Wednesday, April 22, 2015

IS MORE AND BETTER POLICE TRAINING THE ANSWER?

What good is more and better police training when no one is training blacks to obey police orders?

Ever since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August, there has been a steady stream of news about the use of excessive force by the police, usually by white cops against black men. Turn on the evening TV news and you’re likely to see a video clip of cops kicking the shit out of someone or shooting at a fleeing man.

The latest incidents include:

A South Carolina white cop shooting a fleeing black man in the back

A horse thief being repeatedly beaten and kicked by sheriff’s deputies in the desert od San Bernardino County, California as the horse kooks down at the melee, probably wondering what’s going on.

A73-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma reserve officer shot a fleeing man in the back. He says he confused his firearm with his Taser and only meant to tase the man.

An Arizona cop drove his police car onto a sidewalk and ran down an armed robber carrying a high powered rifle.

Baltimore, Maryland cops arrested a man who died because his spine had been severed. His spine may have been severed between the time he was taken into custody and when he arrived at a hospital.


Academics and other armchair experts say the solution to the problem of excessive and deadly force is more police training and better training in people skills. What do these experts think the police have been doing since the Vietnam protests and the civil rights movement?

It’s true that when I became a Galveston cop in the late ‘40s there was no training in most police departments. I was told to buy a uniform and gun, given a badge, and ordered to walk a beat or patrol in a cop car. I learned my job from veteran officers, some of them good cops and some of them piss-poor. If someone came to the cop shop to complain about police brutality, they often had the shit beaten out of them as they were thrown out of the door.

By the time I became a California cop in the mid ‘50s, formal training had become quite common and police applicants were required to undergo psychological evaluations. Those evaluations may have weeded out some ass kickers, but I suspect they also eliminated some potentially good cops. And the police academies at that time did not put a lot of emphasis on good police-community relations.

All that changed with the Vietnam War protests and the civil rights movement. Since then police agencies have been emphasizing good police-community relations and better people skills in both their pre-service and in-service training programs. And many agencies have adopted the use of community-oriented policing in an effort to eliminate the minority community’s mistrust of the cops.

I have always maintained that policing is much more about dealing with people than it is about solving crimes and disputes, arresting crooks, proper use of firearms and restraining devices, etc. Dealing with people during a highly emotional and/or adversarial situation makes policing the hardest job in our society.

In 1829 the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, put forth the principle that “No quality is more indispensable to a policeman than a perfect command of temper.” While there have been several shooting incidents where officers claimed to have confused their firearm with their stun gun, could that 73-year-old Tulsa reserve officer have lost his temper and deliberately drawn his pistol instead of his Taser? But there can be no doubt that horse in the desert was being entertained by some angry San Bernardino who had completely lost it.

Many incidents of excessive or deadly force by the police would not have happened had a cop not lost his temper, and that includes good cops as well as bad cops. The experts keep calling for more and better training, but how do you train someone not to losing temper in a highly charged situation? Anger management programs may work in domestic disputes, but will they work in police encounters?

There is another problem even the experts seem to overlook. What good is more and better police training when no one is training blacks to obey police orders? No one is training black men not to flee from or become combative during a police stop.

No amount of more and better training is going to keep cops from losing their tempers. No amount of training is going to prevent cops from fearing for their lives. Anger management programs may reduce the loss of temper, but will not prevent it. And all the police training available to cops will not change the behavior of black men.

There are more than 800,000 state and local “sworn” police officers with general arrest powers in the United States. I am not about to throw out that horseshit about 99 percent, 95 percent, or even 90 percent of all those officers being good cops. However, I do believe that 85 percent are good cops trying to do their best in a hard and thankless job.

Sunday, I watched CBS Face the Nation from my hospital bed. Host Bob Schieffer said that after a break he would be back with some personal thoughts about the police. Here is what he said.

Don’t Overlook The Good Cops
By Bob Schieffer

CBS Face the Nation
April 19, 2015

I have always said the great thing about being a reporter is the adventure, getting to talk to the people who make the news, seeing things with your own eyes that other people see only through eyes and lens of others.

And I have always said, the best training to be a reporter are or anything else is to work the police beat, because every story you cover is the worst moment in someone's life.

