Thoughts on Policing in Light of Recent Events

The developments of the past several months have focused sharp national attention on police practices and actions around the country. While the claims of police misconduct and brutality have proven to be without foundation in most of the cases that have been in the spotlight, some have been troubling and perhaps this is the time to reconsider and reexamine the role and practices of police departments.

It is entirely unclear that the demonstrations and rioting witnessed recently are due simply to police actions. As urban scholars such as Edward Banfield wrote regarding the 1960s riots, if police encounters seemed to precipitate the explosions, people took part in them often for reasons that had nothing to do with police brutality, racial prejudice, or injustice. Careful study of these current episodes will probably show the same thing. It also will likely show that violence-prone agitators had a role in stirring up the demonstrators and rioters, just as then. Further, most of the high-profile cases involving the use of lethal force by police have been against people who were not exactly outstanding citizens. They had just committed crimes and were in the middle of assaulting or threatening officers, as in the Ferguson, Missouri case. Tragically, the strident and irresponsible rhetorical attacks on the police have no doubt created an atmosphere that led to the assassinations of two NYPD officers in their squad car and to the targeting of other officers in New York City and elsewhere.

Having said all this, there is abundant evidence that there are problems. Authors such as John W. Whitehead, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton—hardly a gaggle of raving, anti-police, hard-left activists—have written pointedly about police abuses and the deterioration of a regime based on the rule of law that undergirds them. It is disturbing that we see a loss of respect for the police, but respect has to be earned. When one reads of numerous cases around the country in recent years where officers used lethal force against people they mistakenly thought were armed or reaching for a weapon, one wonders about the judgment and discretion of people brought onto police forces—and about the adequacy of their training. Also, why is lethal force used so frequently as a first resort? What happened to the nightstick? Shouldn’t more departments equip their officers with stun guns and other non-lethal weapons?

Speaking of training, upon hearing of so many cases of police making arrests because of questionable interpretations of law one wonders if the required substantive background in criminal law is sufficient. When reports frequently appear, for example, of how police show up with CPS social workers at the doors of innocent families after flimsy anonymous reports of child abuse or neglect and threaten to force their way inside if parents won’t cooperate, one thinks that training in the Bill of Rights is especially inadequate. After all, the Fourth Amendment, probable cause, and the need for warrants is pretty basic stuff.

Training is just part of the picture, however. Are the right people chosen to be police officers? Just having no felony convictions and passing a drug test and a psychological exam doesn’t insure that someone is a person of good character. There is no consideration of moral formation more broadly, and spiritual formation—to say nothing of traditional religious convictions—couldn’t even be considered. No attention is given to an officer or officer candidate’s sexual behavior, so long as it’s not illegal. So, if one is cohabiting or, in some jurisdictions, has a partner of the same sex it’s completely irrelevant. State and departmental standards reflect the flawed cultural perspective that people’s lives can be compartmentalized, so that one’s lack of sexual restraint will not affect behavior or self-control in other areas—even when it concerns something as crucial as police work.

While the virtue of courage is certainly a prerequisite for police work, so are sober-mindedness, good judgment, and forbearance. We should not only expect police to refrain from lethal force as a first resort in the most serious circumstances, but to be restrained in the use of their other powers—such as arresting and writing citations—in lesser ones. Law enforcement doesn’t involve just punishment or “knocking heads”; it also involves instruction, motivating people to do better in other ways, and indulgence of people’s shortcomings and efforts to do their best. Maybe these are things that police need to keep in mind more in such areas as traffic enforcement, where most people have their most frequent contact with police—and which often result in the greatest loss of respect for them. I remember well when as a ten-year-old visiting my grandparents in Ord, Nebraska how a local police officer would park his squad car visibly in a street across from their house, just off the state highway, and quite successfully got motorists to slow down as they entered town just by honking his horn at them.

That gets us perhaps to the most basic issue: how the police role should be understood. I think there was much to commend the nineteenth-century notion, where police were as much social workers, in a sense, as they were law enforcers. In a way, the silly 1960s sit-com Car 54, Where Are You? got it right. The officer duo were routinely involved in the neighborhoods they patrolled as helpers of the people and problem-solvers. Scholars of the police have commented for decades about how the squad car drastically changed the nature of policing: it put a barrier between the police and the public and disconnected them from the community. Even if it’s understandable that police today would feel too vulnerable using this approach, there is something commendable about the “cop on the beat.”

To be sure, “community policing” is a partial attempt to return to this old notion of the police, but for an array of reasons—a lukewarm commitment, rank-and-file officer resistance, bureaucratic problems within departments, the overwhelming character of crime problems that crowd out attempts at a new approach, etc.—it seems not to have had great success or caught on widely.

Over-militarization of the police has also probably helped to spawn the current troubles. If police are treated as even more of a paramilitary force than they were before—with the federal government providing an array of military hardware—it almost certainly reshapes police attitudes about the use of force and their relationship to the community. Another cause is over-criminalization. As more and more matters have been brought into the criminal law, the expectations on police have gotten greater, the opportunities for hostile interactions with citizens increased, and the likelihood of disrespect for the police enhanced. State and local governments expect the police to be revenue collectors, so we see overzealous traffic law enforcement and police cracking down on such things as street sales of untaxed cigarettes (which led to the Garner tragedy and the unhappy aftermath in New York City). Runaway federal and state regulatory law has made law enforcement people the “heavy,” as they’re called on to stop conduct that a few decades ago no one would have dreamed would be illegal or was treated strictly as a civil matter. This has probably further skewed the attitudes of law enforcement personnel about their role and prerogatives and damaged public respect.

It is a further problem that police have too often resisted public scrutiny, as seen in their unflinching resistance to civilian review in the 1960s. Moreover, both public officials and the citizenry have generally been too indulgent of the police. Seemingly driven by the attitude that they have a hard, dangerous job mayors have not wanted to root out problems in their police departments or insist upon policies that would crack the traditional “code of silence” and make it easier for upright officers to report misbehavior among their colleagues; legislators have erected legal roadblocks to accountability (it’s a crime to file a false complaint against a police officer in Ohio, which almost certainly has a “chilling effect” on rightly aggrieved citizens and so probably violates the First Amendment); and citizens on grand juries are reluctant to indict officers for genuine misconduct. Instead of allowing a kind of “minimalist” standard to prevail—“we should give the police a lot of leeway to do their job”—they should be held to the exacting standards expected of professionals generally, perhaps more so since they have a monopoly of coercive power in the community. Citizen rights should not have to be a casualty of permitting the police to cut corners.

While there is a lot of misinformation—and dis-information—about police conduct, there are enough disturbing facts over a long period of time to say that changes on many levels are needed. This is not a left/right issue, but one that, as John W. Whitehead has said, has implications for the sustainment of our constitutional republic. It also is a human-dignity issue. How the police—as among the most visible representatives of the state—treat people is one important dimension of how well their human dignity is being respected.

Editor’s note: Pictured above are new recruits attend their New York Police Academy graduation ceremony, Monday Dec. 29, 2014, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Photo credit: John Minchillo / AP)

Stephen M. Krason

By

Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He is the author, most recently, of The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and editor of three volumes: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013) and The Crisis of Religious Liberty (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014); and most recently, Challenging the Secular Culture: A Call to Christians (Franciscan University Press). His next book is Catholicism and American Political Ideologies (forthcoming this fall from Hamilton Books). He is also the author of a new novel, American Cincinnatus.

