Althouse | category: police



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Many demonstrators were trapped up against a fence, unable to breathe from the gas, while police dragged others down the hill...."

"During the melee, three plaintiffs were pepper-sprayed in the face at close range by former Philadelphia SWAT officer Richard Nicoletti, who was later fired, arrested, and charged with assault. Some demonstrators said the response still haunts them, physically and psychologically. Gwen Snyder, a West Philadelphia-based organizer and one of the plaintiffs, was detained on the highway, and said her wrists were zip-tied behind her back so tightly, she lost feeling in her hands. One of her arms still periodically goes numb as she breastfeeds her daughter or pushes her stroller, she said.... Ed Parker, who was similarly detained and zip-tied, said he has had three surgeries to correct the wrist damage. He said the sounds of people screaming and weeping still haunt him."

"Graphic videos show a police SUV ramming a crowd and running over at least one person in Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday."

"In videos from the scene, the police SUV revs its engine while a group of people surrounds it in the street. The SUV briefly backs up and then charges forward as people in the crowd scream. One person can be seen on the ground as the front and rear wheels of the vehicle roll over them."

BuzzFeed News reports (with video if you choose to see it).

In London, for "grossly offensive" speech — about "pride" flags — a man is required to "arrange a voluntary interview" — whatever that means.

Here's the letter (via Andrew Sullivan):

In London, for

Note the language: "I therefore require you to contact me to arrange a voluntary interview so this matter can be further investigated."

Either it's not voluntary or it's not required. I find that speech grossly offensive.

Sullivan's comment is: "This is not a document that can be found in anything close to a free country. Every day, I'm grateful for the First Amendment."

Don't count on the First Amendment, standing alone. We need people who understand and care about its fundamental principles, or it will be gone, interpreted out of existence.

"I know auto theft is a growing issue, not just in Denver but everywhere, and it’s infuriating to be victimized like that, but I discourage any resident to taking a vigilante approach."

Was this vigilantism? 

From the Wikipedia article on the topic:

According to political scientist Regina Bateson, vigilantism is "the extralegal prevention, investigation, or punishment of offenses."[1] The definition has three components:

  1. Extralegal: Vigilantism is done outside of the law (not necessarily in violation of the law)
  2. Prevention, investigation, or punishment: Vigilantism requires specific actions, not just attitudes or beliefs
  3. Offense: Vigilantism is a response to a perceived crime or violation of an authoritative norm
Can an owner of a car use an app to go in search of his stolen car? If he does, is it wrong to be armed? If, on finding his car, persons in the car point guns at him, isn't it self-defense to shoot the gun? I understand that the authorities like the idea of leaving it to them to decide what to do about crime, and I can see why they generally prefer that people not risk a confrontation, but I don't think it's "vigilantism" to go to retrieve your own property and to engage in legal self-defense. 

I don't know the facts of this case. I'm merely trying to picture what the words "exchanged fire" mean, and I note that the shooter has not been arrested. And I don't know the extent to which the Denver police have been effective in dealing with car theft.

Of course, the biggest problem is that a 12-year-old became involved in car theft. It led to his death. We're told that after he was shot in the head he "drove the car about two blocks" and "It was not clear if the boy had been driving the car before the shooting." Those are puzzling facts. Could he have moved into the driver's seat after being shot in the head? It seems more likely that he stepped on the gas to escape and as he was getting shot in the head and the car propelled itself 2 blocks. 

It's very sad that a boy is dead and that his life was such that it ended the way he did. 

"Even as city officials credited Scorpion officers with bringing down violent crime, their presence had spread fear in the predominantly low-income neighborhoods they patrolled..."

"... according to interviews with dozens of people in the community.... 'Police out here riding around like hound dogs,' said Lareta Johnson Ray, whose family members wound up in a violent encounter with the unit’s officers after running from them last summer. The Scorpion unit was 'terrorizing this city,' Ms. Ray said, and Mr. Nichols’s death was 'not the first time that they be beating on people — it was the first time that they messed up.'... In encounter after encounter, Memphis residents said, the Scorpions had a similar playbook: Officers would spot some minor infraction, jump out and begin asking questions and barking commands. Some said the officers offered no explanation about what they had done wrong, leading to confusion and sometimes disobedience. Some of those interviewed said they had tried to run away, in part, out of pure fear."

"Many of the Scorpion officers remain on the force, and it is unclear how many operated with the aggressive tactics that arrestees detailed in interviews. Michalyn Easter-Thomas, a member of the City Council, said she did not hear about the volatile encounters people had with the Scorpion unit until after Mr. Nichols’s death. 'I just wish we would have known sooner,' she said."

Wish?! Isn't it your job to know? Didn't you know?

This is a long article, and I recommend it, but I was motivated to search the page for the word "Democrat." It does not appear. Even when the mayor is named, we are not told his party. There should be political responsibility. The article makes that clear, but it declines to make Democrats uncomfortable. Immoral priorities.