If you can learn to get the right information under those circumstances, you won't be fazed by the high and mighty and certainly not by on-the-make politicians and spin doctors, which is why I want to add a paragraph or two to the rash of stories lately about cops gone wrong.

This is not about them. This is about all the cops you don't read about. They deal much of the time with the dregs of our society, the schemers, murderers, those who prey on the weak. And most of the time, the police deal with them humanely and as they should.

What we overlook is just how difficult that can be sometimes. It's not easy to remain passive when a child beater looks you in the eye and tells you, you have to understand the kid was keeping him awake. It takes a lot of professional training and strong character not to respond in anger. I know, because I spent my early years listening to some of these awful people. Sometimes, I wanted to hit them myself.

I didn't. But it helped me understand how hard it is to do a cop's job right. As hard as it is, the great majority the cops still do just that.


Bob Schieffer, a native Texan, has been a member of the hated mainstream media since 1969, but I have always found him to be reasonable in his assessment of controversial issues. I think every good cop in this country should take the time to send Bob a thank you note for the fine commentary he made in their behalf. It’s a shame that few, if any, will do so!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CAPITAL LIFE: ALTERNATIVE TO THE DEATH PENALTY

A living-death of imprisonment for life in absolute isolation without any of the privileges afforded the general prison population and no possibility of parole

As most of you know, I am a diehard supporter and proponent of the death penalty. With support for the death penalty in decline, I hereby offer an alternative that should be acceptable to my fellow hardcore proponents of the ultimate punishment. It is a special category of a life in prison sentence.

I’ve coined my proposal for a special category of life imprisonment as Capital Life.

Capital Life would be Imprisonment for life in absolute isolation without any of the privileges afforded the general prison population and no possibility of parole. No visitors, no mail, no TV or radio, no special meals for Thanksgiving or Christmas, no one-hour exercise period outside the cell.

Of course I realize Capital Life would never come to pass. Civil libertarians will oppose Capital Life with the same fervor they oppose Capital Punishment. The courts would rule that Capital Life violates the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

I agree that it’s cruel and unusual punishment. So what! The murders Capital Lifers committed were also cruel and unusual punishment and their victims did not have the benefit of trial by jury. And I also realize that Capital Lifers would have a high rate of suicide. So what! Good riddance of the vermin!

Absolute isolation for life without possibility of parole is the only alternative to the death penalty that I would accept. Come to think of it, a Capital Life sentence of living-death would be a far better punishment than the death penalty.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HOUSTIN’S 2009 OFFICER OF THE YEAR NOW A LOS ZETAS COCAINE TRAFFICKER

Houston police officer Noe Juarez got busted by the Feds for trafficking cocaine since 2012 for the Los Zetas drug cartel

The Feds announced April 8 that Houston police officer Noe Juarez has been indicted for “conspiracy to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine” and “conspiracy to possess firearms in connection with a drug trafficking offense.” The indictment came out of New Orleans and Juarez was busted April 7 at Houston’s police headquarters. He has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Juarez was honored as Houston’s Officer of the Year for 2009. According to the Feds, he began dealing cocaine for Mexico’s notorious Los Zetas drug cartel in 2012.

Perhaps Houston should take another look at what they pay their cops. When an Officer of the Year moonlights by dealing cocaine, “Houston, we have a problem.”

ROBERT KENNEDY JR. BACKS OFF ‘HOLOCAUST’ IN VACCINE DEBATE

By Judy Lin

Associated Press
April 14, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Robert Kennedy Jr. on Monday apologized for describing the number of children injured by vaccines as "a holocaust" during a film screening last week.

The nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy used the term last week at a screening in Sacramento of the film "Trace Amounts." The movie links autism to a vaccine preservative, even though the medical community says such claims have been scientifically disproved.

Kennedy said he was struggling for a way to convey the effects of autism on children and their families.

"I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word holocaust to describe the autism epidemic," Kennedy said in a statement. "I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families."

He said he will use other words to describe the autism crisis in the future.

Kennedy opposes a California bill that would limit vaccination waivers for schoolchildren. It has generated such an acidic debate that some opponents have compared the proposal's author online to Adolf Hitler.

State Sen. Richard Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, said he was under added security in response to his bill. The proposal will be heard Wednesday in a Senate education committee.