  • GG

    Excellent as usual.

  • AcceptingReality

    Sociologically speaking, it is interesting that police tactics, strategies and attitudes adopt a more military perspective even as the Church has less and less influence in society. And why does the Church have less influence? The all to frequent silence on the main moral issues of the day coming from pulpits? Is “capitulation” the appropriate word?

    • Paddy

      Collaboration?

  • publiusnj

    The author’s observations are nothing new. More than once over the course of the years, plans have been put into place to tighten up police training. Politicians usually find it easy to blame the friction on cops because the cops are NOT usually a particularly large segment of the population vis-a-vis the complaining segments. So, proposals and spending to tighten up on police training are usually an easy remedy to push when friction occurs. And yet the friction continues after a half century or more of such reform measures. Is that a case of the incorrigibility of racist cops or of the complaining population realizing that squeaky wheels get greased?

  • nealjconway

    Great thoughts here. But what about contemporary cop shows on TV? TV is the academy of average people. Unlike the officers on Jack Webb’s Adam 12, the law enforcers on modern shows are obnoxious rule-breakers. Is it possible that real cops could also be seeing these characters as role models?

      • littleeif

        When Leave it To Beaver was cancelled and Sons of Anarchy was renewed for the sixth time. Why do you think this says something negative about law enforcement rather than about the decay of the society it polices?

        • I don’t think it’s either/or. As society debases and degrades, the constabulary will respond, and their response will begin a vicious cycle.

          Anarchy inevitably leads to tyranny. Either you are tyrannized by the mob in the street, or the mob necessary to control the mob in the street. I don’t think its any accident that a “soft” tyrannist like Barack O’Bama is fueling protests fueled by blind rage. He wants everybody singing off the same music page- Remy Zero’s “Save me”, specifically this part:

          “Somebody save me
          I don’t care how you do it just stay (stay with me)”

          I’m afraid we’ve opened Pandora’s Box in so many ways, and no matter what comes out, the wend is the same.

          • littleeif

            There is a significant difference between law enforcement as constituted in the US and as constituted elsewhere in the world. Local law enforcement is supremely local and entirely distinct from Federal. We have no national police agency. No police state and little potential for one because there is no centralized coordination, management, training, budgeting or equipping of police officers. Furthermore, each locale is distinct from another. This is the uniquely American way. Many who object to a strong central government as I do have somehow forgotten this, or perhaps never thought about it, and see police in general as a reflection of big, bad government rather than of their own community. At a certain point they begin to sound like the provocateurs of the left who constantly promote this fallacy.

            • ‘ No police state and little potential for one because there is no centralized coordination, management, training, budgeting or equipping of police officers. ”

              Formally yes, and more so formerly. However, when you hear the commercial tell you “police all over the country” are cracking down, (usually for DUI or seatbelt stuff) there is central coordination. Have you never heard he who has the gold, makes the rules?

              There is an increasing tendency for local police departments to accept state and federal enforcement grants, and those moneys come with “expectations”. Let’s just say I’m in a position to know how this works-and when the local cop is getting a little OT from some state or federal grant, his loyalty starts to be directed to somebody other than the mayor or the council (who themselves are now less attentive to their voters).

              http://www.thenewsdispatch.com/news/local/article_8ee89b66-332b-5e7e-895e-29826502052d.html

              Additionally, local police are availing themselves of special programs to buy military equipment and blurring the line between the military and the constabulary.

              To say “it can’t happen here” is to ignore the lessons of history and the zeal, passion and inventiveness of people who are thoroughly and relentlessly dedicated to advancing the scope and reach of the federal state.

              • littleeif

                It can’t happen here, not in the way you are envisioning. Nor is the intimacy between state and federal agents what you apparently think (and I’m not singling you out, since this new vein of thought has gained ascendancy on the right in the Obama era). On the local level, each agency has its bailiwick, has arrest powers within its specific jurisdiction and not elsewhere. Furthermore, feds enforce specific statutes, but otherwise have no specific authority beyond that of the private citizen. An FBI agent witnessing an assault on a city street would have no greater jurisdiction over the crime than you or I, and tort law what it is would likely ignore it and drive on for fear of suit were he to intervene. In most places he wouldn’t have a direct radio channel to the local police and would have to phone the call in as would you or I. Remember the Arizona “who can enforce immigration laws” dispute? That reflects the enforcement relationship between federal and local agents pretty accurately in my opinion.

                • I’m not “envisioning” anything. I’m watching it occur. Just because the water isn’t boiling, doesn’t mean somebody isn’t raising the temperature.

                  The reason people think that these things are novel in the Obama era, is that we are more sensitive to acceleration than velocity, Obama also made this comment on July 2, 2008:

                  “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

                  I agree, a lot of this stuff is really old-it can be traced to people like Nixon and FDR.

                  “Remember the Arizona “who can enforce immigration laws” dispute? That reflects the enforcement relationship between federal and local agents pretty accurately in my opinion.”

                  That only shows how the feds will enlist locals when they want (DUI) and obstruct them when they don’t.

                  • littleeif

                    These theories of yours are not plausible as you envision them. I’m actually trying to be kind here, but you have demonstrated no substance in this beyond an obvious prejudice. I am intimately familiar with the last 75 or more years of law enforcement history in this area, personally familiar with 50 years of it. I have known, studied and worked with countless scores of police officers from across the country and from foreign countries. I have arrested police officers, rescued them from trouble, been rescued by them, investigated them and testified for and against them. I have worked in city, county and federal systems. So it’s me you’re talking about, and maybe the cop unfortunate enough to live next door to you, your very neighbor.

                    Many of my favorite cops are decorated war heroes. One friend was wounded in combat rescuing a superior in a fire fight. Another was a helicopter gunner shot down three times and awarded the Bronze Medal. They are going to continue living a life of high honor and self sacrifice right to the end, despite this kind of baseless carping.

                    What I think you should understand, though, is that these unsupported opinions put you in the company of an Eldridge Cleaver, an Angela Davis, a Bill Ayers and the like. Such radical provocateurs have the express purpose of weakening law enforcement and sewing confusion precisely to create anarchy. When otherwise responsible people form the same words in their mouths, the output is the same. You choose. Either we are law abiding and responsible, or irresponsible and anarchic.

                    • I’m not telling you where I work, sorry, I just have one of those unnoticed modest perchs where a lot of things cross my desk.

                      Repeating the word “envisioning”, after being corrected is not demonstrating substance, and the rest of your post is a detailed bill of affinity. Perhaps you have your own bias.

                      Additionally, we aren’t talking about the individual cop on the beat here. I know cops too. My dispute is with the miliarization of the constabulary which is directed by all levels of government.

            • So where are the tanks and automatic weapons coming from, if there is no central coordination?

              • littleeif

                I’m having a creepy Twilight Zone moment.

                • You might be creating it.

            • Paddy

              Holder’s FBI is a joke. it will take at least a decade to recover but the bad eggs he’s slotted will be there to mid-century.

          • Paddy

            Western Civilization, after a 2000 yr. + run, died in Europe by 1960 and in the USA, 1973.

