Modern police forces have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection.
Rob Duke's insight:
My great-grandfather was a cop and the stories I heard tell me that things never change much on the street (25 years later when I was a cop). There are predators who see the rest of us as prey; and, the cops are, for most people, the only protection from these guys and the criminal organizations that they form. The system is such, and has always been such, that if you follow every procedure, rule, policy and law, you would engage in enforcement paralysis. As Kissinger once remarked, he rather naively thought it would be easy to advise a President. What he found was that all the easy questions were answered out in the field in Wichita or Columbus and that the only questions that reached the President were the "damned if you do" types of problems. Cops are faced with this same problem and the policy manuals don't help much in these situations, so it's all judgement calls. Like Alexander, especially under fire, cops often cut the Gordian Knot, and, that is why I say, it's always been and always will be the same in that cops on the line between civilization and savagery are going to be warriors. What we may be lamenting is the loss of a basic adherence to principles that uphold truth and human dignity before anything else. Cops seem to have traded these values for security and justice, which are inferior versions of truth and human dignity. Why has this substitution taken place? For one, the courts have followed a due process, equal protection path for obvious reasons given America's race relations history. But, frankly, it goes back to the Kissinger Paradox that I mentioned above, and the organizational tendency to think we can build a Weberian "iron cage" around every decision and social problem (recall that Max Weber worried that bureaucracy was ultimately too impersonal and would come to be an iron cage). So, to the extent possible, I advocate throwing out the iron cage and the police "proverbs" that support the ideas of security and justice and create some new proverbs that uplift the values of truth and human dignity. For more on this go to our webpage at uaf.edu/justice and read my working paper "The Proverbs of Police Administration". Oh, and let me know what you think...
"If you don't want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground," warns Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police
Rob Duke's insight:
As I mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I think this statement is poorly worded, and even more poorly reported.
Dutta is trying to show the paradox of policing and how cops assert that everyone should "go along with the program" and file complaints afterwards. That's fine, but the folks that complain feel, and are often correct, that they don't have the power to change illegal behavior by following his advice. We allowed "Jim Crow" to exist for a very long time when this was the norm that most of America bought into....no change will occur by "going along".
The French have inspector judges that oversee major cases (it's a Inquisitorial System where the mission to clear the innocent is equal to that of arresting offenders) to ensure fairness. Interestingly, however, the French have an equal distrust of the inspector judges as they do of the police, so I guess we'd have to have someone to police the police that police the police....(say that five times fast).
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,...
Two weeks ago the NYPD sent officers a memo reminding them that "members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions." In fact, "intentional
Rob Duke's insight:
Time, place, and manner. Aristotle advised: "Never pass a law that violates the natural law". This is good advice for cops and for the people that want to record them. For the cops I'd advise that you can't stop a tidal wave: Camera phones are not going away so you may as well figure out how to live with them and the people who want to record you doing your job. For the people who want to record cops, my advice is recognize that there's some natural law that cops are never going to abandon no matter what the courts or the law says. These are: 1. Don't make it harder for me to protect you. When you want to get in my scene and record me, you're in my way and I can't protect you. See I'm not angry at you for recording me, I'm exhibiting the same level of anger as if you were standing on a riverbank testing to see if the flood had undermined the wall enough for you to fall in! Don't put yourself in a dangerous situation, because I'm the one who will probably get killed rescuing your foolish self! 2. Don't make it easier for the bad guy to get away or to kill me. I know you know him and think he's not a bad guy, but I can't read minds and I don't know that (plus, I'm a pessimist and have seen too many formerly "good" and "rational" people turn psycho). When you get in between me and the suspect, hostages get taken; or, I can no longer see what they're doing with their hands (abracadabra a weapon appears); and, don't think being behind me helps either, because now you've divided my attention. Oh, now you're out in front? Great, if this goes bad, I can't shoot at the bad guys because you're in my cross fire....
Do you see why I don't like you standing around in my scene? It has little to do with recording.
When these conditions don't exist and it's just the cops being pissy about recording, my advice is still to the cops to grin and bear it, but otherwise, I think they have a point. Both should use some judgement and make each others' lives easier.
The video shows a summary execution by a police officer — an incident that should not be treated as an anomaly.
Rob Duke's insight:
It looks like Taser and handgun were worn on same side as body. IDK, the department says the shooting was an accident and that seems reasonable--but in the jail setting I think the shooting is reasonable and justified anyway. The cops outside can't get into the secure "Sally Port" to help subdue the guy and the cops inside probably don't have the same radios, so help isn't going to get there fast enough to make a difference. Also, you can't let this guy get away or take your gun inside a jail like this--there's a reason the courts support extreme measures to ensure jail/prison security. I'm Monday morning it, but let me know what you think?
[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...