Thursday marks Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"The word holocaust should never be used as a flippant throwaway line to make a point in a debate," said Assemblyman Marc Levine, vice chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, during a Holocaust remembrance event on Monday in the California Assembly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As someone who lost both sets of grandparents to the Holocaust, I am sensitive to any trivializing of the word “Holocaust.” While the number of Autism victims is enormous and the disease is indeed catastrophic, there is no way that it can compare to the Holocaust where six million Jews were slaughtered systematically.

As for Kennedy, I do not think he meant to trivialize the Holocaust. His faux pax is just an example of someone putting his mouth in motion before putting his brain in gear. Apology accepted.

DOING COMMUNITY SERVICE

The Unconventional Gazette
April 14, 2015

One day a Washington, D.C. florist went to a neighboring barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Congressman was very happy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

Monday, April 13, 2015

REMOVE LETOURNEAU FROM SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

Mary Kay Letourneau still has to register as a sex offender because she had sex with a 13-year old student; even though she served 7-1/2 years in prison, bore him two daughters, and has been married to him for 10 years

In 1996, Mary Kay Letourneau, a 34-year-old married Seattle teacher and mother of four, got busted for having sex with a 13-year old student. She was put on probation and ordered not to have any contact the boy, Vili Fualaau. She was sent to prison after getting caught with him again. She gave birth to their love-child while in prison. She served 7-1/2 years. Mary Kay, now 53, and Vili, now 31, have been married for 10 years and are the parents of two teen-age daughters. Alas, Mary Kay is still required to register as a sex offender.

The story of Letourneau’s affair with Vili Fualaau was sensationalized by the media in a frenzy not often seen. That was in 1996, this is now. Hardly a day goes by now without some female teacher getting busted somewhere for having sex with one or more of her students. Most of these teachers, like Mary Kay, are married with children. Unlike with Mary Kay, their ‘victims’ are not 13, but rather 15-17. The teacher-student sex affairs are so frequent that in most cases they receive only local news coverage.

Friday night I watched an ABC-TV Barbara Walters special. During the hour-long program, Walters not only interviewed Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and her husband Vili Fualaau, but she was also able to talk to their daughters. On their 10th anniversary, the couple appear to happily married and their teen-age daughters appear to be happy and well adjusted. Given all that, why in the hell is Mary Kay still required to register as a sex offender?

The sex offender registration laws are primarily designed to protect children from sexual predators and women from rapists. Weenie wavers are also included. So are boys who get caught diddling underage girls. I cannot understand why in the world a man would have to be placed on a sex offender registry because he had a consensual sexual relationship with his underage sweetheart when he was 16. What threat does he pose to anyone?

Mary Kay has been punished with a prison term for her misdeed. She has been married to her victim for 10 years and they have been raising two well-adjusted teenagers. Under these circumstances, if there is any logical reason for her to have to register as a sex offender, I’ll eat my beloved John Deere cap.

Mary Kay plans to apply for removal from the sex offender registration list. While I strongly disapprove of her affair with a 13-year-old boy, considering that she was punished with a prison term and has now been happily married for 10 years, I firmly believe that justice demands she be removed from the sex offender registry.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: WALTER SCOTT ATTACKED OFFICER SLAGER

A new look at the cellphone camera video clearly shows Officer Slager being attacked by Walter Scott

By Ima Schmuck

The Unconventional Gazette
April 12, 2015

In an exclusive interview, NY police officer Sean Murphy declared that North Charleston, S.C. police officer Mike Slager did not murder Walter Scott.

Murphy, executive director of Peace Officers Are Right (POAR) said a new look at the cellphone camera video clearly shows Officer Slager being attacked by Walter Scott.

“When you run that video tape backwards,” Murphy said, “it clearly shows Scott charging at Slager as the officer fired his weapon in an obvious act of self-defense.”

Murphy condemned the authorities and the public for rushing to judgement upon viewing the video tape being run only in one direction. “When you reverse that tape,” he said, “you get an entirely different perspective.”

He also blasted the media for doing its “usual hatchet job” on the police and criticized Fox News for being “just like the rest of them” in crucifying Officer Slager.