      • Yes! I am a big fan of old Jack Webb reruns- Dragnet (which was just put on hiatus, though it’s available for free on Hulu, Netflix, and selected episodes even on Youtube), Adam-12, and Emergency.

        Perhaps if those were the training videos for police departments, AND for the protesters, we’d have a bit more understanding.

      • AnneM040359

        Sadly, with a growing Islamofacism that threatens the west, as seen this week in Paris, France, we are going to see more of the later.

  • dbwheeler

    These faux riots are the result of deliberate and malicious tactics of Alinski indoctrinated lackies who have been subverting fatherless young black men for years. Why all the handwringing? Since when do we condone mob violence, racism, robbery and murder? Blacks have this entitlement mentality that’s been fostered by the liberal left and frankly, I’m utterly sick of it! I don’t care what color a person’s skin is nut I expect civilized behavior. True racists think black people aren’t capable of it, apparently, and must be treated with kid gloves. If these ridiculous riots aren’t the result of political expedience, I’ll eat my hat. Wake up, people.

    • Community Organizer = Insurrectionist.

  • Scott W.

    At a Washington Nationals game, I noticed that the police officers had more tattoos than criminals. Militarization of police, officers of questionable virtue, and increasing brutality. These are merely symptoms. The disease is a civilization in decline that is farming out the maintenance of law and order to barbarians and insisting there is no God but Caesar. It is time for Christians to gird their loins.

    • GG

      Amen.

    • jeanabeana

      I am trusting that Pope will bring some sanity to the discussion; I applaud the Pope.

      • It’s not the Pope’s job to address the nature and manner of police interdiction.

        • Paddy

          Maybe he could airlift the Swiss Guards into Bed Stuy?

    • We can’t even get the people on this board to understand that the state is a strange god within the meaning of the Decalogue.

      The State will bring peace, the state will bring equality, fraternity and charity, and I have to do is surrender my free will, subordinate my conscience and allow my property to be conscripted without limit.

      As an aside, Michael Brown was a product of the left. A young male apparently the product of a divorce or illegitimacy, he was left to construct his own version of manhood-and like most unguided young men, that construct was aggressive, rapacious and capricious. It’s enough to try to contain the flames of youth, but without maturity and guidance, almost impossible. That still left officer Wilson no option when Mr. Brown directed his aggression at him.

      As for Eric Garner, that’s a completely different matter. The first problem is the matter of having the constabulary in a place like NYC expending effort on the sale of individual cigarettes (a recent direct of that moral cretin DeBlasio). At the very least, the arresting officers suffered a lapse of situational awareness, where they became so fixated on the arrest, they were unable to respond to evidence of Mr. Garner’s physical distress, not unlike how some years ago, the entire crew of an airliner became fixated on determining how to correct a warning light, and nobody monitored the aircraft’s altitude-so it crashed into the everglades.

      Eric Garner was a victim, but not of racism, but statism. That’s the face of the state, crushing the individual. Obey or die. he statists, however can’t let that reality out, so they’ll confuse and conflate the matter into black vs. white, cops vs. criminals. It diverts our attention away from militarized municipal police, the ubiquity of surveillance.

      • Paddy

        Most NYPD cops aren’t white males. Bloomberg twisted state civil service law to bring in low brow candidates who were minorities. It’s only going to get worse.

        • slainte

          The police should reflect the community they serve and preferably live in that community or close by.

          • Paddy

            Then, the law should be changed to eliminate “merit”. Essentially, you’re arguing that more than half the cops must be women and in Brighton (Brooklyn), the majority Russian-Americans? Crazy stuff, slainte.

            • slainte

              Police officers who grow up in the neighborhoods they serve and/or who continue to live among the people of these communities share common interests and better understand community sensibilities.

              The “us” versus “them” mentality is less likely to be present when a local son walks the beat as a police officer serving his own neighbors.

              • Paddy

                I smell an ethnic “spoils system” when merit is eliminated. Requiring public safety officers to reside within the community makes sense, though. Why a NYC cop can live in Nassau, I can’t imagine? Besdies, a fedral judge will be taking over the NYPD shortly, just as one has taken charge of the NYFD. It’s madness.

                • slainte

                  Nassau County and the Hunts Point Section of the Bronx or Fort Apache are very different places (though geographically close in proximity) and it is not often that residents from one visit or live in the other.

                  I don’t advocate a spoils system; rather, a system where police officers and the community share common interests which permit consensus building and trust.

                  If a resident of Nassau County wishes to be a NYC police officer and is willing to live in the NYC community he serves, I support him and the system which would make this possible.

                  • While it would be idea to have as you say; the reality is that there are places where the police are regarded with disdain, educational achievement is near non-existent and many people are disqualified due prior criminal conviction. Now what?

                    • slainte

                      These are tough issues you present which were very much present in the immigrant communities of the preceding centuries.

                      I would submit to you that the immigrant residents of the communities I referenced are as ambitious and determined to escape poverty and other limiting temporary conditions as their predecessors. Justice Sandra Sotomayor grew up in a poor Bronx community and was raised by a mother who worked several jobs to pave the road for a better future for her daughter. I am personally familiar with many people from poor areas who have succeeded under similar circumstances.

                      A police officer who resides in a challenged community can be a powerful role model for fatherless boys…especially if he elects to work with youth by volunteering his time with the Police Athletic League or coaching at nearby schools.

                      Boys who respect the efforts of a mentoring and responsible police officer who is also a neighbor are not likely to retain irrational prejudices against the police or hold its officers in disdain.

                    • Paddy

                      PAL police generally spend time on the job solely as a PAL representative. it is easy duty at a great remuneration.

                    • slainte

                      I very much hope that more officers could proactively engage PAL as a way to integrate with the community.

                      I grew up in northern Manhattan at a time when we viewed police officers in a very positive light. Most of my friends had relatives on the force as did I. It was and is a very honorable profession.

                    • Paddy

                      You want the cop on the beat to be a gym teacher? Are you Mork from Ork? Just securing his weapon at the facility can be a problem. I wouldn’t trust the locker or the car outside. Once he does that, he’s a sitting duck while his own wife and kids are at home glued to a TV set. It’s unjust.

                    • slainte

                      Some police officers in their spare time choose to volunteer to coach and/or mentor youth; my cousin (retired NYPD) did and his community was better for it.

                    • Yeah, but Sotomayor didn’t go to be a cop, did she?

                      The issues I present are very much present in contemporary non-immigrant “communities”.

                      You still didn’t answer the question. What hapens if there aren’t enough qualified candidates from a specific area?

                    • slainte

                      Justice Sotomayor went on to become a productive member of society as a lawyer, then a judge.

                      If there aren’t enough qualified candidates in a specific area, then expand the search to adjoining communities…mindful of the ideals which are the basis for subsidiarity and solidarity.

                    • “Justice Sotomayor went on to become a productive member of society as a lawyer, then a judge.”

                      No, not really, she’s a leftwing gasbag with a chip on her shoulder.

                      You still haven’t explained why the police have to be from a certain area but not federal judges-and you know the selection criteria by this President-fealty to his agenda.

                    • Eamonn McKeown

                      “Wise Latina”. Thank goodness the left is there for all us un-wise ones.

