Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Police officers now fear that they may get punished for doing their job because the use of force never looks fine, it always looks ugly

By Debra J. Saunders

San Francisco Chronicle
May 23, 2016

"It's as hard right now to be a cop maybe as it's ever been," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to The Chronicle Editorial Board Tuesday. At the time, Suhr was resisting calls demanding that he resign. Five local protesters had given up their hunger strike to force his departure to atone for officer-involved shootings of four minority men in the previous two years. Four supervisors had jumped onto that bandwagon, but Suhr enjoyed Mayor Ed Lee's support. Until Thursday, that is, when a San Francisco cop shot and killed Jessica Williams, 29, an unarmed auto theft suspect in The Bayview. By the end of the day, Suhr had met with the mayor and resigned. It's as hard right now to be a police chief in a major American city as it has ever been.

In 2014, a white police officer from Ferguson, Mo., shot and killed an unarmed black man and spawned "Black Lives Matter" protests. In law enforcement circles, there has been a debate as to whether the nation is experiencing a "Ferguson effect" — that is, if cops are backing off because they fear reprisals for doing their jobs. The chief I saw last week was working overtime trying to balance the concern in some communities that police will overreact with police officers' fears that they may get punished for doing their job. For that, he lost his job.

Suhr's troubles really began on with a video of San Francisco cops shooting Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man who would not surrender his knife on Dec. 2. Suhr found the video shocking, he told us. In crisis situations, Suhr said, he believes officers should "do what we can do to elongate an event" — that is, use nonlethal force and "time and distance" to de-escalate a crisis. The best cops talk like social workers. He's no Dirty Harry. He told The San Francisco Chronicle, "I don't think personal possession of narcotics ever should have been a felony."

Back to the video. Woods had the knife he apparently used earlier to stab an innocent man who had been eating in a car. But you don't see the stabbing victim. You see a person in crisis outnumbered by police. In a TV show, a hero cop would have risked his life to save Woods from himself. In real life, Woods did not heed officers' calls to drop the knife, and beanbag projectiles did not subdue him. When Woods moved toward a cop, they shot him.

We ask police officers to protect the public and make life-and-death decisions in seconds. Before the advent of cell phone cameras, those decisions probably looked smarter than they look in a fuzzy few seconds captured on the phone of a new-to-the-scene bystander.

"Use of force never looks fine," attorney Michael L. Rains, who represents police and police unions, told me. "It always looks ugly."

After Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, the Department of Justice waged an investigation that many expected to enable the feds to prosecute the cop. Instead, the evidence revealed that Brown had reached for Wilson's gun, and the investigation discredited a witness account of a blameless Brown being shot in the back.

"I think there's a Ferguson effect in all the police cases today," quoth Rains. Despite the Department of Justice findings, the Ferguson effect does not work in law enforcement's favor. Suhr was trying to save his department. Now he's gone. Who would want to replace him?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Suhr was history when on May 19 police officers began pursuing a car that came up as stolen in their system. After Jessica Williams, a black woman, crashed the car into a parked vehicle, she was shot fatally by a 15 year veteran SFPD sergeant as officers tried to remove her from the car.


Since the passage of AB 109, hundreds of “low- level, non-violent” offenders have killed, raped, assaulted, maimed and kidnapped innocent victims, and due to Prop 47, criminals are committing more property crimes because they know they’ll get no more than a “slap on the hand.”

BY Caroline Aguirre

May 30, 2016

JUSTICE INTERUPTED--Just before 9 pm on Friday, May 13, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Hollenbeck Gang Enforcement Unit shot and killed 28 year old, Roberto Mark Diaz during a routine gang suppression patrol triggered by major increases in gang related shootings throughout the Hollenbeck Division.

Diaz ran from police officers, pulling out a handgun and fired in the direction of the two police officers. The police officers returned fire and killed him. One police officer sustained a gunshot wound to his shoulder area and a second officer injured his back as he darted away in his attempt to avoid being struck by gunfire.

Diaz, a hard-core gang member, had an extensive criminal arrest and conviction history having served time in state prison for Armed Robbery and Ex-felon possession of a firearm. Diaz, with his noted violent criminal history was classified as a “low- level, non-violent” criminal offender, currently supervised by the Los Angeles County Probation department under AB 109. He was last released from Los Angeles County jail on April 22, 2016 after having served 10 days for a probation violation under AB 109.

When the “Officer Down-Officers need Assistance” call went out, Chief Charlie Beck’s mainstay, Ruby Malachi, Captain of the Community Relationships Division, wasted no time heading for the crime scene. Prior to the LAPD’s Force Investigative Division, Officer Involved Shooting Team and their Scientific Investigative Division arrival, Malachi had already breached the crime scene tape -- trampling through the crime scene.

Malachi’s job is “community relationships.” Her latest endeavor is making videos of dancing police officers (the Running Man's New Zealand dance challenge.) Thanks to Beck, her newly created job duplicates efforts of all other Divisions (at a great waste of money to taxpayers.) Her job description does not include intrusion of crime scenes before they’re investigated.

While Malachi’s officers were dancing in front of a camera, a woman walking through Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights on May 9 (also in LAPD Hollenbeck Division) was approached by a Hispanic male who held a gun to her head, forced her into a public restroom and sexually assaulted her. Fortunately, the victim was able to give responding police officers an excellent physical description, including distinctive facial tattoos to police. Within a short time, Police officers from both the LAPD Hollenbeck Specialized gang unit and Detectives assigned to LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide unit were able to identify Edgar Alexander Lobos and arrest him. Lobo is a 27 year-old hard-core gang member and ex-felon.

According to Captain William Hayes, Lobos had an extensive criminal arrest history that includes vandalism and domestic violence but was classified as a non-violent, low-level criminal offender and was under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Probation department under AB 109.

These are the most recent examples of the epic “fails” triggered by Governor Jerry Brown and his quest to empty out California State prisons.

Since the passage of AB 109, hundreds of “low- level, non-violent” offenders have killed, raped, assaulted, maimed and kidnapped innocent victims. In 2014, voters passed Prop 47 that Governor Jerry Brown touted as the Bill that would reclassify drug and theft crimes that involve less than $950 from felonies to misdemeanors. Now two years later, criminals have an easier time committing crimes because they know they’ll get no more than a “slap on the hand.”

Both Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti have remained dreadfully silent while violent criminal offenders, hard-core gang members supervised and placed under AB 109 and Prop. 47 are being let out of prison after spending little to no time in prison and are reoffending in record numbers.

Both violent crime and property crimes rates are escalating with each and every passing day within the city of Los Angeles.

Malachi’s Division could be just as effective with civilian clerical workers rather than $100,000 per year paid police officers who serve the City best by patrolling the streets -- not dancing in production videos.

Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) criticized Beck for taking officers off the streets amidst a citywide rise in crime, which has seen violent crime rise 20.2%, property crime rise 10.7%, robbery rise 12.5%, and auto theft rise 17.1% from 2014 to 2015. Most or all are attributed to AB 109. In 2016, those numbers are, again, on the rise.

On June 7, 2015, State Assemblyman Jimmie Gomez was asked if he was going to consider making amendments to AB 109. At the time, there were discussions relative to making amendments to the law in Sacramento that several deemed to be “broken.” Assemblyman Gomez's chilling response was, "Not on my watch. I will not consider making any amendments to AB 109.”

For those who don’t know, crimes that fall under AB 109 are not always “low level, non violent” crimes. Many of the inmates' current convictions generally fit that description, but past crimes committed by some of these offenders have ranged from violent assaults to sexual offenses, child abuse and second-degree murder.

As the November elections draw near, Governor Brown is using his campaign funds to gather signatures that would place the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016” initiative on the November ballot. Brown’s duplicitous claim that his measure applies to only “non violent felony offenses” has the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), and a host of other organizations, engaging in a battle against this initiative. Brown amended the initiative that originally concerned only the reform of rules for juveniles being tried in adult court. His amendments now add inmates to the fray.

The California District Attorneys Association filed a lawsuit against the Governor in February 2016. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Attorney General Kamala Harris should not have accepted Brown’s January 25 amendments to the proposed ballot measure filed because “the filing is not an amendment of the prior initiative draft – it is a completely different and new initiative.”

This does not bode well for innocent people who live and work anywhere in the state of California. The effects of both Prop 47 and AB 109 have been the abysmal failures that have left hundreds of innocent victims in their wake. In Los Angeles, Chief Charlie Beck sits smiling. He gave his support to both AB 109 and Prop 47 along with his support for Brown’s half-baked ballot initiative.

From all over the City, San Pedro, Harbor, Van Nuys, Mission Hills, Sunland-Tujunga, East Los Angeles and even Northeast Los Angeles, residents, stakeholders, community groups, community Police Advisory Board members. Neighborhood Councils and Neighborhood Watch Captains are demanding more patrol officers for their areas. Currently there are over 600 police officers who do nothing but clerical work within LAPD. Malachi’s Community Relationships Division has more than 100 officers who do nothing but photo-ops and videos.

It is patently dangerous for all citizens in Los Angeles and both Beck and Garcetti know this.

Garcetti, for his part, believes training parolees to pick up trash on roadways can rehabilitate them. Each parolee will have a shot at a 90-day employment opportunity, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. Oh, and did I mention life skills training, cognitive treatment and therapy?

On May 27, Garcetti spoke at a Press Conference in South Central about the debt of gratitude Angeleno’s should be paying prisoners. “When people have paid their debt to society, our debt of gratitude should be, not just thanking them for serving that time but allowing them a pathway back in,” he said.

