[I recently read] the latest from Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, an internal memorandum dated May 12, 2014, titled: “New Department Policy Concerning Electronic Recording of Statements.” The memo was reported in major print and electronic media, where it was hailed as “a major shift” that “[brings] the federal government in line with the practices in many state and local jurisdictions.” While the new policy may appear to be a departure from the long-established no-recording mandate followed by federal agents and prosecutors alike, a careful read of the missive sent out by the Deputy Attorney General, James Cole, proves that the exception often overwhelms the rule.
The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cell phone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away. You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cell phone.
A Chicago police commander frequently praised by Supt. Garry McCarthy for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.
Rob Duke's insight:
Police work is a "warrior" culture and managers perceived as "warriors" get more from their employees (Roberts, 1990). It's hard to imagine putting ones gun in a suspect's mouth as being justified (or even tactically sound), but I'm interested in seeing the facts. This sounds like someone has been watching too much TV, I just don't know at this point whether the cops are "red-lining" (e.g. having spent too much time in high violence areas; or just too much time seeing humans hurt humans can do that); or whether a bad guy is getting creative (yes, they do lie and they often do so in blatant ways). I just hope the prosecutor has a good case and isn't posturing for reelection.
Roberts, Wes, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Business Plus, 1990.
CNN aired newly released audio last night that purports to capture the gunshots that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month. A man who asked not to be identified reportedly lives in a building near the location where the shooting unfolded. He was on a video...
Here's an example of soft power. See Jeffrey Pfeffer and Joseph Nye on the use of power. Pfeffer (Stanford) emphasizes power in business settings and Nye (Harvard) focuses on foreign policy aspects of power, but in my work, I look at the common spaces as a common pool resource to be conserved and managed. My assertion, and one of the main themes of JUST 345, is that hard power will isolate a portion of the population polices. If these folks are disempowered, they will become a force of resistance (e.g. refuse to be witnesses, create norms that question the legitimacy of police, etc.). It's much better to enlist the input of these folks long before the Ferguson-like incident so that the police and community share visions, goals, values, and trust.
Massachusetts State Police apologized Monday after they first accused an individual of fabricating evidence showing a distasteful bumper sticker on one of their police vehicles. Chris Kantos, who was walking in Boston Sunday morning, came across an official police cruiser when he noticed a bumper sticker attached to...
Rev. Al Sharpton had harsh words for the black community on Monday during the funeral for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month. Sharpton said the "bad apples" must be taken care of within American police departments,...
A status popped up on my personal feed today. It was posted by a good family friend, an Oklahoma deputy who is an amazing husband and daddy to three little ones. Like many little boys who have a...
Rob Duke's insight:
Sad, but true, most cops I know try to discourage our children from following in our footsteps. Most of us would do it over again and would do it for free if we had a major depression and we collectively couldn't pay our cops a full wage, yet we wouldn't wish the heartaches and headaches on our worst enemies. Isn't that a paradox?
The United States has no database of police shootings. There is no standardized process by which officers log when they've discharged their weapons and why. There is no central infrastructure for handling that information and making it public.
After resisting for decades, Major League Baseball has adopted instant replay on nearly all disputed calls, providing a transparent and public view of
Rob Duke's insight:
There should be some authority outside departments to audit these recordings, but I'm not sure our media is the right entity. When the press was free and not dominated by two or three big corporations, it might have made sense, but today sensationalism seems to be more important than truth and justice. On the other hand, we may never hear the end of this until we do just open up the files. If that's what we collectively decide, then Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are just another cost center that must be accounted for when we figure out how to finance video, maintenance/repairs, storage, and dissemination for court, discovery, and FOIA requests. Few departments are currently prepared for this and most small departments couldn't begin to afford the costs associated with this mostly new function.