                    • That phrase should have been as disqualifying as it was arrogant.

                    • slainte

                      FYI…many federal judges do live in the communities where their Courts are located.

                    • We aren’t talking about where they live, but where they are REQUIRED to live and many live in gated communities.

                      Please. I understand institutional loyalty, but the law is filled with arrogant, insular and imperious Pharisees. Any shred of integrity that might have been presumed as a matter of charity had to be abandoned when John Roberts flopped under the threats of Obama and Leahy.

                      Even when it isn’t explicit, it is insidious. You are quite eager to set rules for the residency of police, but don’t look inside your own profession. The so-called law gave us abortion on demand, no fault divorce and gay marriage, with nonsense like “unenumerated penumbrae”.

                      .

                    • slainte

                      If there exists a rational basis for change (residency requirements) which advances a public good while not excessively prejudicing a job applicant, I support the change for as long as it is needed.

                      When circumstances alter so that the public good is no longer served by residency requirements, discontinue them.

                    • Paddy

                      when the vegetable the kids have for lunch is decided in Washington, there is no subsidiarity and the solidarity is impaired as the kids vomit the lousy food ms Michelle has selected.

                    • slainte

                      Paddy…parents are their children’s first line of defense…mom’s can choose to pack brown bag lunches with nourishing food for their kids.

                    • Paddy

                      Dream on. Four successive generations of illegitimates won’t find a “dad” in the cop on the beat anymore than they found a father figure in the charlatans who were black school superintendents and incompetents. Standards matter while rewarding negative behavior leads to more of the same..

                    • slainte

                      My cousin who retired from the NYPD after 20 plus years, coached youth in football in his suburban community. He was a role model to the boys he coached and when he died, he received tributes from these young men who had grown into adulthood. He made a difference.

                  • Paddy

                    Retaining “merit” makes sense, but that’s NOT what Bloomberg and Kelly did. The NYPD can’t recover from what they did, as the NYFD sinks under a judge’s dictates.

                    • slainte

                      Please define “merit” and the actions taken by Mayor Bloomberg and Commr. Kelly from which the NYPD cannot recover.

                    • Paddy

                      They held massive civil service testing over an extended period of time. They then “plucked” the black, female or Hispanic applicants who were one of 1000 who got 93.5 (e.g.)….ignoring the evil white men on the list with the same score, unless they had a hook. It used to be called discrimination. it also guarantees the imminent decline in public safety in NYC. Compounding it is the judge’s dictates in hiring NYFD candidates who actually flunked the civil service tests. The same judge gave “reparations” to minorities who flunked the NYFD test but not to the white men who were dumb bunnies, too.

      • Eamonn McKeown

        One of your best posts.

    • The article is correct, reform of police is needed. As you noted, there is a project to re-humanize a callous America, first… Michael Brown was only 19, whatever his iniquity, he did not deserve to die, and a properly trained officer could have simply retreated and pushed the panic button.
      In any event, there are way too many police, too many prisons. We have six times incarceration rate of Communist China. It is a waste of resources and a tremendous abuse of weakest and poorest. Let’s recruit ministers, not police!

  • St JD George

    I think everyone of these in the ranks of the professional complainer class should be forced to do community service and respond with the police for a week in these neighborhoods instead of arm chair quarterbacking about injustice. Their anger should be directed at the corrupt statists who strive to keep them in this Godless state to harvest their votes reliably at election. I know there are bad cops and cops who respond with more force than needed (no recent cases), but until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes …
    We as Christians could do more to open eyes to the true injustice being done them by their overlords and help them up to break the cycle of dependency of hand out, victim hood mentality. Otherwise the elitist will keep them in that state as long as they can. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Indeed DBW, Alinski must be grinning from ear to ear from his subterranean home.

  • kilbirt42

    I believe in broken windows policing. Part of the problem lies in the creation of so many new faux windows. Think enforcement of cigarette tax laws, about which the illuminati who wish to stamp out tobacco use are all in agreement, though smoking marijuana on the other hand is the very soul of wisdom.

    In my misspent youth I remember the coercive pedagogy of the Irish cop phrase, ” Now lad it’s time for you to go home. Is there anybody here who can see him home before I take him to a place he won’t like atall atall?”

  • slainte

    A police officer walking the beat comes to know the community he serves and the community comes to know him.

    This is the way it used to be in NYC in the 1960s when a police officer walked among those he served and was a respected and trusted member of the community along with firemen and mailmen. Many young men sought to become police officers because of this older model of policing.

    The patrol car needlessly placed a barrier between the community and the police officers who served it. It fostered anonymity, distance, and a sense that the police needed protection from those they served. It promoted an “us” against “them” mentality which has worsened over time. Change is needed in NYC.

    I would support an immediate return to the older model of policing..fewer police officers in patrol cars and more walking the beat and directly interacting with local youth (recall the once popular Police Athletic League).

    These small changes would help heal the wounds of the recent past and restore trust and respect between the police and local communities in New York and elsewhere.

    • jeanabeana

      this is the essential problem ” It promoted an “us” against “them” mentality which has worsened over time. Change is needed in NYC.” and not just in New York ;

      • slainte

        The “distance” problem which has caused a disconnect between the police and some local communities appears to be present in the Church as well.

        Recall Pope Francis’ words:

        “….Those priests “who do not go out of themselves” by being mediators between God and men can “gradually become intermediaries, managers,” he said March 28 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

        When a priest “doesn’t put his own skin and own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks” from those he has helped, the pope said in his homily.

        “This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep,’” he said.

        “This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.

        “….God anointed his servants so they would be there for others, serving “the poor, prisoners, the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone…”

        http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/pope-francis-priests-should-be-shepherds-living-with-the-smell-of-the-sheep/13439

        Priests, Religious Sisters, and the Police should be closer to the people they serve….”to live with the smell of the sheep.”

        • Before Christmas, my Bishop- Ronald Gainer- took an evening to hear confessions in one of the larger Churches of the Diocese (mine).

          It was good to have a “shepherd with the smell of sheep” and based upon the length of the line, I’m sure he not only had an ovine aroma, but still reeks of it.

          With so many Bishops that seem to be fond of affixing signatures to vainglorious documents or attentive to the click of the shutter, it’s good to see one that remembers that his job is still doctoring the individual soul.

          • Paddy

            The one in NYC grovels for a second cupcake.

            • Paddy

              …as Mario Cuomo is honored by the NY Diocese as a great Catholic.

      • When I travel Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania, I’m likely to observe Pennsylvania State Police Cruisers in two ways, either attempting to hide in order to “catch speeders” (if speeding is so bad, why not be out in the open to discourage it) or blowing my doors off as they pass me. (Again, if speeding is so bad, why are “police interceptors” designed for speeds in excess of the limit and why are they ALWAYS travelling faster than the limit).

        Then again, I’m aware of how the PSP brought former Governor Ridge around to their point of view with a “ticket strike” and I observed the effort put into getting Eric Frein after he ambushed and murdered the State Police Officer in the Poconos. Did you know locals were providing the searching Officers would food and treats, even as they were inconvenienced and locked down and the officers were being paid for their time? Frein is a morally gruesome and detestable animal, who needs to be executed, but so is the guy who kills some little girl in the inner city with a stray bullet. I’ve never seen the effort put into the capture of any other fugitive murderer. Or am I too believe all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?