What? Garcetti should be thanking taxpayers for shelling out more than $47,000 per year to incarcerate each inmate who violated the rights on an innocent person in the commission of a crime. Common sense dictates that victims of violent crimes deserve “at least” some of the respect Garcetti offers to parolees -- something he neglected to offer!

Perfect timing for such a stupid statement from the Mayor of Los Angeles -- as the City cries for more police officers to patrol the streets of Los Angeles and Brown wants voters to let even more dangerous, violent felons out of prison.


Inmates of the Clark County jail in Jefferson made their own drugs, stashed weapons all over the jail and engaged in rampant gay prostitution

By Ollie Gillman

Daily Mail
May 28, 2016

Homemade drugs, violent attacks over food and rampant gay prostitution have been exposed at one of America's toughest jails after seven people went in undercover as prisoners.

The brave civilians posed as inmates for a documentary as they spent two months behind bars alongside dangerous thugs and drug dealers at Clark County Jail in Jefferson, Indiana.

The volunteers were sent in with fake identities and were treated like prisoners for the full two months, with none of the inmates and hardly any of the jail's staff knowing they were not convicts.

The undercover prisoners discovered that drug use was huge inside the jail.

With illegal substances harder to get hold of, the inmates had taken to making their own homemade highs, including one called 'crack stick'.

They would make the drug by crushing an e-cigarette filter, wrapping it in coffee-soaked toilet paper and smoking it, Business Insider reported.

DIY drugs were not enough for the convicts, with narcotics also smuggled in from outside the jail.

Low-risk prisoners were allowed to help with tasks like food preparation, but the documentary discovered that they were using this as a way of getting drugs into cells.

Trusted inmates would hide drugs inside the food trays and smuggle them into the women's section of Clark County Jail.

Other items hidden all over the correctional facility included blades made from any items prisoners could get their hands on.

This included a plastic toothbrush sharpened to make a dangerous weapon and a metal shank that was found stashed inside a lighting fixture.

More contraband discovered in the prison block included cell phones. Armed guards had to raid sections of the facility to find a phone on one occasion after fears it was being used to organize attacks on inmates.

The undercover prisoners also found that convicts would get into the most trivial of fights, with one violent row breaking out after a man failed to give another his hash brown as promised.

'It's not really fighting over hash browns. It's fighting over a guy not keeping his word,' one of the show's volunteers said.

Another of the seven posing as prisoners said they could tell a fight was about to start when inmates started 'lacing up' their sneakers.

They revealed that violent prisoners preferred not to wear their jail-issued sandals when brawling as they would slip.

Gay prostitution was rife in the male section of the jail, with one inmate offering himself to others in exchange for items from the commissary.

Prisoners had other ways of getting hold of goods from the commissary too. One new inmate was pressured into buying luxury items, such as beef jerky, for a tougher

Even one of the volunteers was targeted during her two-month imprisonment. An inmate who was higher up the food chain stole the woman's sandals from her feet, leaving her confused as to whether she should stand up for herself and risk a beating, or allow it but risk being regarded as easy prey.

One of the volunteer inmates, a Marine called Zac, told the News and Tribune that he met a fellow serviceman behind bars on drug charges.

'I mean whether it's PTSD or chemical dependency - whatever it was that caused Brian to go down the path he went as opposed to the path that I chose in my life - it's a tough situation,' Zac said.

'But at the same time, he still signed a contract with his life on the line, so that brotherhood still exists there.'

There was also suffering on the cell, with one female inmate trying to kill themselves by leaping from a second-floor railing.

Prisoners were given one hour a day of recreation time, in which they were taken into an enclosed room, where they could socialize and exercise.

One of the volunteers ended up in solitary confinement for breaking a jail rule.

The harsh conditions saw the man, called Robert, held in a tiny cell for half of his time in the facility. He was held in the cramped room for 23 hours a day.

Cameras were set up all around the jail for the A&E documentary series 60 Days In, with the prison's 500 inmates told filming was taking place - but not why.

Sheriff Jamey Noel told Entertainment Weekly that the prisoners soon forgot about the cameras and did not know they were locked up with seven people from the outside world.

He said the volunteers were given 'certain code words and different gestures' they could do if they felt they were in danger.

Prison staff would then rush in and take them to another part of the jail - something Noel says happened a few times.

The Sheriff allowed the filming so he could learn where the prison is going wrong, and one inmate has since been charged with drugs offenses after smuggling illegal substances into the jail.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What those volunteers found is quite common in many of America’s jails and prisons. With the exception of a super-max, inmates are the ones who actually run prisons, and they do it by the law of the jungle.


“Don’t roofie someone on our watch!”

By Hilary Hanson

The Huffington Post
May 29, 2016

People of the internet are celebrating a tale of three women who allegedly headed off an apparent rape attempt, according to a viral Facebook post by one of the women.

Sonia Ulrich wrote that she and two other women — Monica Kenyon and Marla Saltzer — were at the Santa Monica, California restaurant FIG Thursday night when Kenyon witnessed a man placing a suspicious-looking substance in his date’s drink while she was in the bathroom.

Ulrich says followed the woman into the bathroom and told her what they saw. While she expected to hear that the man and woman recently met, she was shaken to learn the man was one of the woman’s “best friends.”

The women alerted the management, which led to restaurant security reviewing footage that caught him in the act, the post says. Ulrich described the eerie feeling while Fig employees stalled before police showed up:

The poor woman had to sit through 40 more minutes, sitting across from “one of her best friends” knowing that he was trying to drug her. Marla noticed him several times chinking his glass to hers to get her to drink. She played it cool. Mostly, I believed, just stunned. The staff wanted to jump in and dump the glass, dump him, do something! I was going through fantasies of walking up and demanding he drink the tainted glass of wine. Eventually, they finished up dinner. There was a delay getting their bill “The computer is down” is what the waiter kept saying to him. Then, in walks Santa Monica PD. They say “Come with us” and he doesn’t protest. Doesn’t ask why. Doesn’t seem surprised.

It ended up being a good thing that the staff didn’t dump the glass, since police took it away to use as evidence, according to Ulrich.

But one of the most moving — and disturbing — parts of the story was how many other people in the restaurant thanked the women, having been close to sexual assault themselves:

From every table In our section, from through out the restaurant, people came by to thank us for taking action.

“It happened to my sister...I’m glad I was there to take her home.”

“It happened to my roommate at a producer’s party. He’s still messed up from it.”

“It happened to me. At a backyard barbecue.”

“It happened to me. At a bar I worked at.”

“Some Heroes don’t wear capes. Thank you. It happened to me. Thank you.”

“Fuck yeah you guys! You fuckin rock!”

At least 10 stories of being personally affected [by] someone like this. Something like this. Those were only the ones who knew what went down. I am sure there were tons more stories through out the restaurant and the hotel.

Santa Monica Police Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez confirmed to The Huffington Post that they arrested 24-year-old Michael Hsu on charges of intent to commit rape and drugging with the intent to commit rape. He is being held on $1 million bail, and his arraignment is on Tuesday, Rodriguez said.

He said that three witnesses reported seeing the man put an unidentified substance in a woman’s drink.

“We appreciate those witnesses came forward,” Rodriguez said. “It could have prevented a serious crime from taking place.”

A woman who answered the phone at Fig said she was not allowed to comment on the Facebook post. But earlier on Saturday, a woman at Fig told Jezebel that everything in the post was true.

People can be weirdly hesitant about intervening in a potential assault — partially because they misunderstand rape.

“Sexual assaults and rapes are often not considered ‘real rapes’ by victims, friends, family, or the criminal justice system unless they involved force, violence, and were committed by a stranger with a weapon,” criminal justice professor Sarah Nicks told HuffPost last year. “So when a bystander is aware of a sexual assault, they may not see it as a problem or an emergency, due to the social norms of their group and setting. They may look around for cues to see if others define it as an emergency, and seeing none, do nothing.”

That’s part of the reason why many colleges are increasingly focused on bystander intervention as a means of preventing rape. But in the meantime, know that stepping in if you see something suspicious can really make a huge difference.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Stepping in if you see something suspicious can really make a huge difference.” Yup, and it can also get your ass shot dead.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Interstate 10 is a band formed by two American soldiers who are currently serving in Afghanistan.

First Lt. Andrew Yacovone and First Lt. Justin Wright filmed this video as “a tribute to the soldiers who died during the fight for our country.”

Because the two lieutenants are based more than 300 miles apart in Afghanistan they had to use Skype to get everything finished before the Memorial Day weekend.


Shootout with AR-15s and the SWAT response leaves two dead, six wounded including two cops, a police helicopter with five bullet holes and a gas station on fire

Talk about the shootout at the OK Corral, well how about what happened Sunday morning in Houston. It makes the OK Corral shooting look like a Memorial Day picnic.

It seems as though two Rambo idiots armed with AR-15s decided to go on a shooting spree. The movie-like event started around 10:15 a.m. in a residential neighborhood of west Houston. The pair fired at passing cars, narrowly missing the drivers. A stray bullet killed a man peering out a window. Other stray bullets sat a nearby gas station on fire.

When the first cop cars arrived, the Rambos fired on them. The windshield of one cop car was riddled with 10 bullet holes and its hood had at least three bullet holes. The officers in that car were very lucky not to be hit. A police helicopter arrived and was promptly hit by five bullets. The officers in the whirlybird also escaped injury.

Then the HPD SWAT team arrived and put an end to the nonsense, killing one of the Rambos and critically wounding the other.

The shootout lasted past 1 p.m. By the time it was all over, three civilian bystanders and two cops had been wounded. The officers were not seriously injured.

