Events in Ferguson expose US law enforcement's longstanding abandonment of its founding ethical principles. Rebuilding relationships with the people we've harmed won't come easily.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is too simplistic an argument for a complex problem. As William Ker Muir pointed out in his 1979 "Police: Street-Corner Politicians", the Power of the Sword is only one part of the problem facing communities and the officer charged with maintaining public safety and keeping the peace. Equally powerful and also subject to abuse are the Power of the Word; and the Power of the Purse. Until we give equal time to media scrutiny, peace marches, and riots to these power abuses, we'll never solve this problem. Communities need economic investment and jobs, they need to build capacity to reclaim the social organization that can tame the deviant subculture that tolerates the underground economy and the resultant selfish behaviors that undermine civil society and the rule of law. However, as long as political rhetoric justifies when economic investment are withheld from these communities, nothing significant will change. So, whenever we attack the Power of the Sword (and we should remain vigilant to this type of abuse), we should give equal examination and critique to the abuses of the Power of the Word and those of the Power of the Purse.
Muir, William Ker, Police: Street-Corner Politicians, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1979.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released cell phone footage Wednesday of the police shooting of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man killed on Tuesday in St. Louis, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
Grammy-winning rapper Nelly told Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday that law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, had lost the trust of the community an...
Rob Duke's insight:
Brown is a symbol...symbols are often chosen like similes for similarities, but not for a perfect fit. Brown symbolizes broken trust, though now it begins to look as if the evidence may show that the officer reasonably feared for his safety.
There was really only one story that John Oliver could devote his main story to on Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight. And while he got in quite a few jokes in his long segment about Ferguson, Missouri, and the militarization of American police departments, he began solemnly and ended in anger.
After a decade of sending military equipment to civilian police departments across the country, federal officials are reconsidering the idea in light of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Continue reading →
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon early Monday ordered the National Guard deployed to Ferguson, where another night of violence saw police pelted with bottles and Molotov cocktails and looters rampaging through local businesses.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The friend who was with Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by a police officer near St. Louis over the weekend is reportedly confirming that he and Brown had taken part in the theft
Sunil Dutta, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and adjunct instructor of homeland security at Colorado Technical University, has a suggestion for victims of police violence searching for someone to blame: Look in the mirror.
Rob Duke's insight:
A misleading headline. Dutta might want to rethink the way he explains this concept. While I agree, it's a simple request to comply on the scene and then go to the station and complain; the other side also has a legitimate complaint that nothing changes with that approach (as we saw under Jim Crow through the civil rights era and even until today); and, furthermore, it's a slippery slope to merely comply because the government tells you to do so. Is there a solution? Officers have some reasonable expectation to safety and citizens have a reasonable expectation to have an authentic way to challenge police actions. Without proof of the circumstances, it becomes a case of dueling perceptions. Did the officer have the requisite alchemy of sometimes nebulous ingredients sufficient to satisfy the demands of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause? It depends on the circumstances, time, place, manner of the activity, even the training and experience of the officer factors in. Frankly, no citizen is ever going to have all this info (or be qualified to evaluate), nor is it reasonable for us to ask officers to delay officer safety concerns (e.g. pat down searches for weapons, warrant checks, etc.) long enough to satisfy a citizen that a stop is based upon legitimate probable cause and not racial profiling--nor could we expect there to be agreement under the stress and emotion of the real-time detention. Given these circumstances, I propose one not-so-novel solution; and one solution not generally under discussion. First the not-so-novel solution: 1. Improve evidence gathering and storage through the use of recording devices: belt recorders, livescribe pens, body cameras (where available), vehicle cameras. Furthermore, a system to routinize the collection and preservation of this evidence needs to be designed, built and funded, so that all agencies/communities, regardless of fiscal resources, can be protected equally. Now, for the novel solution: 2. Engage in a three-part approach to dispute resolution and restoration: Part I: enlist experts (each community has candidates possessing skills or who can be trained) familiar with community visioning and team building to create dialogue and design systems to begin removing saddle burrs, extracting thorns, dislodging the wedges of discontent in communities. These issues include not just problems associated with what Muir calls the "Power of the Sword"--though coercive power is certainly the most visible police problem--but we must also pay particular attention to the "Power of the Purse", the under-investment in communities that sustains the need and existence of underground economies based upon contraband and vice, and, the "Power of the Word", that enables all sorts of verbal and political dirty dealings (rent-seeking behaviors) to mask inequities and impotent attempts to remedy the myriad of problems that lie at the root of any major community disgruntlement. We're foolish to think that, Ferguson, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. are experiencing unrest only because the cops are engaging in racial profiling. Dispute Resolution only works if we blast the problem with sunshine so that all problems are addressed on something resembling equal footing, whether these be problems of the sword, the word, or the purse. Part II: capacity must be built so that everyone has access to Dispute Resolution systems. This means that we need to find funding for system design and mediation centers that can resolve problems in real time--not the years civil and criminal courts often need to process cases (though courts are, of course, still needed for serious cases and as the appellate process for more informal programs of dispute resolution). We can't expect ADR to work if we don't design, implement, fund, evaluate, tweek, and perform expert analysis to improve theoretical understandings of what works and what doesn't. Part III: community leaders, including the cops, must be trained in Dispute System Design and Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques. It's not enough to find a vision and restore goodwill (Part I), nor develop a plan to capture the promise of good intentions as concrete goods to be shared by all (Part II), we must also teach people, encourage them, and provide time, public spaces, private meeting spaces, and other resources to actually embrace the concept of restoring their communities through dispute resolution.
The three-minute video posted Monday on radio station KYUK’s web site and Facebook page shows an altercation Friday between a man and two officers in which he rushes them with a baseball bat, swings at an officer who had fallen, and ends up on the ground himself. Alaska State Troopers, who are investigating the incident, say the man was shot.
One problem with police departments' body-mounted cameras has been the cost—expenses can mount in the storage and management of the data they generate.
Rob Duke's insight:
Problems: 1. Storage cost; 2. reliability (technology is new and fragile); 3. reliability (software/hardware, but assumption when data lost may be that cops are covering up; 4. cameras only capture one angle and the human eye and head can capture nearly 360 degrees, thus a perceived threat may not be captured on camera; 5. rules on discoverability (criminal and civil cases) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests--what do we release and when? How does that impact victim confidentiality and/or informants?
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards—regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity—in order to reduce loss of life, property and harm to the environment.
Rob Duke's insight:
NIMS provides a central meeting place for all interest holders (including community and press liaison).
I'm going to call this the "J J Video" because a sharp Treeper catches the background conversation within a video of the Mike Brown shooting scene. The video was uploaded by a U-Tube account "Blac...
Rob Duke's insight:
This is why everyone gets interviewed...even the folks who said they didn't see anything. Also, everything gets recorded--that way later all the interviews, audio, video can be reviewed by the D.A./I.G./etc. and witness statements can be impeached if public opinion has swayed "memories".