        I respect the need for the police, they are often sent to do thankless and dangerous jobs. They are also dispatched sometimes to enforce capricious rules enacted principally to raise revenue. They are also human beings with all of the limits and frailty of the rest of us. The police are necessary, but we need to get past the idea imbued in us when we were five and told, “if you get lost, find a policeman, the policeman is your friend”.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      An officer walking a beat is simply a target for the cop killers.

      • slainte

        It is an unfortunate but integral part of policing. Two officers should walk the beat together in areas with higher crime stats.

        • Paddy

          Let’s compromise with 6 officers on the beat together. Can a salad bowl like the USA ever hope to function properly, post-Western Civilization? The answer is “No”.

          • slainte

            You give up too easily…during the mass immigration of the Irish and other groups to New York in the 19th century chaos prevailed among populations decimated by disease, poverty, and crime. Recall the Five Points neighborhood of lower Manhattan.

            Police officers patrolled the streets of this blighted neighborhood (and others) on foot despite the real dangers to their personal safety.

            Police officers cannot hope to secure the trust of the community today unless and until they come to know the people they serve…and they cannot accomplish this if they decline to get out from behind the wheel of the patrol car and walk among the people.

            This is not a novel idea…it is an idea rooted in history.

            • Paddy

              Most of the men in the Five Points had jobs and had blended into society within 20 years of their immigration. The Dead Rabbits weren’t on the Dole and arming themselves to slaughter cops, either. They generally lived in accordance with the “natural law”.

              There’s no comparison. As for giving up, after a half century long, $17 trillion War on Poverty, I say raise the white flag in defeat.

              • slainte

                Hell’s Kitchen followed the Five Points and many of the sons of the Five Point residents became police officers and walked the beat in Hell’s Kitchen. Not a few died in the line of duty there and throughout the city.

                Being a police officer is a tough and often thankless job…for many it is a vocation rooted in a deep respect for our legal system and the people they serve and a legacy passed from father to son.

                If police officers are not willing to raise the white flag of defeat, neither should we.

                • Paddy

                  I well recall The McManus running the Kitchen for generations…and doing a good job!

                  • slainte

                    My grandfather was a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus and another relative a parishioner at Holy Cross dating all the way back to the early 1900s. In those days, I was told that the Irish priests and the police walked the neighborhood. : )

                    • Paddy

                      About three generations of Tammany leaders in the neighborhood who did a much better job of taking care of their people than today’s pols do.

                    • Paddy

                      After Fr. Duffy’s death, Fr. McCaffery (another war hero) took over at Holy Cross and served as the NYPD chaplain for some 25 years, bringing us full circle.

                    • slainte

                      Small world… my aunt worked as a volunteer in Holy Cross parish assisting Father McCaffery. I recall her speaking about him and the parish. Her son (my cousin) became a police officer.

      • Where were the two slain cops, in car, weren’t they? How did that help them against a murderer?

  • kilbirt42

    I was amazed to read in the Economist recently about how much of the Ferguson budget is paid for by fines, resulting from traffic and other minor violations.

    There must be pressure on police to keep the budget in balance, and this means an awful lot of police-civilian encounters that are less than pleasant, often with people who are not criminal. This breeds disrespect for the essential peace keeping and enforcement of law police functions.

    It also seems to me that we have given up totally on rehabilitation, preferring incarceration now and forever.

    Young lower level offenders need to be put to work doing necessary things under the scrutiny of strict, no nonsense, and manly men of mettle; but men who are not metallic.

    We are discharging thousands from the military as we downsize it. Surely some of these men would be useful in this work. If we put one in three on the right track, we would save a lot of money and do immense good.

    The Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps did immense good.

    • hockeydog

      Awesome idea!

    • “It also seems to me that we have given up totally on rehabilitation, preferring incarceration now and forever.”
      You ought to spend a little time in a Correctional Facility. Your views on “rehabilitation” could use a little cold hard reality. When the inmates “find Jesus” they are usually posturing, but when they find Mohammed, they are getting ready to file a grievance.
      Tell me, how much effort should we expend upon, and by what method should we pursue the “rehabilitation” of people who have to be kept isolated because they are dangerous to other inmates, use excrement as a weapon or a plaything, or who will spend on an average, 17 months relentlessly attempting to compromise a staff member perceived as weak, isolated or stupid?

      • kilbirt42

        My suggestion in this context was for young low level offenders, a specific class of potential career criminal whom I would prefer to reroute. My proposal does not seek to take in all without regard to the probability of success, and I was careful to gauge “success” as one in three, perhaps.

        I wished to create one productive tax paying citizen from three potential recidivist criminals.

        My proposal: Get them early. Give them discipline and hard work and maybe cap it off with a bit of training, if the chap has done the job. We need welders not safe crackers.

        I was influenced by an experience of seeing how tough kids from Detroit grew chests in basic training by learning to low crawl around the Barracks for failing to salute the colors at eventide. In the end, they were more like us and we were more appreciative of them, and the sergeants, some of whom looked like them to a person who noticed only superficial things were proud of their work.

        • Paddy

          Years ago, a suspect could enlist and have the charges dropped by the DA. It usually worked.

          • kilbirt42

            Yes, or “How’s about I push up my draft?”

  • JGradGus

    Some perspective is needed here, and this essay is not providing it. There are roughly 461,000 police officers in the U.S., about the same as the number of priests in the world. When the Church cannot even insure that all priests are above reproach (the child abuse / sex scandal), how can we expect more from our civil authorities? Trying to say that, “police have too often resisted public scrutiny, as seen in their unflinching resistance to civilian review in the 1960s” is just a bit lame. Once again the comparison can be made to the
    child abuse scandal in the Church. The Church and police departments have both made tremendous strides in the last 50 years insofar as behaviors go. We are still going to get a clinker now and then, but let’s not overreact. Some 47 police officers were shot and killed
    in 2014, 30 in 2013, and 48 in 2012. Police officers put their lives on the line every day but their deaths do not get nearly the same kind of coverage the liberal media gives the relatively few instances each year of a police officer overstepping his or her authority.

    • GG

      The author does a great job pointing the problem. Let us be honest and accept that the quality of persons applying represent the population. That means with the same morals. Loose living with a badge does not make the character any better.

      • JGradGus

        You are missing the point. The liberal media is making these stories into something much more than they are to advance their agenda.

        • Paddy

          Yes, and their agenda is to have fewer white men employed as cops. It was telling when the S.I. cop who was no-billed was supervised at the Garner death by a black sargeant. She was granted immunity and kept out of the picture to protect her.

          • Paddy

            In contrast, the innocent cop in Ferguson is now unemployed, and under death threat. At least he’s alive, to date.