Bob Walsh often wrote about the frequent shootings in his hometown of Stockton, California. I’ll bet that Stockton never saw anything approaching that wild west shootout in wild west Houston.

UPDATE: Apparently there was only one Rambo and he was Army veteran Dionisio Garza III, 25, who served in Afghanistan. Garza, originally from San Bernardino, California, may have been suffering from PTSD.


BY Bob Walsh

A New York state correctional officer was injured by the explosion of a package that had been left at his mailbox.

The officer, who is 52 years old, lived in the small town of Floyd in central New York.

The package was left in or near his mailbox. It exploded when he opened it. The officer has been hospitalized with serious burns.

The town is near the prison at Marcy, but the state has not released information as to whether or not the officer works at the Marcy facility. They have not yet ventured an opinion as to if the bomb was directly related to the officer’s work.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s no doubt to me that the package was a surprise gift in appreciation of his fine work supervising a current or former prison inmate.


U.S. District Judge Frederic Block refuses to send woman cocaine smuggler to prison, puts her on probation instead

By Benjamin Weiser

The New York Times
May 25, 2016

A federal judge in Brooklyn, in an extraordinary opinion issued on Wednesday that calls for courts to pay closer attention to how felony convictions affect people’s lives, sentenced a woman in a drug case to probation rather than prison, saying the collateral consequences she would face as a felon were punishment enough.

The judge, Frederic Block of Federal District Court, said such consequences served “no useful function other than to further punish criminal defendants after they have completed their court-imposed sentences.”

The judge noted that there were nearly 50,000 federal and state statutes and regulations that imposed penalties on felons.

Those penalties — denial of government benefits, ineligibility for public housing, suspension of student loans, revocation or suspension of driver’s licenses — can have devastating effects, he wrote, adding that they may be “particularly disruptive to an ex-convict’s efforts at rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”

The issue of collateral consequences has been considered by other courts, but Judge Block’s 42-page opinion, with his call for reform, appears to be one of the most detailed examinations yet.

Judge Block’s sentencing opinion was issued in the case of Chevelle Nesbeth, who was arrested last year at Kennedy International Airport after a search of her luggage turned up 600 grams of cocaine, court records show.

In the opinion, the judge said he considered her crimes to be serious and called her criminal conduct “inexcusable.” But he also listed an array of consequences that she would quite likely face as a result of her felony drug convictions, like being ineligible for grants, loans and work assistance for two years, the duration of her college career.

He noted that the inability to obtain housing and employment stemming from a conviction often results in “further disastrous consequences, such as losing child custody or going homeless,” and leads to many ex-convicts’ “becoming recidivists and restarting the criminal cycle.”

The judge’s ruling does not create a binding legal precedent for other courts, but it is likely to contribute to the national debate about the criminal justice system.

Gabriel J. Chin, a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, called the opinion “groundbreaking.”

“This is by some distance the most careful and thorough judicial examination” of collateral consequences in sentencing, said Professor Chin, who has written on the subject and whose work the judge cited in the opinion.

“It’s going to generate debate on a critical issue in the criminal justice system — the ability of people convicted of crimes to get on with their lives,” he said.

Ms. Nesbeth had claimed that she was given the suitcases by friends and was unaware they contained drugs. A jury was unpersuaded, convicting her of importation of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, the judge wrote. She faced a sentence of 33 to 41 months under the advisory guidelines.

But in a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Block sentenced Ms. Nesbeth to one year of probation, to include six months of home confinement and 100 hours of community service, and said he would elaborate on his reasoning in the full opinion.

Amanda L. David, a federal public defender representing Ms. Nesbeth, said of the ruling, “It’s refreshing, really, to see a judge considering the ramifications that a lot of people don’t even know about, much less consider, when they think about a person being sentenced.” But even with the probationary sentence, Ms. David said, it was disheartening that there “are all these doors that are closed to her based on her conviction.”

The United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn declined to comment. But in a memo to the judge before sentencing, the office said the collateral consequences of Ms. Nesbeth’s convictions were necessary given her “serious criminal conduct.” Such restrictions, the office added, were “meant to promote public safety, by limiting an individual’s access to certain jobs or sensitive areas,” and “to ensure that government resources are being spent on those who obey the law.”

In the opinion, Judge Block quoted from the work of the legal scholar Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

“Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow,” she wrote in one section quoted by Judge Block.

The judge noted that Ms. Nesbeth, who was 20 at the time of her conviction and lived with her mother in New Haven, had been enrolled in college and was also working as a nail technician to help support herself.

Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia, added that “however laudable it is for the judge to highlight this problem, his decision can’t solve it, even for this defendant.”

“As the judge himself has made clear,” Professor Richman added, “the source of the problem is outside of his control, all these different statutes.”

Indeed, Judge Block, who has served for more than two decades on the federal bench, said that while judges should consider such consequences at sentencing, it was for Congress and state legislatures “to determine whether the plethora of post-sentence punishments imposed upon felons is truly warranted, and to take a hard look at whether they do the country more harm than good.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those who smuggle drugs and commit serious crimes know that getting caught usually means prison time. I would suggest that, rather than placing them on probation, authorities should put up billboards all over high crime neighborhoods and along well-traveled roadways prominently describing the collateral consequences of felony convictions. If that doesn’t deter people from committing felonies, they deserve to be imprisoned, the collateral consequences thereof notwithstanding.


Susy Laborin got caught at the Nogales border crossing with one pound of meth stuffed in a burrito

The Smoking Gun
May 24, 2016

An Arizona woman tried to smuggle a methamphetamine-stuffed burrito into the U.S. from Mexico, but was thwarted when federal agents sniffed out her scheme, investigators report.

As detailed in a U.S. District Court complaint, Susy Laborin, 23, sought to enter the U.S. Saturday afternoon via a pedestrian gate at the border crossing in Nogales, Arizona.

Laborin, seen above, was “carrying a plastic bag containing burritos,” according to the complaint. But when a Customs and Border Protection officer examined the grub, the investigator discovered a bag of meth “concealed in the shape of a burrito.”

The meth, which weighed about a pound, is valued at more than $3000, CBP officials said.

Laborin, the complaint notes, admitted that she knew the burrito was stuffed with meth and said that she “was supposed to be paid $500 to transport the drugs via shuttle from Nogales to Tuscon where she would deliver them to an unknown third party.”

Laborin, a Nogales resident, was charged with narcotics possession. A federal magistrate yesterday ordered her detained pending trial on the felony charge.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s too bad for poor Suzy that she will not be appearing bedore U.S. District Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn. Judge Block would have put her on probation instead of sending her to prison because he is troubled by the collateral consequences of a felony conviction.


The Wallace Pack unit is a geriatric unit that houses hundreds of inmates over the age of 60 who suffer from heat-sensitive medical conditions

By Leif Reigstad

Houston Press
May 27, 2016

A tornado struck a prison in Navasota late yesterday afternoon, damaging two pickets and the roof of a building outside the perimeter of the fence, according to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice press release.

All offenders and staff at Wallace Pack Unit are accounted for and there are no reported injuries. The prison holds about 1,150 inmates, plus 334 total employees, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website.

In 2014, four inmates filed a federal lawsuit alleging they were being held in dangerously hot conditions. According to the Houston Chronicle, the inmates said in the lawsuit that it was so hot inside the pack unit that metal tables were too hot to touch and the metal-walled cell blocks were "like ovens."

"Pack is a geriatric unit that has hundreds of inmates over the age of 60, and hundreds more suffer from heat-sensitive medical conditions," Austin attorney Jeff Edwards, lead counsel in the case, told the Chron. "[Prison officials] know the temperatures at Pack put these prisoners in danger rather than cool the housing areas or move the prisoners to safe locations. They play Russian roulette with their health."

Later in 2014, the TDCJ found higher-than-normal levels of arsenic in the prison's water system, the Navasota Examiner reported. inmates of the

EDITOR'S NOTE: Meanwhile, in anticipation of severe flooding from the rain-swollen Brazos River, 2,600 inmates of the Terrell and Stringfellow Units were temporarily transferred by bus to other prisons. The two prisons are located 30 miles south of Houston.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


A veteran cop laments days gone bye

By Harry Dunne

I remember working night shift patrol. An in-progress call could warrant running code 3. As we would near the location, we would shut off our lights and siren and even turn off our headlights in an effort to sneak up on the criminals. It was against policy, but we still did it for the victims in order to catch the crooks. It was unauthorized pro-active policing. The brass new we did it and looked the other way in order to reduce crime.

Remember that little boy from down the street that was stealing all the bikes? He came from a broken home and his single Mother was working two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads. We dealt with him too. Sometimes all it took was getting him involved in the local Boys Club and making sure Blue Santa visited his home with a bicycle. Sometimes our families had less so that we could help yours.

Remember the night your Dad came home drunk and gave your Mother a black eye? She wouldn’t file charges because he would lose his job and he was really a good man when he wasn’t drunk. After my partner took him to the back yard and had a persuasive chat with him, he stopped hitting your Mom. Your Dad came back in all red faced and crying. He shook hands with us before we left.

Remember when we stopped you for speeding. You had spilled your coffee in your lap and when we saw the mess, we let you go? That’s when we had discretionary power. Now we take video of each other and everything is by the book.

Remember the bully, the peeping tom, the sneak thief and the drunk driver? We took care of all of them. We did it with pro-active policing and being involved in the area we patrolled.
I want to apologize for the current lack of pro-active policing that has contributed to increased crime and the unimaginable number of urban murders.

You used to have our backs.

We’re still out there patrolling. Just don’t count on us to do anything extra to help you in a time of need.

The sad thing is, we still want to be pro-active.

