#1 Cigars, But Not Close, (An alternate view from Mark Steyn)
08-18-2014, 12:59 AM
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- Jun 2008
Cigars, But Not Close
by Mark Steyn
Steyn on America
August 15, 2014
The "narrative" of Ferguson, Missouri changed somewhat today. But, amid the confusion, the blundering stupidity of the city's police department remains consistent.
This morning the Police Chief, Thomas Jackson, released security-camera shots of the late Michael Brown apparently stealing a five-dollar box of cigarillos from a convenience store. So the 18-year old shot dead by Chief Jackson's officer was no longer a "gentle giant" en route to college but just another crappy third-rate violent teen n'er-do-well.
This afternoon, the chief gave a second press conference. Why would he do that? Well, he'd somehow managed to create the impression in his first press conference that the officer who killed Mr Brown was responding to the robbery. In fact, that was not the case. The Ferguson policeman was unaware that Brown was a robbery suspect at the time he encountered him and shot him dead. Which is presumably why Chief Jackson was leaned on to give his second press conference and tidy up the mess from the first. So we have an officer who sees two young men, unwanted for any crime, walking down the middle of the street and stops his cruiser. Three minutes later one of them is dead.
On the other hand, Jackson further confused matters by suggesting that he noticed Brown had cigars in his hand and might be the suspect.
It's important, when something goes wrong, to be clear about what it is that's at issue. Talking up Michael Brown as this season's Trayvonesque angel of peace and scholarship was foolish, and looting stores in his saintly memory even worse. But this week's pictures from Ferguson, such as the one above, ought to be profoundly disquieting to those Americans of a non-looting bent.
The most basic problem is that we will never know for certain what happened. Why? Because the Ferguson cruiser did not have a camera recording the incident. That's simply not credible. "Law" "enforcement" in Ferguson apparently has at its disposal tear gas, riot gear, armored vehicles and machine guns ...but not a dashcam. That's ridiculous. I remember a few years ago when my one-man police department in New Hampshire purchased a camera for its cruiser. It's about as cheap and basic a police expense as there is....
...And, if we have to have federal subsidy programs for municipal police departments, we should scrap the one that gives them the second-hand military hardware from Tikrit and Kandahar and replace it with one that ensures every patrol car has a camera....
...The point about "the thin blue line" is that it's blue for a reason. As I wrote a couple of months ago:
"The police" is a phenomenon of the modern world. It would be wholly alien, for example, to America's Founders. In the sense we use the term today, it dates back no further than Sir Robert Peel's founding of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Because Londoners associated the concept with French-style political policing and state control, they were very resistant to the idea of a domestic soldiery keeping them in line. So Peel dressed his policemen in blue instead of infantry red, and instead of guns they had wooden truncheons.
So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it's not a fashion faux pas, it's a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these "policemen" talk. Look at the video as they're arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: "This is not up for discussion."
Really? You're a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you're a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald's are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the "nine principles of good policing" (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing.
Which brings us back to the death of Michael Brown. Let's assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct. In that case, whether or not the fatal shooting of Mr Brown is a crime, it's certainly a mistake. When an unarmed shoplifter* in T-shirt and shorts with a five-buck cigar box in one hand has to be shot dead, you're doing it wrong....
...In Ferguson, both parties agree that the first shot was fired from inside the car. The rest were fired by the officer when he'd got out of the car, with Chief Jackson conceding there could have been ten bullets fired. For purposes of comparison:
In 2011 the German police fired 85 bullets. That's all of them. The entire police force. The whole country. Eighty-five bullets in one year. That's seven bullets per month. One bullet for every million German citizens.
So the Ferguson PD used as many bullets on Michael Brown as the Polizei used on ten million Germans. But, by American standards, that's relatively restrained. The same year as those German figures - 2011 - the Miami PD blew through the Polizei's annual bullet allowance on just one traffic incident:...
...Three months ago I asked this question:
Are American civilians so different from Europeans or Aussies or Kiwis or Canadians that they have to be policed as if they're cornered rebels in an ongoing civil war?
A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc. Maybe. But the problem is that, increasingly, this is the only style of law enforcement America's police culture teaches - not only for the teeming favelas, but for the leafy suburbs and the rural backwaters and the college-town keg party, too.
Which is to say that one day, unless something changes, we will all be policed like Ferguson.
08-18-2014, 01:36 AMThe most basic problem is that we will never know for certain what happened. Why? Because the Ferguson cruiser did not have a camera recording the incident. That's simply not credible. "Law" "enforcement" in Ferguson apparently has at its disposal tear gas, riot gear, armored vehicles and machine guns ...but not a dashcam. That's ridiculous. I remember a few years ago when my one-man police department in New Hampshire purchased a camera for its cruiser. It's about as cheap and basic a police expense as there is....