  • littleeif

    The word “force” is in the word “enforcement”, and forgive me but while everyone likes hamburger no one wants to kill the cow. Mr. Krason neglects the critical impact of this simple truth on society and on the individuals who must use force in defense of society. Our earliest moral training is replete with prohibitions against fighting. Fights are not only morally ugly but ugly to watch, particularly on replay, and our instinct is to blame all parties involved. Consider how it is to be involved in a brutal bloody fistfight on Saturday night and to go to Mass on Sunday morning, no matter the necessity of what you’ve done. Now consider trying to explain to a priest in the confessional why you feel guilty for what you had to do, and to a reporter why you don’t, and have both judge your actions harshly.
    My grandfather was a policeman shot and killed by a black man who he shot on a domestic call. My grandmother refused to testify against his murderer on moral grounds, and lived the rest of her life as a widow. He did seven years for manslaughter. My dad was twelve. My dad served thirty years as a policeman, and I did ten before I washed it out of our family. At the time I left, nearly every policeman I knew was defending himself in some type of litigation or internal investigation. I had been sued multiple times, the subject of an IA, and a Labor Board investigation. And it was all routine. To add emphasis, I attended the FBI National Academy and later passed a full field investigation by the FBI and was hired after all that. It was only then, as a new agent, I decided it was enough.
    Since the 1960’s, to which Mr. Krason briefly nods, professionals have made a past time if not a living out of tinkering with law enforcement. We have seen the dawn of Miranda and the bright line, the birth of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the infinite growth of rules governing warrantless searches, arrests and stops. Hiring came to involve a battery of tests, educational requirements and residency requirements. Civil service was brought in to replace the merit system as a combat to corruption. Police agencies have tried walking patrols, community policing, civilian review boards, take home cruisers, public relations and community outreach.
    A policeman is not only subject to Internal Affairs investigation, city commission or civilian hearings with his job and reputation at stake for a bad decision. He may be sued at any time civilly, and separately in a civil rights litigation where his personal assets are at risk. He may also be tried under the state criminal code and again under federal criminal code. It is difficult to understand what more Mr. Krason or any other professional in the cool light of day can demand of human beings willing to subject themselves to this type of scrutiny.
    Today we find instances where decisions made and actions taken in mere minutes have been examined for months by grand juries who have returned no true bills. People are nonetheless finding public forum to make irresponsible, know nothing statements about the entire justice system they apparently disdain, even unable or unwilling to distinguish between reasonable suspicion, probable cause and proof beyond a doubt. This unrest has nothing whatever to do with the quality of law enforcement and it’s time to quit pretending some law enforcement fix will cure it.
    We need educated, sober, responsible, moral leaders to make our Democracy work. We need Mr. Krason and other professionals to demand it, and in the meantime to
    courageously tell the whole truth. Fights are ugly, but they’re necessary.

    • GG

      Not sure of your exact point? Of course, we need a more moral population. That is not in doubt. The problem is that we have a group of people who have extraordinary power that includes arrest, killing, detaining, and much else. Such power demands scrutiny now more than ever.

      Every special group hates outside evaluation. Special knowledge and special powers make them think only they understand what they go through. That is the problem. Those too close to the situation frequently miss important details and considerations. That is why outside forces are needed as a disinfectant. We want a democracy not a police state.

      Who watches the guards? Other guards?

      • littleeif

        “Special group” is an odd way to refer to police. To say that “every special group hates outside evaluation” is a truism without specific application here. When the two police officers in the instant matters both lost their jobs, were the subjects of internal investigations, criminal grand juries, soon federal grand juries and civil actions – where exactly is the lack of scrutiny?

        My point is that the author is relying on the customary fallback solutions to create feel-good. It has all been done – since the 60’s and Watts. What is lacking is honesty – about what is actually required to keep order in this society.

        • slainte

          “…What is lacking is honesty – about what is actually required to keep order in this society…”

          What is your response to this query?

          • littleeif

            Force is sometimes actually required to enforce the law. To represent it can be done without a certain amount of ugliness is simply dishonest. Police officers are not a “special group” but are society itself. Their “special powers” are the full weight of the law.They are lawful society’s response to anarchy and the threat of the rule of the strong. Those are actually the choices – to be subject to the law at all costs or to be subject to the strongest.

            • “Police officers are not a “special group” but are society itself.

              And society itself is a thin veneer of something called civilization on our sinful tendencies.

              • littleeif

                It is the City of Man, where we are required to choose the lesser of evils.

                • I didn’t say eliminate the Police, and I suffer no illusions about a world without them, but we are still left to answer the age old question:

                  Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

                  • littleeif

                    But obviously the question is merely rhetorical since we already have this answer. IA boards are generally police officers or police and citizens in some combination. City commissions are comprised of elected officials. Judges, commonwealth and defense attorneys are lawyers. Grand juries and petite juries are citizens. Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Omnes.

                    • I trust elected officials and judges less than uniformed officers, but I live in Pennsylvania, where we’ve seen a steady parade of elected officials and judges sent to the slammer.

                      MRAVs do not serve any legitimate constabulary function, unless you believe that the police should have weapons of war.

            • “Force is sometimes actually required to enforce the law.”
              And we showed those cigarette sellers what we’ll do to eradicate that scourge.

          • Above all else, a sense to recognize that there will always be disorder in society, but that it comes in three varieties. Some disorder is harmful, by its nature, scope or magnitude, it must be addressed. Some might be harmful, but its eradication is not worth the costs associated with the effort, and some disorder is either helpful or necessary.

          • Paddy

            It starts with a mother and a father raising their family. The former Western Civilization can never get the paste back into the tube before the 24th century, at best. Stockpile SPAM.

            • slainte

              We agree….and parents should raise godly families teaching their children Christian based morality, ethics, and respect for the rule of law.

              • Paddy

                That’s all gone, now. Too late smart? What’s been broken in 50 years will take 6 times that to repair as our illegitimacy rate heads towards 60% of all live births (excluding all the aborted babies.).

              • You know how we always hear about “infrastructure”? It’s gone. Marriage is debased and deformed, children are inconveniences to be avoided and shuttled to the care of others, the Shepherds of the Church are weak and vacillatory, and society at large is relentless in imbuingfealty to false gods.
                I suspect many of us will have a schizoid reaction to death when it comes. We will welcome our escape from this vale of tears, and fear the accounting for our contributions to it.

              • Paddy

                That’s all gone now.

    • “My grandmother refused to testify against his murderer on moral grounds”
      I don’t understand this.

      • littleeif

        She would not present herself to ask for a murder conviction or the death penalty as requested by the Commonwealth because she wished to forgive and let justice otherwise take its course.

        • I’m sorry but that was a strange notion of justice. To refuse to testify and allow the conviction on a lesser charge that carried such a short sentence wasn’t forgiveness, it was risking a catastrophe.

          • littleeif

            As you wish. Our respective judgments on such matters obviously radically diverge.

            • Its not a judgment. Its a fact that she refused to testify. By doing so, she allowed a murderer to receive a ridiculous short and inadequate sentence, that put others in peril.

              • littleeif

                This is a truculent response that rises to the level of hubris. It casts doubt on the reasoning in general of the person who would dispassionately make it. Mine is a judgement. You may elevate your judgments to doctrine if you wish,

        • RufusChoate

          Sorry I should have read this post. Disregard my previous post. The District Attorney should have made that call pre-trial. We are a society of laws not personal desires. The Death penalty was just and correct.

    • RufusChoate

      I don’t understand the requirement for your Grandmother to testify for a clear case of manslaughter or murder of your Grandfather as police officer killed in the call of duty unless it was a victim impact statement (a relatively new phenomenon) but I can understand the sentiment only in the case of victim impact but if she had material evidence of crime it was her civic duty to protect others from this murderer because of recidivism.