Guess what? We never thought Black Lives didn’t Matter.

Harry Dunne is the pen name of a veteran Texas law enforcement official.


By Bob Walsh

The parents of the late Kate Steinle have just (05-27) filed a civil suit in federal court in the People’s Republic of San Francisco against former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the city and county of San Francisco and various federal officials.

The suit centers of a multiple revolving-door illegal alien felon who has admitted to shooting and killing Ms. Steinle. The lawsuit asserts that the shooter should have been in the slammer and would have been if various officials had done their jobs correctly.

You might remember that the shooter was transferred from federal custody to SF due to an old warrant for selling pot. The jail, acting in accordance with San Francisco’s (illegal) Sanctuary City law refused to turn him back to ICE when they decided not to prosecute and instead let him hit the bricks.

A few weeks later Ms. Steinle was dead, shot down in front of her father on Fishereman’s Warf.

The City and County of San Francisco is asserting that they cannot be held liable for the actions of a criminal. They might be right. The feds have expressed sympathy for the family but have not admitted to any liability.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. My guess is it will go nowhere, but I could be wrong and in fact hope I am.


Students say their activism work doesn’t leave them with enough time for course work

By Becca Stanek

The Week
May 2016

Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.

The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult. "A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting," Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin's student government, said, referring to the protests surrounding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer in 2014. "But we needed to organize on campus as well — it wasn't sustainable to keep driving 40 minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically."

The student activists' request doesn't come without precedence: In the 1970s, Oberlin adjusted its grading to accommodate student activists protesting the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, The New Yorker reports. But current students contend that same luxury was not granted to them even though the recent Rice protests were over a police shooting that took place just 30 miles east of campus.

"You know, we're paying for a service. We're paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it," student Zakiya Acey told The New Yorker. "Because I'm dealing with having been arrested on campus, or having to deal with the things that my family are going through because of larger systems — having to deal with all of that, I can't produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways."

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s next? Abolish finals and any grades below B? Compared to colleges and universities in China, Japan and European countries, American academia is becoming a joke. I can foresee degrees being printed on toilet paper because that’s all they’re going to be worth, especially if President Obama and Hillary Clinton get their way by providing everyone in America with a college education.

Apparently, Oberlin students believe that activism is more important than studying. I wonder where they got that? Me thinks I smell some Marxist profs lurking in the background.

And what do they mean by ‘activism work’? All you have to do is look at the college-age participants in the Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump demonstrations and you have the answer.

The Oberlin students remind me of my old days on the faculty of College of the Mainland where the Marxists controlled the administration for more than 30 years. They would never give their students any grade below C. The Marxist profs and their fellow travelers on the faculty believed Ds and – God forbid – Fs were punitive grades.


Only one small group remains and their future is even in jeopardy after ISIS attack

By Todd Beamon

May 27, 2016

The Pentagon has spent $500 million training and arming Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State — but only one small group remains, and their future is even in jeopardy after a suicide attack earlier this month.

"I’m not saying the Americans let us down, but there is dereliction of duty," Lt. Col. Mohammed Tallaa, a Syrian officer who defected and commands the New Syrian Army, told The Washington Post. "They are not doing what they could.

"We don’t want the Americans to disrespect the lives of our men," Tallaa said.

The army completed its U.S. training in Jordan — seizing a small piece of ISIS territory in southeastern Syria in March, according to the Post. They have held their ground until the May 7 suicide attack shortly before dawn.

Many members of Tallaa's army were killed, though he would not specify how many on the record. The assault devastated the small force, which continues to wait for weapons and other equipment that had been promised by the United States.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a military spokesman, told the Post that warplanes responded to a call for help when the base was attacked, but that it had occurred so quickly that the jets did not arrive in time.

ISIS spots in the area have since been hit by airstrikes — and the new weapons and supplies have been delivered, Warren said.

Warren said the U.S. military believed the group will survive.

"They still have Tanaf, they have been resupplied, and we think they can hold," he told the Post. "We think they have enough firepower, and we are providing support with airstrikes as available."

The Pentagon's $500 million rebel-training program, conceived by President Barack Obama two years ago, has been plagued with problems from the start.

Training got off to a slow start, only beginning this year, and the program was suspended a short time later.

That occurred after the first group of trainees was kidnapped by the al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the second defected — leaving its weapons to be confiscated, the Post reports.


During the televised funeral, the Palestinian Authority TV news anchor praised the murderer as a “martyr” no fewer than 11 times

Israel Today
May 26, 2016

Israel last week returned the body of terrorist Bashar Masalha to his family on condition that he not be given a “martyr’s” funeral.

The Palestinian Authority did not honor the agreement.

Masalha’s funeral was attended by hundreds of chanting mourners, and was given priority coverage by Palestinian Authority TV.

During the televised event, the PA TV news anchor praised Masalha as a “martyr” no fewer than 11 times.

What did Masalha do that the Palestinian leadership is so proud of him?

On March 8 of this year, he ran down the boardwalk in the ancient coastal town of Jaffa stabbing anyone and everyone who crossed his path. In the end, Masalha murdered just one person - American tourist Taylor Force - and wounded 11 more people, including an Israeli Arab who works for coexistence with Jews.

Masalha was eventually shot and killed by Israeli police, thus earning him a place of eternal praise among those parts of Palestinian society that want to see Israel wiped off the map.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those damn Jews don’t seem to understand that Masalha was a brave freedom fighter who was vastly outnumbered by the enemy he singlehandedly attacked.


Who Sanders surrounds himself with should sicken any patriotic American --- and all the more so if you are Jewish

By Steven Emerson

Jewish World Review
May 27, 2016

As Democratic Party leaders struggle to end their increasingly vitriolic presidential primary campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is winning concessions in hopes he'll tone down the rhetoric.

Earlier this week, Sanders secured five seats on the party's platform committee, with one immediately going to James Zogby, a staunch Palestinian advocate and critic of Israel.

Memorial Day weekend's approach brings to mind a prominent Sanders supporter, Zahra Billoo, who has repeatedly expressed discomfort with the holiday. "Many of our troops are engaged in terrorism," she wrote in June 2012.

Billoo heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) San Francisco office. CAIR has roots in a Hamas-support network created by the Muslim Brotherhood in American, internal documents and eyewitness accounts show.

Two weeks ago, Billoo made it clear her views about American troops have not changed, questioning the holiday's value: "You think we should honor people who commit war crimes?" she asked an incredulous questioner. She "proudly stands by" her opinion, she also wrote.

Despite these extreme views, or perhaps because of them, Billoo appears to be playing a significant role in the Sanders campaign. Her social media accounts are filled with pro-Sanders messages — including repeated reminders about the registration deadline to be eligible for June 7 California primary. She was granted backstage access to a Sanders rally last week in San Jose where she was photographed with the candidate.

Billoo also has argued that American citizens who move to Israel and join the army are no different from those who join ISIS. "Is one genocidal group different than the other?" she asked last year.

Billoo's extremism applies to domestic policy, too. She casts FBI counter-terror investigations as illegitimate and even corrupt. She blasted the conviction of five former officials from the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation after records showed they illegally routed millions of dollars to Hamas. And, in the wake of a Portland man's arrest for plotting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony crowded with children, she suggested to a reporter that the FBI hyped the threat.

"The question is, are we looking to stop radicalization and stop extremism before it becomes a problem or do we want a sensational story?" Billoo asked. "And I'd really argue here that the FBI was looking for a sensational story."

The suspect, Mohamed Mohamud, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Among the evidence against him was a recording in which he said, "I want whoever is attending that event to be, to leave either dead or injured."

Billoo's opinions hold steady regardless of the facts. Maybe that's why she's comfortable being involved in campaign politics.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It looks to me like Sanders is not only a capitalist-hating socialist but also a Jew-hating Jew.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


After a scathing criticism by the IG for her use of a private server and email address, Hillary said the report was insignificant and “nothing has changed.”

Hillary Clinton waited more than 24 hours before responding to a scathing criticism by the State Department’s Inspector General which accused her of breaking the department’s rules in her use of a private server and email address.

The IG report said Clinton did not have permission to use a private server and had she asked, her request would have been denied. The IG was also harshly critical of her because she took 22 months to turn over her emails to the department after she resigned as Secretary of State.

“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.

Clinton said the report was insignificant and complained that it was made without her input even though she and her aides refused to be interviewed by the State Department’s watchdog agency.

Hillary told reporters that she had been questioned by the Benghazi committee for 11 hours and had posted information about the emails on her website. She suggested that was all that was necessary because “nothing has changed.”

Clinton cherry-picked one part of the report to come up with a lame excuse. Ignoring the IG’s scathing criticism, she said: “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. It's the same story. Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented. I have turned over all my emails. No one else can say that.”

I’m surprised she didn’t claim that the IG report was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

For those of you whose hopes have suddenly been revived that crooked Hillary will yet be indicted, I say get real! It ain’t about to happen under the Obama administration.


By Bob Walsh

Gregory Miller, 54, was a piece of shit. He is now a dead piece of shit. He was an accomplice of William George Bonin, the notorious Freeway Killer who was actually executed by the formerly great state of California in 1996. Miller was convicted of murdering two boys, ages 12 and 14, in SoCal in 1982 and 83.

Miller was in a fight at Mule Creek State Prison on Monday of this week. He was sent back to his cell by medical, fell unconscious 90 minutes later and died two days later. (Can you say “Malpractice Suit?)

The death came just a few days after the IG issued a report that was extremely uncomplimentary towards CDCr medical care in general, and Mule Creek in particular.

Both Miller and another accomplice, James Munro, testified against Bonin in exchange for lighter sentences.