"A customer allegedly asked an employee, who had been drinking, to remake a poorly made sandwich and she became confrontational about it..."

"... so another employee remade the sandwich. When the customer left, [the drunken maker of the first sandwich]  followed and had to be restrained by another employee when she tried to fight them. Columbia Falls Police Department made contact with the woman who denied the allegations despite three people giving the same account of events."

Also that same day: "A woman allegedly went outside to 'smoke her bud' and saw a small white pill. She told officers she believed two men put her prescription pills in the pipe while she wasn’t in their apartment. She was advised to stop spending time with them if she was concerned about their behavior."

"I've never seen the video. But what I’ve heard is very horrific, very horrific. And any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it."

"To the five police officers that murdered my son, you also disgraced your own families when you did this. I’m going to pray for you and your families, because at the end of the day, this shouldn’t have happened. This just shouldn’t have happened. We want justice for my son, justice for my son.” 

Said RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols’s mother, quoted in "Tyre Nichols Live Updates: Memphis to Release ‘Appalling’ Police Video/People who have seen the footage say it shows five police officers, who have been fired and charged with murder, beating Mr. Nichols, who died three days later. His family and officials have called for peaceful protest" (NYT).
Tony Romanucci, a lawyer for Mr. Nichols’s family, said the family is asking the Memphis Police Department to disband the specialized unit that was formed to help halt a surge of violence in the city. “The intent of the SCORPION unit has now been corrupted,” he said....

The release of the video is scheduled for sometime after 6 p.m. Central time on Friday.... Officials and the Nichols family pleaded with the public not to let outrage over what they see on the video spill into unrest....

"Iran has abolished the morality police, according to an announcement by the attorney general carried on state media..."

"... following months of protests set off by the death of a young woman who was being held by the force for supposedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress laws. The decision, reported by state news outlets late Saturday night, appeared to be a major victory for feminists who have sought for years to dismantle the force and for the protest movement ignited by the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, in September. The unrest has amounted to one of the biggest challenges in decades to Iran’s system of authoritarian clerical rule and the decision to scrap the morality police was the government’s first major concession to the protesters. The morality police 'was abolished by the same authorities who installed it,' the statement by Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri said...."

The NYT reports.

Very good news!

"I know this may sound radical, but we all agree that theft is not OK...People are trying to connect our work to a pro-cop or anti-cop agenda... Most of us just want to get people’s bikes back."

Said Bryce Turner, 27, a member of a Facebook group that tracks down stolen bikes in Burlington, Vermont, where the police force was reduced by 30% after a ballot measure influenced by the George Floyd incident.

Turner is quoted in "The Bike Thieves of Burlington, Vermont/A hunt for stolen goods has put citizens and business owners in the center of a debate about policing and a growing, sometimes violent, problem with crime" (NYT).

Mr. Turner has personally recovered more than a dozen bikes — many of them from City Hall Park. The newly renovated park reopened to the public in October 2020... Mr. Turner and the others in the group say they believe the bikes that end up in the park are being sold in exchange for drugs. “It’s an open-air drug and bike market,” he said of the park.
They believe that the theft is part of a broad black-market operation, and point to a pickup truck that has been photographed around town, hauling a stack of bikes in the back, under a tarp. The police say that they have seen online reports of the pickup but that they have no probable cause to pull the vehicle over.
Still, the bike group perceives a growing sense of lawlessness in the park. One day in August, Mr. Turner was walking past a group of people in the park when someone punched him in the back of the head. Seeing no police officers around, he found a firefighter nearby and told him about the assault. “He called it in to the police, but he basically said nothing is going to come of this,” Mr. Turner said. “The cops have their hands full.”

"Even a holiday which celebrates debauchery, irreverence, and immature or dark humor should have no place for words or actions of hate."

"This deranged individual was looking to create fear and anxiety. We don't believe that he is a student, rather an outside provocateur."

Said Rabbi Mendel Matusof said, quoted in "UW-Madison releases statement after Adolf Hitler costume seen on State Street" (WKOW).

Here's a Reddit discussion — replete with a photograph of the person wearing a Hilter costume on State Street. I found that via this other Reddit discussion, where somebody says, "If it's any consolation, I was told by a bartender on State Street that the dude got his ass kicked."

UPDATE: Channel 3000 quotes the police report, which makes 3 important points:

1. Wearing a Hitler costume is protected speech, so no crime has been reported. 

2. Even though "no reports received by MPD rise to the level of a prosecutable crime," it nevertheless identified the person and interviewed him. 

3. It turns out that this person "has a cognitive impairment due to a past traumatic brain injury."

ALSO: Who called the police on a guy in a bad costume? Did anyone call the police on the person who beat up this mentally impaired person?

In London, for "grossly offensive" speech — about "pride" flags — a man is required to "arrange a voluntary interview" — whatever that means.

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