      I thank you for your, your father and your grandfather’s sacrifice in defending civilization from barbarity and will remember you all in my prayers.

      I am appreciate your frustration but the reality is Community policing and mandatory sentencing has reduced crime dramatically since the 1960’s. That is the only point of the Legal system to serve justice by protecting the innocent and fighting evil.

      A few examples of people who die while ignoring a lawful order and attempt to resist is a small price to pay for a civilized society.

      • littleeif

        One reason I wanted to personalize my response was to remind others that the death of a policeman in the line of duty does in fact echo down generations for good or ill – there was not one moment of my life I was unaware this had happened – and so I appreciate your prayers. To bring the point home, my father revealed to me how as a child he saw his father’s bloody uniform on the hospital floor when doctors were rushing to work on him, how later he would sit in the basement with his father’s tools because they made him feel he was still there, would chase a bus because he thought he saw his father on it, and how it broke his family into pieces. I’m sure this is the case in the death of any murder victim, and many prayers are needed.

        I also wouldn’t disagree with your conclusions. As you know, the standard for our judicial system is that it is better to let a thousand guilty go free than to convict one innocent person. It has many faults, is unwieldy and often unjust, but I’m very proud of it and think we all need to be thankful for it.

        • slainte

          Prayers offered for you, your father, and your grandfather…may Our Lord have mercy on the soul of your grandfather and may perpetual light shine upon him and upon all of the souls of the faithful departed. Amen.

          Thank you for your service as a police officer and that of your family.

          We as Americans are blessed with a legal system which is not perfect but it is among the best. Please be assured that there are many lawyers who strive mightily to ensure that justice is done in accord with the law.

          • “We as Americans are blessed with a legal system which is not perfect but it is among the best.”
            It is actually pretty horrible, and degerating rapidly.

            • slainte

              If one is on the city or state payroll, reasonable residency requirements may apply.

      • “A few examples of people who die while ignoring a lawful order and attempt to resist is a small price to pay for a civilized society.”

        The problem is that unrelated incidents with varying degrees of rectitude (Michael Brown’s situation is different than Eric Garner’s) are being conflated and presented with race as the only relevant attribute, by people who wish to foment the type of defiance that will inevitably lead to more deaths.

        • RufusChoate

          Yes, I agree but in both cases the legal protocol of convening a Grand Jury was followed and the Police involved exonerated. Garner was an unhealthy repeat offender who decide to disobey a lawful order. I have shared my Father and Grandfather advice as former Police officer to me growing up: “Only a fool tries to argue with a man with a badge and gun.”

          If you’re innocent polite obedience wins out every time but if you’re guilty you get to survive the encounter with as little damage as possible.

          • Granted, he contributed to his demise, and it may not have been a homicide, but it was misfeasant.

    • Paddy

      Most of these problems didn’t exist before Escobedo, Miranda etc. It’s now a sporting match between civilization and the criminal mind. The criminal shooting a cop invariably has other prior charges. Perhaps he was set loose in Brooklyn by a silly appointed judge? Bad guys should be arrested and placed in prison. presidents shouldn’t connive in freeing them and the courts should be pre-occupied by protecting the criminal more than the criminal’s victims.

  • Robert

    A nice balanced piece.
    I, whom most would label an “ultraconservative” Catholic, have only lately woken up to the dangers posed by our increasingly militarized police. Far from being guarantors of “law and order,” most police today seem positively to undermine them. And I can understand completely the lack of respect for police: in Philadelphia, where I live, I have seen police break traffic laws too many times (and not, mind you, while evidently responding to a call – and once almost causing me to get to an accident to boot), that my once high respect for the police has plummeted.
    The police are increasingly no friends to law-abiding Christians and other citizens.

  • Jdonnell

    The misstatements in an often good article show once again a rightist drift that contradicts the posture of neither right nor left. The article was written before the news from the last day or so that killings by police are up by more than fifty percent during the past year. In Ferguson, for ex., the policeman who fired the fatal bullet did not know that the person he shot had committed a crime (assaulting a store clerk). That was only known later from store video tapes. What the media did wrong was the endless repetition of the dead person as “an unarmed teenager,” which left the impression that the police shot a kid–an erroneous impression, since he was a young man of eighteen, plus a great big (and thus in the situation with the cop, as on the store tape) a very menacing, threatening presence.
    The reference to cops of past days as part social worker omits mention that the police in those days were also likely to live in the very neighborhoods they patrolled (on foot; you can’t do any social work riding around in a car with the windows up–and tinted–with the radio blaring) and were familiar with the residents. In Ferguson, a mostly black town, most of the police are white and not residents. It’s the same in many, perhaps most, towns with substantial minority neighborhoods.

    • gildad

      Au contrare jdonnell, we have learned that the police officer who fired the fatal shot was aware that a crime had been committed and that Brown fit the description of the perpetrator. Also be careful when throwing out percentage increases. A basis of two with an increase to four is a 100% increase. Otherwise your comments are right on.

      • Jdonnell

        I’m cutting and pasting. Here’s what I had in mind:

        Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) — The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn’t stop him because he was suspected in a convenience-store robbery, but because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” the city’s police chief said Friday.

        As for killing by police (from 2 days ago):

        CNN) — The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.

        • John200

          You’ll want to check CNN’s source before you take their word seriously. That’s my experience with cut-and-paste of CNN reports; they will embarrass you. I don’t quote them anymore, unless I have independent verification.

          Second point: Michael Brown committed a serious crime before Officer Wilson shot him. Wilson knew it because the officer was the intended victim.

        • “I’m cutting and pasting.”

          We know that, it’s your SOP.

        • I should hope we’d arrest people walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic. It’s destroying the common good to do so.

          • Paddy

            Especially when the cop tells them to move and the kid refuses.

            Remember U.S. Grant walking in NYC after his presidency? He was likely deaf from military service, but a cop told him to stand clear of a fire. He proceeded, unaware, and the cop swatted him with his billy club. The former president absorbed the hit, turned away and made no complaint. And no, he wasn’t drunk. he simply knew the cop on the street was the highest ranking officer.

    • Too bad Michael Brown wasn’t studying for a police entrance exam, rather than knocking over a store.

      • Paddy

        Could you imagine him with a badge and loaded weapon?

        • Not as he was, but perhaps as he could have been. A 6-4 300 pound officer can avoid a lot of problems with that kind of commanding physical presence.
          I’m 6-1 and 245 and I can pull it off.

          • Paddy

            That was the ideal cop 100 years ago. Now, Brown could well fail the PE. Today’s social dictates require a 100 lb. gal with a .357 magnum. The big guys caused less permanent damage.

  • jeanabeana

    quote: “police misconduct and brutality have proven to be without foundation ” I don’t know how you can make this claim…. based on your opinions??? trying to please the conservative extreme right? to deny the facts in your opening statement just means that people like me won’t read any further … I’ll go back to read about Pope Francis, thank you.

    • GG

      Try reading it again. He referred to some of the current events. He is dead on right.

      • egalitrix

        What about the 12 year old boy from Cleveland that was shot?