Attacked by another inmate in a Mule Creek State Prison exercise yard, Gregory Miley was sent back to his cell after an examination at the prison’s medical facility, but became unconscious about 90 minutes later

Associated Press
May 26, 2016

IONE, Calif. -- An accomplice of the so-called Freeway Killer who terrorized Southern California 36 years ago has been killed in prison, officials said Thursday.

Gregory Miley, 54, was attacked by another inmate in a Mule Creek State Prison exercise yard Monday evening, said state corrections department spokesman Joe Orlando.

He was sent back to his cell after an examination at the prison’s medical facility, but became unconscious about 90 minutes later. Orlando said Miley died at an outside hospital Wednesday afternoon after he was taken off life support.

The state inspector general issued a scathing report last week saying Mule Creek provides poor medical care to inmates.

Miley was serving two life sentences for assisting “Freeway Killer” William George Bonin. Bonin was executed in 1996, the first in California to die by lethal injection.

Miley’s convictions in Los Angeles County in 1982 and Orange County in 1983 were for killing two boys, ages 14 and 12.

Bonin was sentenced to die for killing 14 young men and boys from 1979 to 1980 and dumping their naked bodies along freeways.

The victims, ages 12 to 19, were sexually abused, tortured and all but one was strangled. That victim, a 17-year-old German tourist, was stabbed about 70 times. One victim was found with an ice pick in his head, while others had been burned with cigarettes.

Bonin received two death sentences, but was convicted of 10 murders in Los Angeles County and four more in Orange County. He once told a television reporter he had killed 21 people.

Miley and another accomplice, James Munro, testified against Bonin in exchange for lighter sentences. Another suspected accomplice hanged himself before trial.

Orlando couldn’t say if Miley’s crimes were believed to be a motive for the assault or why he was attacked.

“It’s an ongoing investigation so we can’t say very much,” Orlando said.

He wouldn’t say if a weapon was used or give details on the other inmate.

Mule Creek houses about 3,000 inmates in Ione, about 40 miles southeast of Sacramento.


Argentine court sentences ex-dictator Reynaldo Bignone for Operation Condor conspiracy

Associated Press
May 27, 2016

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Reynaldo Bignone, the last military president in Argentina's dictatorship, was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in prison for the forced disappearance of more than 100 people during the Operation Condor conspiracy.

The covert program was launched in the 1970s by six South American dictators who used their network of secret police agencies in a combined effort to hunt down their political opponents across the region and eliminate them.

Bignone, 88, was charged with being part of an illicit association as part of the Operation Condor and abusing his powers in office. The former general who ruled Argentina in 1982-1983, is already serving life sentences for multiple human rights violations during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

The trial, which began in 2013, involves 16 other former military officials and 105 victims from at least four countries. A key piece of evidence is a declassified FBI agent's cable, sent in 1976, that described in detail the conspiracy to share intelligence and eliminate leftists across South America.

Operation Condor was launched by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who enlisted other South America's dictators. It grew to include Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

But the covert conspiracy went further than that: the U.S. government later determined that Chilean agents involved in Condor killed the country's former ambassador Orlando Letelier and his U.S. aide Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C., in September 1976, and tracked other exiles across Europe in efforts to eliminate them.


NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is placing the blame on amateur videographers with cell phones for escalating confrontations between police and civilians

Officer.com News
May 26, 2016

The NYPD's top cop is placing the blame on amateur videographers with cell phones for escalating confrontations between police and civilians.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the issue when he was asked about the investigation into a video showing an officer pointing a gun at a group of onlookers on May 19, according to The New York Daily News.

"There is a phenomenon in this country that we need to examine and it’s just not in New York," Bratton said following the Major Cities Chiefs Association Conference at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Wednesday. "This has become very serious. I would almost describe it as an epidemic in this country."

The officer on the video, identified as Risel Martinez, has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.

Bratton said he is not defending the officer's actions, but that the video is just part of the investigation.

"You do not have a right to resist arrest and in so many of those videos, people are resisting violently and being encouraged by the crowd," he said. "There is increasing efforts on the part of individuals -- sometimes in a crowd and often times mobs -- to attempt to record, intimidate and create fear and physically free a prisoner."

Bratton said that he's hopefully that a push to equip the city's officers with body cameras will level the playing field.

"[Cops] will be able to photograph what is in front of them," he said. "We will get a lot of balance that way."


A man in India left his camel tied up in the heat all day and when he returned, one thoroughly pissed-off camel bit his head off

Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes? Nope. Revenge of the Killer Camel? Yes!

The Times of India reports that Urjaram of Mangta village in Rajasthan's Barmer district left his camel with its legs tied up all day in the heat Saturday while he entertained guests at his house. That night it suddenly occurred to him that he had left his camel tied up all day. When he went to check on the animal, one pissed-off camel retaliated by biting Urjaram’s head off.

The times reports that “The animal lifted him by the neck and threw him on to the ground, chewed the body and severed the head.” About 25 villagers struggled for 6 hours to calm the animal down.

Camels can be downright mean animals. They spit at people and bite. So don’t lose your head around a pissed-off camel.

Friday, May 27, 2016



Peeing in the street, loitering, littering, noise and drinking alcohol out of a paper bagged bottle will be classified as civil matters rather than criminal offenses

With 39 out of the 51 members voting in favor, the New York City Council sent Mayor Bill de Blasio a series of measures decriminalizing peeing in the streets, loitering, littering, noise, drinking alcohol out of a paper bagged bottle and other quality of life offenses.

The decriminalized offenses are quite common in inner city minority neighborhoods.

De Blasio said he will sign the measures into law. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton supports the changes because cops will retain the authority to choose between issuing criminal and civil summonses.

Instead of being jailed and burdened with a criminal record, the civil offenders will be given the choice of paying fines or doing community service work.

Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) said that “Criminalizing minor offenses leads to minorities getting criminal records that restrict their 'access to financial aid and higher education. These essential elements of a decent life... can be easily blighted by the lingering stigma of a criminal record.”

A New York Daily News editorial summed it up this way: Offenders get breaks. The NYPD gets new hassles and city government gets hefty new quasi-judicial bureaucratic duties. Progressive New York at its finest.

And The Wall Street Journal says: There you have the perfect progressive definition of personal responsibility: I had no choice but to relieve myself on the sidewalk. As we learned in the 1960s and 1970s, making the city safer for small offenders will eventually make it less safe for everyone else.


Albuquerque anti-Trump protesters waved Mexican flags and pelted the police and their horses with rocks and bottles

Donald Trump held arally Tuesday evening inside the Albuquerque Convention center. Before he arrived, a crowd of more than 100 protesters had gathered with signs reading that Trump does not belong in New Mexico and other anti-Trump slogans. A number of the protesters were waving Mexican flags.

As the evening wore on the crowd swelled to over a thousand and became unruly. A full-blown riot broke out during which the police and their horses were pelted with rocks and bottles. The rioteers damaged police cars, set fires and broke the windows in the convention center. Many in the crowd chanted “Fuck the police!”

Several cops were injured by the rocks and bottles. Although the police were out in force, they made only one arrest. Only one arrest?

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis reacted to the rioting by expressing his disgust on Facebook:

The violence that we’re seeing this evening is absolutely unacceptable and is not the fault of Donald Trump, his campaign, or the attendees at the rally this evening. It is directly the result of so called public interest groups, such as ProgressNM and the Southwest Organizing Project, fomenting hate.

These organizations this evening devolved from community action groups to hate groups by every usual measure. This was not a protest – it was a riot that was the result of a mob trying to cause damage and injury to public property and innocent citizens exercising their constitutional right to peaceably assemble.

Today represents a dark day for the First Amendment in the city of Albuquerque.

Very well said Councilor Lewis!

I did a little checking on ProgressNM and the Southwest Organizing Project. ProgressNM is funded largely by none other than far-left billionaire George Soros and proclaims, “We’re here for just one reason: to speak up for New Mexico’s progressive majority.”

The Southwest Organizing Project is an equally-far-left group. “The SouthWest Organizing Project was founded in 1980 by young activists of color to empower communities in the SouthWest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice.” That sure sounds like SWOP was thought up by some Marxist university professors.

I’ve watched several videos of the protesters and noticed that a number of them waved Mexican flags. I did not observe any American flags.

I strongly support the right of aggrieved people to protest peaceably. If they’re going to wave flags, it should be the American flag, not the flags of a foreign nation.

To those Albuquerque demonstrators who were waving those Mexican flags, I say take those flags to Mexico and stay there!


By Bob Walsh

Katie Couric recently put together a film on the “gun culture” in the United States. It is called UNDER THE GUN.

The film, directed by Stephanie Soechtig, left a lot on the cutting room floor, including most of the interviews with solid, well thought out and expressive pro-gun people, like John Lott. That is to be expected, even though the director said “We kept going back to the idea that we wanted to reserve the real estate in the film for responsible gun owners.”

There is an interesting bit in the film where Couric asks a room full of gun owners a question. She asks how “terrorists or felons” can be prevented from getting guns if there are no background checks. The response (in the film) is nine seconds of silence and a group of people sitting around with a “deer in the headlights” look.

What actually happened is the group gave prompt and reasonable responses to the question. The nine seconds was b-roll shot of the room before the program even started. The cut and final presentation was clearly done to make gun owners look like dullards who were unable to respond reasonably to a reasonable question.

That is simple, basic intellectual dishonesty. It shows the anti-gun crowd cannot hope to reasonably win on their arguments, so they work very hard to make pro-gun people look like retards.


“We've been accused of having institutional biases and racist undertones. Come on, this is San Francisco, are you kidding me?”

