation once told the New York Times Magazine: "We've sold billions of trees. Probably right up there with the number of hamburgers McDonald's sells."
In February, in a case involving a traffic stop over a dangling parking pass, D. Arthur Kelsey, then a judge on Virginia's Court of Criminal Appeals, wrote: "So dense is the modern web of motor vehicle regulations that every motorist is likely to get caught in it every time he drives to the grocery store." And now, he wrote, "reasonable suspicion justifying the seizure of citizens will be found even if police officers are mistaken concerning the law as long as their testimony includes magic words such as 'I thought . . . I believed . . . I mistakenly believed . . . I suspected . . . I mistakenly suspected . . .' or as in this case, the officer just doesn't really know one way or the other."
Rob Duke's insight:
Good faith exception was once held to mistakes made by judges, but this is a fairly broad extension.
1. Defining and interpreting the meaningful outside
2. Answering, time and again, the two-part question, What business are we in and what business are we not in?
3. Balancing sufficient yield in the present with necessary investment in the future
4. Shaping the values and standards of the organization
Rob Duke's insight:
Numbers 1, 2, and 4 sound suspiciously like Chester Barnard's advice from 1938's Functions of the Executive. Chet also noted that the organization is a negotiation between the needs of the organization and the needs of its employees....
Police leaders should also engage their organizations using these same management principles.
Perhaps you haven't noticed a certain commonality among many of the recent violent incidents involving police officers and racial minorities: The troubles often arose from enforcement or investigation of petty offenses. Yes, laws are laws, and even relatively piddling ordinances should be obeyed. But when enforcement of petty stuff falls inordinately on certain populations and is calculated mainly to generate revenues for the municipality, something is wrong.
Rob Duke's insight:
Like it or not, Whren is the law and the Supreme Ct. said that they don't care how Chicken Shit the probable cause is as long as the officer has it. So, the problem isn't revenue, usually, it's the fact that people are being wound up to believe the cops aren't allowed to do something that the courts clearly said was allowed. My colleagues and I argued for a better standard last year in the following article:
A 37-year-old Mongols motorcycle club member will stand trial for the October killing of a Pomona police officer, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday.Judge M.L. Villar agreed to add a special gang allegation to the capital murder
Yeah, so what? They also have 5.08 M people in the whole country. That's not even one of our big cities....
We'd expect Norway to have had about 9.5 deaths in that same time based solely on population, but culture is also important. We can't compare a relatively homogeneous culture without the history of racial strife and economic strain to the U.S. culture.
Medina should have called for medical help when Trujillo slid to the floor. And he could have prevented the fight by asking for another officer's help or by allowing her to keep her shoes and belt by appointing some to monitor her in the cell, documents said.
Rob Duke's insight:
Always get help, but not too much help or we'll say you ganged up....
IDK, she pled guilty to assault on an officer for the kick in the face and the spitting (when they had trouble with her in the back of a patrol car), what do you think about this level of punishment?
What started off as an innocuous query from my leader soon became a chance to explore and grow myself as an individual contributor at a deeper leadership level -- someone who doesn't need a hierarchy, department or budget to make an organizational impact.
There’s growing evidence that conventional performance reviews are not working. According to a CEB analysis, organizations can only improve employee performance 3% to 5% using standard performance management approaches. Last fall, 53% of human resources professionals in a Society for Human Resource Management study gave a grade between B to C+ when rating how their organization managed performance reviews. Only 2% gave an A to their organization. As a result of findings like these, some companies are doing away with annual performance reviews altogether.
Rob Duke's insight:
The goods, the bads, in 10 minutes or less....
Sandwich bad between good, then let employee respond: you're done.
It's better than the rote that most evaluations become....
In a scathing 60-page report, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division says the St. Louis County Family Court has engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of children caught up in the juvenile justice system.
Rob Duke's insight:
Yup, our dirty little secret is that the prosecution and court system are just as biased as the cops, but we have no riots because people don't have access to the courts in the same ways as the cops; and, courts have procedures to stand behind that mask the way the system operates in unfair ways:
1. who gets bail?
2. who gets good lawyers?
3. what happens if you get a good lawyer?
4. do some members of the defense bar have more clout than others?
5. who gets offered plea bargains?
6. who get the best plea deals?
7. who get squeezed to become informants (with the prosecutors consent)?
8. who gets property taken from them (and which is shared with the prosecutor)?
These are just some of the systems that act in a biased manner in the aggregate that pass muster because they follow due process, which doesn't mean equality....
At the last count there were 657,000 Russians behind bars, one of the world’s highest ratios of prisoners to population. “Our current, vile law-enforcement system”, she says, “still grinds people to a pulp and spits them out into their graves.” The frequency of deaths in custody amounts to a “Russian Ebola”. Tuberculosis is the commonest killer, she says, followed by HIV-AIDS, which may affect 75,000 prisoners. The offences for which Russians are most often imprisoned, she says, concern drugs.
..there's that 2 seconds when the prehistoric lizard guy is running your brain when the logical side is screaming stop and that lizard guy isn't listening to anything. I was at the Sacramento zoo and saw this mountain lion behind a glass wall pacing along back and forth: about every five minutes (time enough for the crowd to get bored and change places), the lion would lunge at the glass. Even though the glass was there and everyone's logical brain told them the lion couldn't get them, you should have seen them scatter (he got me, too, that's why I stood around to watch). It didn't matter for that first two seconds, though. People trampled children. Parents abandoned their kids. Big tough soldier dudes were practically hanging from the rafters they jumped so far. In the shootings I've been in (pretty minor), I experienced this muscle memory or lizard brain or whatever you want to call it. When I watch the video, that's what I think of....
• An officer who suddenly begins taking unnecessary risks on and off duty • A shift in attitude and demeanor, like a change from motivated and professional behavior to apathetic and flippant • Statements of hopelessness like, “None of this really matters anyway. I don’t even know why we try out here. We can’t really do anything anyway. This is a losing battle and I’m tired of it.” • Loss of interest in recreational things the officer used to like to do previously • The sudden use of “terminal”-type comments like, “Hey, you’ll take care of my family if something happens to me and I’m not here anymore, right?” or “Listen, if I end up dead I want you to make sure you tell so and so such and such,” etc. • Noticeable physical changes: weight loss, lack of usual hygiene, an exhausted appearance, etc. • Increased drinking or signs of drug use
The officer then asked Wilson for his ID. When Wilson asked for it back, the officer allegedly told him to step out of the car and he would give it to him. That's when Wilson said he started recording the encounter on his cellphone. The 30-second video, which shows the officer using foul language, went viral.
Rob Duke's insight:
The cops feel like they need to be able to go after the guys causing more problems--even when they don't have the probable cause (they apparently did on the passenger), but it seems that society is worried that cops will then not be constrained to be able to harass whoever they want...in the meantime, cops have to keep working; or there will be hell to pay from angry Mayor, City Manager, Chief and other middle managers.
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