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- Jul 2009
The Ferguson PD had bought, but not yet implemented, personal cameras, meaning cameras worn upon one's person. They have not said that dashcams were not employed. In fact, as I recall, the statement was that there was a dashcam, but because of the orientation of the cruiser, it didn't actually capture any of the events in question. Obviously a dashcam is going to be pointed outward, towards the street, and would not capture any events inside the car. My guess is that the dashcam in question was probably mounted on the passenger side of the SUV Wilson was driving and whatever happened on the left side of the car was out of the camera's field of view.Olde-style, states' rights conservative. Ask if this concept confuses you.
08-18-2014, 01:54 AM
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- Jun 2008
...Tries to get out of his car. They slam his door shut violently. I think he said Michael did. And, then he opened the car again. He tried to get out. He stands up.
And then Michael just bum-rushes him and shoves him back into his car. Punches him in the face and them Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabbed for the gun. At one point he got the gun entirely turned against his hip. And he shoves it away. And the gun goes off.
Well, then Michael takes off and gets to be about 35 feet away. And, Darren’s first protocol is to pursue. So, he stands up and yells, “Freeze!” Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael taunts him… And then all the sudden he just started bumrushing him. He just started coming at him full speed. And, so he just started shooting. And, he just kept coming. And, so he really thinks he was on something.”
Piece of crap this guy. Cop thought he was on drugs and that may have been the case. Don't think he stole blunts because he liked cigars.
08-18-2014, 02:11 AM
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- Jun 2008
A Cop Is Killed Every 58 Hours
Law-enforcement officers across the country risk their lives every day.
By Michelle Malkin
...Here’s a reality check. While narcissistic liberal journalists and college kids are all posting “hands up” selfies in hipster solidarity with Ferguson protesters, it’s law-enforcement officers who risk their lives in “war zones” every day across the country.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) reports that a total of 1,501 law-enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past ten years, an average of one death every 58 hours, or 150 per year. These include local and state police officers, federal officers, correctional officers, and military law-enforcement officers.
Fact: Last year, 100 law-enforcement officers were killed. On average, over the past decade, there have been 58,261 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in 15,658 injuries.
Fact: New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 697 deaths. Texas has lost 1,675 officers, more than any other state.
Just this week, NLEOMF released preliminary fatality statistics from August 2013 to August 2014. Total fatalities are up 14 percent, from 63 last year to 72 this year. “Five officers were killed in ambushes, which continue to be a major threat to law enforcement safety,” the group notes.
Among the men in uniform who gave their lives this summer:
Police officer Scott Patrick of the Mendota Heights Police Department in Minnesota. He was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop on July 30. Patrick leaves behind a wife and two teenage daughters.
Police officer Jeffrey Westerfield of the Gary Police Department in Indiana. Westerfield was shot in the head and killed in a July 6 ambush while sitting in his police vehicle after responding to a 911 call. The suspect had been previously arrested for domestic violence and for kicking another officer. Westerfield, a 19-year police-department veteran as well as an Army veteran, leaves behind a wife and four daughters.
Officer Perry Renn of the Indianapolis Police Department. He was shot and killed while responding to reports of gunfire on July 5. After 20 years on the job, Renn chose to serve in one of the city’s most dangerous areas, even though his seniority would have allowed him to take a less dangerous role. “He chose to work in patrol to make a difference in the field,” police chief Rick Hite said at Renn’s funeral. “Every day, Perry got out of his police car.” Renn is survived by his wife.
Deputy sheriff Allen Bares Jr. of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. The 15-year law-enforcement veteran was shot and killed on June 23 while investigating two suspicious suspects. Bares had been mowing his lawn while off-duty when he witnessed a suspicious car crash. When he went to investigate, he was gunned down. The assailants stole his truck as he lay dying. “He’s the type of person that would give his shirt off his back to anybody,” a cousin said in tribute. “Anyone that knows Allen will tell you that he was that kind of person.” Bares leaves behind a wife and two children.
Police officer Melvin Santiago of the Jersey City Police Department in New Jersey. Santiago, a proud rookie cop who loved his job, was ambushed on July 13 by a homicidal armed robber. Santiago was 23 years old. After Santiago’s killer was shot dead by police, the violent Bloods street gang vowed to “kill a Jersey City cop and not stop until the National Guard is called out.”
Al Sharpton, concocter of hate-crime hoaxes and inciter of violent riots against police, had no comment.
08-18-2014, 11:46 AMLaw-enforcement officers across the country risk their lives every day.
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- Jun 2008
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