By Max Cherney

May 23, 2016

The police killing of a 27-year-old black woman in San Francisco on Thursday may have been something of a tipping point for local law enforcement. Generating national headlines, the woman's death while fleeing cops—she was suspected of driving a stolen car, which crashed shortly after police began pursuit—was promptly followed by Mayor Edwin Lee asking for for Police Chief Greg Suhr's resignation.

The chief called it quits that same day.

The roughly 2,000-strong SFPD has killed three people since December, including one homeless man. So it only figures that, like some other big-city police departments in America, it's facing intense scrutiny from the media and the Justice Department. Not that San Francisco cops haven't found ways to stick out from the pack: racist and homophobic text messages from 14 officers surfaced amid a federal criminal trial last year, and they've continued to plague police-community relations after four more officers were recently implicated in the exchanges.

So if Suhr's resignation was a bloodstained victory for activists and protesters who have been calling for his ouster for months, it's unclear what effect removing the top cop will have on the department and its officers. For an inside view, VICE got on the horn with an SFPD officer who has 20 years of experience, including undercover narcotics work and posts in some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. He spoke with us on the condition of anonymity because, like most American cops, he is not an authorized spokesman for his department.

VICE: Chief Greg Suhr resigned after the mayor asked him to. What's going on there, and what are regular cops saying about it?

SFPD Officer: The rank and file are not pleased, particularly with the circumstances in which the chief was asked to resign. He was well-liked. He was honorable. I think everybody recognizes that this is a political move by the mayor because he was getting pressure from a small segment of the community and city officials. It's unfortunate.

But the chief knew, as well as every single cop, that soon after the shooting Thursday we were going to have protests and the potential for riots. And the chief could have said, "No, I'm not resigning," which is what a lot of cops said they wanted him to do. But he doesn't fight it. He is an honorable man. He realizes that if he falls on this sword, he is going to help the city move forward. Plus, he's going to be taking care of all the cops out there in riot gear, getting hit with anything from insults to beer bottles, and maybe worse. So he fell on the sword.

It's an amazing world when the actions of officers on the street directly affect whether or not the chief of police stays employed. People are holding him responsible for split second decisions being made by other people, of which he has zero control in that moment. But yet he is the one who people look to to blame or hold responsible. It's frustrating.

The phase "cop's cop" has been tossed around in a few news stories to describe the chief. What does that mean, exactly, in 2016?
He has our respect. He took an unusual path to be the chief of police. In many cases chiefs, and particularly in other law enforcement agencies, have been groomed from the beginning. They didn't get tough assignments and work in tough neighborhoods. They did administrative assignments: in the rear with the gear kind of gigs.

No, Suhr is a working cop, and was for thirty years. He started out as a patrol officer, and he worked his way up. And when he was chief, he had an open door policy that any cop on the street go in and say, "Hey chief, can you explain to me why this is this way?" Many chiefs in the past were elusive, hands off, and insulated by a number of other administrative officers. And if you're going to be Monday morning quarterbacked (after an officer-involved shooting), you want to be judged by somebody who's walked in the same shoes you're walking in.

When it comes to officer-involved shootings and the national attention they receive, are San Francisco cops afraid the climate may get even worse?
I think there's a deep concern. I mean, more than ever we understand that every single thing that we do is subject to a ton of media attention and public scrutiny, particularly when it comes to officer-involved shootings. But I think that we don't feel like we get a fair shake from the media. In general, the media places undue responsibility on law enforcement, which completely ignores the person, the crook, who is committing these crimes. I don't understand that. We don't pick a name out of a hat and decide that today we're going to make contact with a certain person and transform the situation completely upside down where ultimately it ends with somebody dying. That's not what the police do. If someone does something and that brings them into contact with the police, it's in their interest to comply. Comply when contacted.

It's also often portrayed in a way as if this is something that's happening every single day and that this is the status quo. It's not. In San Francisco, we're dealing with individuals with mental illnesses hundreds of times per day. Officers make contact with thousands of other citizens of all races. And, yeah, sometimes it doesn't go the way that anybody wants it to go—worst case: an officer-involved shooting. But the vast majority of the time it does not get to that level.

What about the racist text messages and claims that there's a culture of racism in the SFPD?
I don't believe, nor have I seen, anything that made me think that there is a culture of racism within this police department. On any given day, your coworkers come from all kinds of different ethnic backgrounds. These are the people that you work with, and in a job like being a police officer in San Francisco, these are the people you count on to have your back. These are your friends.

I will acknowledge that sometimes conversations can be wide open. It's like how players talk shit to one another when they're on their field. There is absolutely trash talk, and it's a culture that I would call gallows humor. It's humor much more harsh—because of the nature of the job— than I think mainstream individuals could necessarily understand. But we've been accused of having institutional biases and racist undertones. Come on, this is San Francisco, are you kidding me? Who has time for that?

When I hear about text messages, the first thing you have to remember is these things are taken out of context. That gallows humor is a very hard thing to explain. But it's not institutional racism. Having said that, I have read some of the text messages that have been made public. Some of them, yeah, I thought they were extremely distasteful. And this is from a cop with twenty years of experience. So maybe there are some individuals, because I can't say across the board—I know it makes for a much better story in the media if you make it sound like we're all a bunch of racist cops. We're not. But the bottom line is that even if society doesn't or can't understand cop culture, we still shouldn't be talking to one another or about one another like that.

How have the (polarizing) changes in the city, in large part spurred by the tech boom in Silicon Valley, changed the crime picture in your neighborhoods?
It's had a subtle effect in the Tenderloin. You've got to remember that most of the drug dealers and drug users in the Tenderloin don't live in San Francisco, they commute there. So gentrification is happening and reducing crime in the Tenderloin, but it's slow. The places to buy drugs still move around like they always have: Pill Hill (a good place to score prescription drugs) used to be at Jones and Golden Gate. Now it's at Leavenworth and Golden Gate. I see some ebb and flow, but it's going to take a lot more gentrification to eliminate it. But just look at the Mission District. Huge gentrification effect. I remember Sixteenth Street and Valencia being a really rough place circa 1994, and now you go down there, and it's Whole Foods and Audis.

OK, I have to ask before you go: What do San Francisco cops think about Trump?
Yeah, he might be extreme, certainly by San Francisco standards. And no, I've never seen him talk to a San Francisco cop. But the more interesting thing is that we're concerned with is, if Donald Trump becomes president, he might put an end to sanctuary cities. We work in a sanctuary city. I think most cops believe that there are a lot of hard-working immigrants families in San Francisco, and sometimes they need the police. And we don't want them to be afraid of calling the police. But if San Francisco doesn't go along with the feds [and start enforcing national immigration policies], we're afraid that they will pull a lot of money; it's financial support not only for law enforcement but also for mental health and homelessness. That could be a big problem for San Francisco.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.


By Richard Winton and Howard Blume

Los Angeles Times
May 25, 2016

In a recent court hearing, one young man after another claimed that former Franklin High football coach Jaime Jimenez befriended them during summer practice before 9th grade, then sexually abused them.

But it’s not the allegations against Jimenez that are at the center of a lawsuit filed this month against the Los Angeles Unified School District. It’s about whether school officials once again missed — or ignored — warning signs about Jimenez that prolonged the alleged abuse.

The nation's second-largest school system has been plagued in recent years by a series of cases in which officials missed indications of teacher misconduct, and in some instances, continued to employ teachers who were under a cloud, or ignored or overlooked direct complaints.

The result is a trail of victimized students and massive payouts to victims and attorneys that have surpassed $300 million in just the last four years.

The district paid $40 million related to abuse at Telfair Elementary School after plaintiffs claimed the district overlooked earlier molestation allegations made against a teacher. The settlement was $58 million in the case of a George De La Torre Elementary School teacher, who faced numerous accusations of touching students that the district ignored. The biggest payout -- $200 million -- came after revelations that the district knew of complaints dating back to 1983 about a Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of abusing numerous students in his classroom.

"Districts are not liable for criminal acts," said attorney Mary Jo McGrath, who has advised school districts and conducted investigations for them. "They are liable for what they did not do.”

LAUSD officials acknowledge past mistakes, but insist they have taken strong measures and now have some of the most extensive policies for preventing and uncovering abuse.

But a pattern has emerged: The district announces measures to make students safer, only to discover a new weakness in the system or to find that policies were not followed.

And predators keep surfacing.

Jimenez, 47, has pleaded not guilty to 32 felony counts for alleged wrongdoing stretching as far back as 2001.

Prosecutors say he actively pursued and abused boys from then until early 2015, when he was arrested. That was well after the district imposed a series of reforms in the wake of the Miramonte scandal.

Witnesses ranging in age from 16 to 27 testified in February that, over 14 years, Jimenez, a walk-on coach who assisted the full-time staff, gave them rides from practice, bought them gifts, regularly had students to his house to play computer games and to watch movies and football on TV. They frequently slept over; sometimes he plied them with alcohol, they said.

He allegedly ratcheted up sexual contact, moving from touching to masturbation and sodomy. A fixture in the Franklin community, Jimenez knew some of his alleged victims when they were in elementary school; one testified that the abuse began when he was 9.

The lawyer for some of the victims said it's hard to believe officials at the school didn't suspect something was going on with one of his clients.

"Teachers and administrators would see him coming and going in (Jimenez’s) car and they know that is against policy,” attorney Vince Finaldi said.

That theme, of missing warning signs, or of failing to take seriously when a parent or student complained about discomfort with a teacher, has surfaced repeatedly in recent years.

Complaints against former teacher De La Torre teacher Robert Pimentel spanned a decade.