POAR is a nationwide organization of rank-and-file cops. Murphy claims that more than 70,000 cops are members of POAR. “Our members demand that murder charges against Office Slager be dropped immediately,” he said.

Concerning the video tape, Murphy said “It all depends on how you look at it, and we see the shooting of Mr. Scott as a justifiable act of self-defense. When you see somebody running backwards straight at you as fast as Mr. Scott did, that will scare the shit out of anyone.”

WORKPLACE SAFETY IS IMPORTANT

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
April 11, 2015

There was a very serious on-the-job accident in south Stockton yesterday afternoon. About 1:30 two men entered an electrical box without proper authority in an apparent attempt to help themselves to copper wire there.

It seems that they were not entirely clear on the concept however and one of them was turned into a crispy critter while stripping the insulation off of a live wire.

The as-yet unidentified dead guy’s colleague beat feet without hanging around to fill out an accident report, which I think was very rude and probably violated a bunch of OSHA regulations. Some people just don’t appreciate proper procedure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Workplace safety, crispy critter, accident report, OSHA. Bob has outdone himself with this one. I love it!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

POLICE UNDER SURVEILLANCE

Learning to work under watchful eye of camera phones

By Jeff Stone

International Business Times
April 9, 2015

Police officers are increasingly under the microscope. Almost literally. Now that the nightly news regularly features incidents where officers are being criticized for excessive force, even responsible members of the force are finding that having a camera thrust in their face is now just part of the job.

A white police officer was charged with murder this week in South Carolina after fatally shooting an unarmed black man running away from him. The death of Walter Scott was caught on video by a bystander, leading to a media frenzy. South Carolina lawmakers urged the public to remember that the officer who killed Scott is simply one bad apple among a state of good police officers, though police officials say the constant negative attention has an effect on even the most responsible police officials.

“It causes hesitation, and hesitation is a cause of risk,” said Rich Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations. Roberts said it’s difficult for officers who are being filmed not to second-guess their actions, even if they’re in an unsafe situation. “I’m not sure being on the camera is exactly the problem, but with most people I talked to the problem is how people will interpret the images that are captured are on them.”

The news media, he said, needs to edit video clips to fit within certain time windows: If CNN only has 15 seconds to show a clip of a New York City detective berating a foreign-born Uber driver, for instance, the audience wouldn’t know what led up to that incident.

Courts consistently have ruled that it’s legal for citizens to film police without an officer’s consent, just as long as the person filming doesn’t interfere with the situation. Police, to put it mildly, don’t like being recorded by witnesses. YouTube is littered with footage of officers going ballistic on people watching events unfold from yards away.

All of which helps explain why the law enforcement community, for the most part, has greeted the advent of police body cameras with such enthusiasm. Police have complained that bystander cameras can present a safety risk -- though the IUPA’s Roberts said he couldn’t recall any instances where they interfered with the situation -- and body cameras promise to show events from an officer’s perspective.

“They realize their potential audience is now the entire world,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “Police who have nothing to hide have already long since recognized they’re likely to be filmed any time anything dramatic goes down in public. I think that any problems police have with cameras originate in their own minds.”

At the heart of the matter is a stark difference in ideology. Police critics say cameras are necessary to expose and curb abuses of power. The law enforcement community says cameras will lead to fewer lawsuits and false complaints.

“I just think agencies accept that people are filming everyone anyway,” said Lindsay Miller, senior research associate at the Police Executive Research Forum and an author of one of the only studies on how cameras are used. An unrelated study found that police body cameras lead to a more than 50 percent reduction in use-of-force complaints.

“A lot of the things that have been happening recently are really good opportunities to find some reforms and move agencies into a better place,” Miller said. “I think police welcome that.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The problem with camera phone videos is not that they uncover police misconduct, but that they rarely if ever show any good police work.

L.A. HAS CLOSED OVER 500 POT SHOPS SINCE JULY 2013

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said over 500 medical marijuana dispensaries have been shut down over 20 months, some close to schools and day care centers

By Asher Klein

NBC Los Angeles
April 9, 2015

Los Angeles law enforcement has closed hundreds of shops illegally selling medical marijuana in under two years, according to City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Feuer announced Thursday that that the city has closed 503 shops since July 2013, nearly half of them in the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Bureau.