        • RufusChoate

          The video indicated that the kid pointed an airsoft pistol which looks exactly like a real gun at Police at the scene. A tragic mistake by a very stupid child who didn’t have the cognitive ability to discern a real threat from armed police.

          • Paddy

            Those with lower IQs cause more violent crime. America’s average IQ is sliding towards moronic. Abortions contribute to the reduced crime rate in the ghetto but at a terrible moral cost to our crumbling civilization.

            • It is hardly Catholic, but the introduction to the 2006 movie “Idiocracy” is a devastating critique of how the contraceptive mentality is dysgenic, even though I think that’s an accidental outcome.

              • Paddy

                Thanks, I’ll try to watch it. Of course, the increased illegitimacy caused by legalization of abortion due to the efforts of so-called “Catholic” Democratic pols offsets any decline in the crime rate..

                • If you can’t watch the whole thing, watch the beginning.

    • “conservative extreme right”
      Define this term.

      • RufusChoate

        Sane people?

    • RufusChoate

      Do you have any real idea about the level of crime and police violence from an empirical statistical source or do you get your data from Sharpton and the Far Left?

      Sharpton has falsely claimed and protested crimes against Black victims five times and none has proved true and in one case a man died at the hands of a Sharpton “Victim” after the controversy.

    • Paddy

      Grand Jury investigations backed up by police review.

      • Paddy

        Civilian Review boards are….insane.

  • jeanabeana

    there are some very thoughtful people here…. a retired police chief is writing a blog out of Madison Wisconsin and I am sure he would like to hear from individuals who have given it some thought… contact him by reading “improving police” on wordpress…. offer up your own thoughts, opinions and hear what he has to say… (of course Madisoin WI is not Boston or NY but you will still find his viewpoint relevant)

    • Paddy

      Madison’s just as crazy as NYC, just smaller.

  • jeanabeana

    his blog is: “http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/the-year-ahead-2015/”

  • RufusChoate

    While there is some concern for the increased paramilitary tactics of the Police. The problem is not only the militarization or the increased use of lethal force of the Police but the collapse of the Black Family into a welfare matriarchy and the glorification and practice of criminality by males in the permanent black underclass.

    All criteria of crime – violent and non-violent are down from the peak of the 1970’s but the illusional crisis invented by racist demagogues is the opposite. There is no increased fatal interaction of “innocent” blacks at the hands of police. All examples used are petty criminals who chose aggressive non-compliance with a lawful order.

    The same demagogues created the false narratives of Tawana Brawley, Crystal Gail Magnum (Duke rape claim), Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

    This crisis was created as an electoral ploy to incite and inspire the black democrat electorate for the November mid-terms and it succeed in increasing their participation but not enough to overcome the majority of Americans who voted against them.

  • Regardless of how the police act, one needs to respect the authority of the office.

    He’s the guy with the gun. Act appropriately around him. The more scared you are, the more you should be following his orders in that moment. We are very much in a comply-or-die police state.

    This is all the more true when you suspect your police department of being corrupt. Fight in the courts, not the streets, it is safer for you.

    • craig

      Respecting the gun is different from respecting the office.

      To
      offer an analogy: most everyone understands not to agitate a crazy man
      in the middle of an ‘episode’, but that does not also necessitate letting
      the crazy man do as he pleases regardless of the consequences to
      others. No, the ordinary policeman with a badge and a gun is not crazy,
      but he is motivated to act differently than he would act without both
      of them in his possession. In proportion to his use of the tools of
      office outside their proper context, he diminishes respect for his
      office. The badge exists to display authority lawfully conferred,
      not to grant authority to whatever extralegal action the policeman
      might choose. The gun exists to deter violent misbehavior and to stop
      it in progress, not to give the policeman the last word in every citizen encounter.

      The root cause of the contentiousness over
      policing right now is that the practical limits of order constrain the
      practical limits of law, and vice-versa. Either too much order or too
      little, and following the law ceases to be a reliable guide to staying
      out of trouble. Either too much law or too little, and actions taken to maintain order become both more severe and more randomly applied. We are stuck in the current morass because the
      political establishment on both sides is unwilling to recognize the constraining effect.

      • Paddy

        The exact same thing happened to the Romans, too.

  • jeanabeana

    quote: ”
    “Ferguson Prosecutor: I Knew Witnesses Lied To The Grand Jury”

  • DL

    You can only write this article if you are white. The author has no idea what it is like to grow up black in this country. Neither do I, but, then, I don’t pretend to preach to, or about, how black people should act.

    The overwhelming volume of protests were both peaceful and focused upon the key issue:
    The — largely white — police forces in this country often operate like an occupying force in black peoples’ neighborhoods. Since this position is stated over and again by responsible African American leaders, I can only accept their word.

    From a Catholic perspective, consider this feeling as the same as how many Jews felt about the Roman Army occupying their lands.

    This is not a matter of training. It is a matter of culture and history. If you are Roman — or white — you will never see the problem unless you open up your mind and heart.
    DL

  • Mark

    “Walk a mile in their shoes” seems to apply to Mr. Krason and to most of those pontificating on how the police ought to do things differently. I wonder if he or the others would make it through the first week of a police academy, let alone a week on the meaner streets of our urban areas.

  • jeanabeana

    quote: “The city of Cleveland handed over the investigation of the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, the city said in a statement late Friday.

    “This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established,” Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in the statement. “I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency.” The people who have attacked me here need to ask: why is it whenever someone dies in FBI custody the FBI is always exonerated. The person who died in custody in FL (re: Boston Marathon bombs) was not fully explained to the satisfaction of people here in MA…. The Attorney General could do nothing to investigate further because it was outside the MA jurisdiction. There are a lot of questions that need to be explored…. instead of just a knee jerk reaction. This is also true of the article on this page that talks about Gillibrand (well all women lie don’t they? they are false accusers… and we know “all those colored people lie”… at least that is what the jokes were about in the 50s…. they weren’t funny then and they aren’t funny now.

  • jeanabeana

    quote: “The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office announced Friday that Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being physically restrained in a prone position by Cleveland police on November 13th 2014. Her death was ruled a homicide…how did a 37-year-old East High School graduate end up dying in this way? On November 13th, Tanisha Anderson was suffering poor mental health and was in need of professional support. Her family called police twice for help with her, and eventually agreed to let officers attend the scene in order to escort her to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.” In Bridgewater state hospital (correctional institution) a young man was restrained and died; he knew he was having psychotic episodes and needed help — the help came in a similar fashion to what is described here… The Governor had to take action. At the homeless shelter where I volunteer I remind them “if a child dies here it will end up on the governor’s desk”…. I hate to be so blunt but if we don’t have governor review and accountability, how will we manage without some kind of independent review? Is it up to each individual family to file a law suit and wait 5 or more years ? People here who have attacked me just have blinders on….

  • Forget the propaganda that you’ve been told at sixth grade in civics class. Under the veneer of democracy, the police slowly but surely has shown to be what it’s always been throughout history: the occupying force and pretorian guard of the elite that hollowed government out for its own benefit.

  • AnneM040359

    With what has happened today in France with that horrible slaugther of 12 journalists by jihadi terrorists, look for a new sense of respect to those police officers who do not act in a rouge manner and for a weeding out of those police officers who do act in a rouge manner.

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