His supervisor, former district Principal Irene Hinojosa, fielded concerns about Pimentel touching students in 2002, when she documented a conference with the teacher about touching and slapping girls' buttocks and touching their calves. The teacher admitted the conduct, with the excuse that he was on medication, which increased his sex hormones, according to the documents.

Three years later, Hinojosa received a search warrant from the Newport Beach police requesting “Mr. Pimentel’s employment and personnel files” because of an investigation into Pimentel's alleged abuse of a minor who was related to him.

It's not clear whether these early reports rose above Hinojosa, for whom Pimentel worked at two campuses.

In 2009, senior administrators learned of allegations through a report from social worker Holly Priebe-Diaz, who had talked to parents demonstrating against Hinojosa. Their concerns included Pimentel, who, the parents told her, "has been known to touch female students inappropriately...he caresses the girls.” One parent described his rubbing a girl’s back and “stroking her bra strap.”

Thirteen of the damage claims concerned actions Pimentel took after Priebe-Diaz's 2009 report and after the district imposed new internal rules designed to better detect abusive teachers.

Plaintiff attorneys said the district should have acted much sooner against Pimentel.

“They put policies in place. They say they are reforming and then it turns out administrators ignored all the reports,” said attorney John Manly, who has represented some of the abuse victims.

Pimentel was eventually convicted of child abuse and sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

Los Angeles is far from the only school system to grapple with allegations of molestation by teachers. Just last month, a jury ordered the Pomona Unified School District to pay $8 million to a former student who was molested repeatedly by a teacher, including once during a Disneyland visit.

But L.A. Unified's sheer size, and the outrageous nature of several high-profile cases, has kept the issue front and center for several years.

The district's most expensive abuse case involves Mark Berndt, a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School south of downtown L.A. The district has spent $200 million on claims made by students, and more cases are outstanding.

The size of settlements are also creeping upward. Those first Miramonte claims cost the district about $500,000 each in 2013. Later, similar cases crossed the million-dollar mark. Last week's payouts in the Pimentel case averaged about $3 million per student. The district last week also resolved suits related to former Telfair Elementary teacher Paul Chapel for about $30 million, bringing the total payouts in that case to nearly $40 million.

The largest payment to one victim was $6.9 million in 2012 to a boy repeatedly sexually abused by former Queen Anne Place Elementary teacher Forrest Stobbe.

"Because of these settlements, the injury caused by these criminals truly is an injury to all," said school board President Steve Zimmer. "But I’m not going to say the settlements are too much. There is no amount of money that can undo what was done. The No. 1 concern is the healing of children who were injured under our watch. The second is the activity of a tiny, tiny fraction of employees who were criminals masquerading as teachers."

District officials say every case is unique and that the circumstances determine the dollars, but the district's accumulated reputation and record may work against it — attorneys for victims routinely cite the district's past mistakes in court filings.

Other potentially costly cases are working their way through the legal pipeline, including that of Jimenez and former Franklin drama teacher Peter Gomez, who was convicted of sexually abusing two boys. Both victims sued the district, with one case settled and another settlement pending, according to court records.

Other active claims relate to former San Pedro High substitute science teacher Michelle Yeh, who last year pleaded no contest to unlawful sex and child molestation involving three boys.

Prosecutors declined to charge former El Sereno Elementary School teacher Armando Gonzalez, but at least three former students have sued the district, alleging he abused them between 2008 and 2010.

School officials said that many of the biggest settlements in recent years have come from allegations of abuse that occurred some time ago. They believe some of the reforms are showing results.

"These settlements involved cases that happened many years ago," general counsel David Holmquist said. "This is in our history and we’ve taken steps to correct the problems going forward. Students are much safer today than a decade ago.”

Officials cite updated, annual training for parents, students and employees, an increased police presence on campuses and a special investigations team.

The district credits this team with recently unearthing alleged abuse from at least 10 years ago, which led to the arrest last week of Asst. Principal William Webb, a case that already has launched another lawsuit.

"We welcome new ideas," Holmquist said. "If there were a reliable psychological test to screen new hires, we’d do that. If somebody has a good idea, bring it on."

In a recent deposition, an L.A. Unified manager testified that, over a seven-month period, the district pulled 40 employees from schools because of sexual misconduct allegations.

In 2014 and 2015, the district initiated the dismissal of teachers in 28 cases that involved alleged inappropriate physical conduct and 14 that involved alleged sexual contact with a minor. The vast majority resulted in the teacher's departure; a few are still in process.

Across the school system, about 160 employees currently are suspended for a wide variety of possible transgressions while investigations and due process rules play out.

Statistics suggest that about 1% of teachers and other school employees across the country could be past, current or future abusers, said Terri Miller, president of Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation, which is based in Las Vegas.

L.A. Unified is far from alone in having mishandled cases, she said.

"It is a problem all over," Miller said.

L.A. teachers whose conduct led to sexual abuse payouts since 2012:

$200 million* -- Mark Berndt, Miramonte Elementary
$58 million -- Robert Pimentel, De La Torre Elementary
$40 million -- Paul Chapel, Telfair Elementary
$6.9 million -- Forrest Stobbe, Queen Anne Place Elementary
$320,000 -- Jason Leon, Portola Middle School

*includes legal fees


By Debra J. Saunders

San Francisco Chronicle
May 25, 2016

There is no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby did a great deal of what his female accusers say he did — i.e., drug and sexually assault them. There are dozens of accusers with similar stories, and the tales go back for decades. I confess, I didn't pay much attention to the story until one night, while channel surfing, I caught Cosby doing his comedy act and felt a cold brace of certainty that this man really hates women. Stars can have their pick of willing females; Cosby perversely preferred to trick, dope and violate unwitting victims. His goal was not his own satisfaction so much as their debasement.

Since an Associated Press suit prompted a federal judge to unseal a document last year in which Cosby, now 78, admitted to giving women drugs and having sex with them — all consensual, he said — the comedian effectively has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. His once-sterling reputation is tarnished beyond repair, and his career effectively finished. He had settled a civil lawsuit — an admission, of sorts, of his liability. Cosby deserves the public shaming that will haunt his remaining time on earth.

Still, I think the prosecution of Cosby in a Norristown, Pennsylvania, court for the alleged 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, then 30, goes too far.

For one thing, there is no physical evidence because Constand waited a year to report the incident to authorities. Ergo, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said there was not enough "credible" evidence to justify a prosecution.

For another, the prosecution is based on information obtained because prosecutors had made it known they would not use it in this case. Constand also filed a suit in civil court. Castor announced he would not prosecute in order to prompt Cosby to cooperate with Constand's attorneys and not invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Constand's attorney then cross-examined Cosby under oath for four days — which netted the document mentioned above. Cosby settled the civil suit under an agreement that paid Constand an undisclosed sum and left the deposition sealed.

The case became a political football when a judge unsealed the deposition. As the DA ran for re-election, challenger Kevin Steele pledged to prosecute Cosby. Steele won the race and then charged Cosby, who denies any wrongdoing, with assault. If convicted, Cosby could spend up to 30 years in prison.

"This is a very messy situation," George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley told me. On the one hand, Cosby's attorneys never got prosecutors to sign a deal not to use the deposition in criminal court. On the other hand, Turley noted, such deals are "more common than people think. Most of these cases involve a handshake agreement between a prosecutor and a defense attorney."

A district attorney prodded a private citizen to forfeit a constitutional right based on an agreement that, Castor later testified, he believed was binding "for all time." If a different prosecutor can tear up that agreement just because he doesn't like it, Turley noted, it's almost a "bait and switch." The biggest kid on the block can take back his marbles on a whim.

You can argue that if the government is going to renege on a deal, it couldn't happen to a more deserving fellow. But what if the next person isn't so deserving?

EDITOR’S NOTE: I would agree that the charges in this case should not have been filed except for the apparent fact that Cosby sexually assaulted so many women and the statute of limitations protects him in all those other cases.


She had her finger on the trigger of a gun, and it went off

May 24, 2016

DURANT, OK -- The fate of a Texoma city manager was up for debate Tuesday night after authorities say a gun she was holding went off during an argument with her husband.

It all happened early Sunday morning. Authorities say Durant City Manager Sarah Sherrer admitted to getting the gun during the argument. Her husband wasn't hit, but the incident is still being investigated.

A special meeting was called late Tuesday afternoon to discuss possible disciplinary action, and if any should be taken.

The sheriff's office was alerted of the incident when a friend couldn't get a hold of Sherrer's husband Danny and became worried.

The Bryan County Sheriff's Office says Durant City Manager Sarah Sherrer admitted she picked up a gun during an argument with her husband Danny at their home on Sandstone Road.

"Sarah stated that she was upset. She picked up a gun, without any intentions of harming Danny, but she was loading the gun. She had her finger on the trigger, and it went off," said Investigator John Haislip.

The incident happened around midnight Saturday. Investigator John Haislip says deputies weren't alerted until around 3:45 Sunday morning when a friend of Danny's grew concerned.

"After the incident I guess Danny had contacted a friend of his and told the friend what was going on. A little while later, the friend tried to call Danny back. You know got to thinking about it and wanted to make sure Danny was okay. Couldn't get a hold of him, and called the sheriff's office to advise what happened," said Haislip.

The sheriff's office says it's unclear if City Manager Sherrer fired the gun intentionally or if it went off by accident. No bullet was found inside the home but investigators say a casing was in the weapon.

As word of the shooting spreads throughout the community, some people say as the city manager, she's held to a higher standard.

"What it comes down to is character. Do you want a person with that type of character in a position of authority," said Ron Bohannon.