"Many were close to schools, child care centers and other sensitive sites. Others were disrupting the quality of life in our neighborhoods," Feuer said in a press release.

In 2013, LA voters allowed medical marijuana to be sold at a set number of shops. But many shops that weren't approved under the law have sprung up anyway, along with a farmer's market that Feuer's office cracked down on as well.

Feuer said "several hundred" medical marijuana shops remain open around the city and urged the public to report any illegal medical marijuana shops to atty.medicalmarijuana@lacity.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: They should shut down all the pot shops. Medical marijuana is a hoax. Where are the feds? Medical pot is a violation of federal law. Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s work just as well, and they’re legal. So does Four Roses, and it’s cheaper.

Friday, April 10, 2015

BUSTED FOR VOWING ‘I DO’ 10 TIMES

NY woman married 10 different men without bothering to get a single divorce

It has just come to light that a New York woman was busted last November for marrying 10 different men in 11 years without bothering to get a single divorce.

Liana Barrientos, 39, a native of the Dominican Republic, may have broken the record for serial brides. Six of her 10 wedding ceremonies were held within a span of six months. Her latest marriage, which occurred in March 2010, was to a man named Salle Keita.

From the April 9 New York Daily News:

A Bronx detective uncovered nine previous marriage licenses for Barrientos, including a half-dozen issued in the span of six busy months, the court documents filed last November charged.

The first license was dated Nov. 5, 1999, to husband Mohamed Gerbril, and the last on Aug. 3, 2002, to groom Kakhaber Khorbaladze — her sixth marriage that year.


Liana was scheduled to appear in Bronx Supreme Court today to be arraigned on two charges of filing a false instrument. She faces a maximum term of four years in prison on each count.

No motive was given for the bogus marriages. But looking at the names of her ‘husbands,’ I suspect that they were part of a citizenship scam.

INSTANT MURDER CHARGE AND FIRING

A South Carolina cop who shot a fleeing man multiple times in the back is charged with murder and fired several hours after a video of the shooting surfaced

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
April 8, 2015

Michael Thomas Slager is a North Charleston, S.C. police officer. He is white. He made a traffic stop of a man who happened to be black. The situation went sideways and it ended up with the motorist, Walter Lammer Scott, 50, dead and Slager facing a flat-out murder charge for his actions.

A video of the shooting (but not the lead-in to the shooting) surfaced yesterday. It showed Scott running away from Slager. Scott’s hands were pretty obviously empty. Slager shot Scott five times in the back as he was running away. It also shows Slager picking up something on the ground, carrying it over to Scott’s body and dropping it on the ground. The speculation is that this object was the Taser.

Within hours of the video being released Slager was arrested for murder.

Slager stated that Scott tried to grab his Taser and he felt threatened. Slager’s lawyer dropped him after he made that statement. The state is handling the investigation at the request of the local authorities. The FBI has invited themselves in.

I am inclined to say that Officer Slager is in very deep doodoo on this one.

The officer’s wife is eight months pregnant. The city has agreed to continue her medical insurance until after the baby is born. The laws in S.C. must be very much different than those in CA as they fired Officer Slager in less than one day.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: I viewed the dash-cam video. There was no physical altercation. After making a traffic stop, Slager walks up to Scott’s car. After a couple of moments, Slager walks back to his cop car and Scott bails out of his car and beat feet. There was a gap between then and the start of the smartphone video which appears to show Scott getting up – probably after having been tased - with Slager standing next to him, then running away again. That’s when the officer opened fire.

SCOTUS long ago ruled that the police do not have the right to shoot a fleeing suspect unless he poses an imminent threat to the officer or if his escape would put the public at serious risk. The video taken by a witness clearly shows the officer violating that SCOTUS ruling.

Slager’s mother said what her son did was so out of character that she could not understand it.

I believe that Slager’s actions were out of character. Accordingly, it is important to ascertain why he shot Scott. Did the victim piss him off? Or was Slager pissed-off for some reason before he started his shift, thereby taking his anger out on the fleeing man? If so, why didn’t Slager's supervisor observe a change in his usual mood when he came to work? It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to see that someone is in a foul mood.

A cop who shows up for work pissed-off is a dangerous cop!