We tried to reach Sherrer by phone and even stopped by her house.

Residents say no matter who's involved an argument should never be settled with a gun.

"I feel you should be able to keep your composure if you're in that place of authority," said Alexsis McKinney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “An argument should never be settled with a gun.” True, but in the real world arguments are settled with a gun dayin and day out.

Danny is lucky that Sarah was inept in the use of that gun, or else he could be toes up by now.

Anyway, the Durant city council has put Sarah on paid leave pending completion of the investigation at which time they will decide her fate. I would suggest that Sarah start sending out her resume right away.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


After being berated by the Japanese prime minister, Obama did what he does best … apologize

Obama’s trip to Japan was marred Wednesday when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe berated the president for the rape-murder of a young Okinawa woman committed by a former U.S. Marine who worked at the U.S. Kadena Air Base. Abe said that he felt “profound resentment for this self-centered and despicable crime this case has shocked not just Okinawa but all of Japan.”

Obama then turned to the prime minister and did what he does best … going around the world apologizing for the U.S. The President expressed “his sincerest condolences and deepest regrets.”

President Obama doesn’t need to apologize to Japan for any murders committed by Americans. He should have just said something like, “Yes, I understand because there is profound resentment for the scores of Americans who have been killed and seriously injured by your Takata airbags, deaths and injuries that have shocked not just drivers but all of the United States.”

If any apology is called for, it’s the Japanese who should apologize for the horrendous atrocities committed by their troops before and during WW2.

Lest the Japanese forget, it was they who attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. And it was the U.S. that helped rebuild Japan after it surrendered in 1945. Also it was the U.S. that helped Japan become one of the world’s leading economic powers after the war.

Instead of apologizing, perhaps Obama should pull the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan out of that ungrateful country and let the Japanese fend for themselves against the military might of China.

Obama is scheduled to visit Hiroshima. He has said he will not apologize for the A-bombing of that now thriving metropolis. We shall see.


By Bob Walsh

There was a road rage incident along I-580 in Richmond early Sunday (05-22) evening. Shots were fired, but the cops will probably be able to identify the shooter without too much trouble.

These two numb-nuts got in some sort of a beef and started brake-checking each other. Finally the numb-nuts in the Volvo pulled up along-side and fired three rounds at the other numb-nuts.

The shooter then goosed it, took an off-ramp and smacked a light pole. He disentangled his Volvo and took off, leaving his front bumper with license plate wrapped around the pole.


By Bob Walsh

It seems that a 15-year old boy in Santa Rosa, California engineered his own unsuccessful suicide-by-cop Monday (05-23) evening.

The as-yet not publically identified young man called the cops himself just before midnight and told the dispatcher that a man answering his description was in Coffey Park with a gun. The local constabulary arrived promptly and confronted the teen. The young man initially hit the deck when ordered, but then stood up and pointed his realistic but fake gun at the cops. An officer fired on him, hitting him once in the foot. He then fell down for real and was taken into custody.

I have no idea what the range was but I can’t help but wonder if the cop deliberately shot low. In 2013 a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed a stoned youngster in possession of a very realistic fake AK-47, creating a local shitstorm. The deputy was cleared in the shooting.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Knowing what piss-poor shooters most cops are in a life-threatening situation, I suspect he was aiming at center mass and was lucky he hit the idiot in the foot.

I remember going up to a NY cop right after he shot a gun out of a robber's hand who was pointing the weapon at him from inside a car. He said something like, "Shit I wasn't aiming to do that ... I was trying to shoot the bastard between his fucking eyes."


Oops, I must’ve gotten my tongue twisted up when I said he accidentally shot himself … what I meant to say was that it was me that shot him in the back

May 25, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland mayor has placed Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea on paid administrative leave after information emerged that the chief may have misled an investigator about his involvement in an accidental shooting while hunting in eastern Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward told them O'Dea indicated to a deputy responding to the scene that his friend accidentally shot himself April 21 during a hunting trip.

Ward says O'Dea never identified himself as a police officer and didn't tell responding deputies that he had fired the shot from his rifle.

O'Dea on Friday acknowledged to the public that he'd shot and injured a 54-year-old friend in the back.

CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV reports that neither the police department nor the city publicly acknowledged the incident before Friday, when the Willamette Week first published an article about the incident.

Oregon State Police and the state Justice Department are investigating.

Mayor Charlie Hales has appointed Assistant Chief Donna Henderson to serve as acting chief.


As the homicide rate keeps rising in many cities, even some who dismissed the ‘Ferguson effect’ admit the phenomenon is real

By Heather Mac Donald

The Wall Street Journal
May 23, 2016

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has again drawn the wrath of the White House for calling attention to the rising violence in urban areas. Homicides increased 9% in the largest 63 cities in the first quarter of 2016; nonfatal shootings were up 21%, according to a Major Cities Chiefs Association survey. Those increases come on top of last year’s 17% rise in homicides in the 56 biggest U.S. cities, with 10 heavily black cities showing murder spikes above 60%.

“I was very worried about it last fall,” Mr. Comey told a May 11 news conference. “And I am in many ways more worried” now, he said, because the violent-crime rate is going up even faster this year.

Mr. Comey’s sin, according to the White House, was to posit that this climbing urban violence was the result of a falloff in proactive policing, a hypothesis I first put forward in these pages last year, dubbing it the “Ferguson effect.” The FBI director used the term “viral video effect,” but it is a distinction without a difference. “There’s a perception,” Mr. Comey said during his news conference, “that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime—the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘What are you doing here?’ ”

The reaction to Mr. Comey’s heresy was swift. White House spokesman Josh Earnest immediately accused the FBI director of being “irresponsible and ultimately counterproductive” by drawing “conclusions based on anecdotal evidence.”

Mr. Comey’s dressing-down was the second time he has been rebuked by his bosses for connecting the crime increase to a drop in proactive policing. Last November, President Obama accused Mr. Comey of trying to “cherry-pick data” and pursuing a “political agenda” after the FBI chief spoke of the “chill wind” blowing through American law enforcement since the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014.

But the evidence is not looking good for those who dismiss the Ferguson effect, from the president on down. That group once included Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, who was an early and influential critic. Mr. Rosenfeld has changed his mind after taking a closer look at the worsening crime statistics. “The only explanation that gets the timing right is a version of the Ferguson effect,” he told the Guardian recently. “These aren’t flukes or blips, this is a real increase.”

A study published this year in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that homicides in the 12 months after the Michael Brown shooting rose significantly in cities with large black populations and already high rates of violence, which is precisely what the Ferguson effect would predict.

A study of gun violence in Baltimore by crime analyst Jeff Asher showed an inverse correlation with proactive drug arrests: When Baltimore cops virtually stopped making drug arrests last year after the rioting that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, shootings soared. In Chicago, where pedestrian stops have fallen nearly 90%, homicides this year are up 60% compared with the same period last year. Compared with the first four and half months of 2014, homicides in Chicago are up 95%, according to the police department. Even the liberal website Vox has grudgingly concluded that “the Ferguson effect theory is narrowly correct, at least in some cities.”

Despite this mounting evidence, the Ferguson effect continues to be distorted by its critics and even by its recent converts. The standard line is that it represents a peevish reaction from officers to “public scrutiny” and expectations of increased accountability. This ignores the virulent nature of the Black Lives Matter movement that was touched off by a spate of highly publicized deaths of young black men during encounters with police. As I know from interviewing police officers in urban areas across the country, they now encounter racially charged animus on the streets as never before.

Accountability is not the problem; officers in most departments are accustomed to multiple layers of review and public oversight. The problem is the activist-stoked hostility toward the police on the streets and ungrounded criticism of law enforcement that has flowed from the Obama administration and has been amplified by the media.

“In my 19 years in law enforcement, I haven’t seen this kind of hatred towards the police,” a Chicago cop who works on the tough South Side tells me. “People want to fight you. ‘Fuck the police. We don’t have to listen,’ they say.” A police officer in Los Angeles reports: “Several years ago I could use a reasonable and justified amount of force and not be cursed and jeered at. Now our officers are getting surrounded every time they put handcuffs on someone.” Resistance to arrest is up, cops across the country say, and officers are getting injured.

The country’s political and media elites have relentlessly accused cops of bias when they police inner-city neighborhoods. Pedestrian stops and broken-windows policing (which targets low-level public-order offenses) are denounced as racist oppression. That officers would reduce their discretionary engagement under this barrage of criticism is understandable and inevitable.

Policing is political. If a powerful segment of society sends the message that proactive policing is bigoted, the cops will eventually do less of it. This is not unprofessional; police take their cues, as they should, from the messages society sends about expected behavior. The only puzzle is why many Black Lives Matter activists, and their allies in the media and in Washington, now criticize police for backing off of proactive policing. Isn’t that what they demanded?

Ultimately, denial of the Ferguson effect is driven by a refusal to acknowledge the connection between proactive policing and public safety. Until the urban family is reconstituted, law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods will need the police to maintain public order in the midst of profound social breakdown.

Last week in Chicago, a man on the South Side who works in a bakery told me that he now sees “a lot of people disrespect the police, cussing and fussing.” He added: “There’s so much killing going on now in Chicago, it’s ridiculous. The problem is not the cops, it’s the people, especially this younger crowd with the guns.”

That message needs to be heard by the activists, politicians and media who have spent the past two years demonizing American law enforcement. Officers must of course treat everyone they encounter with courtesy and respect within the confines of the law. But unless the ignorant caricaturing of cops ends, there will be good reason for FBI Director Comey and the rest of us to worry about what the rising tide of bloodshed holds in store for U.S. cities this summer.