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To the Fainting Couch

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A police officer gets away with murdering a black person even though the murder is recorded? I just can’t believe it!

Minnesota police officer, whose fatal shooting of a black motorist transfixed the nation when his girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath, was acquitted of all charges on Friday.

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting of Philando Castile.

After the verdict, jurors and Mr. Yanez were quickly led out of the courtroom, and Mr. Castile’s family left immediately. When a deputy tried to stop his mother, Valerie, she yelled “Let me go.”

Later, she said: “My son loved this city, and this city killed my son. And a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?”

No, sadly.

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  • njorl

    It seems like “I feared for my life” is a free pass for police officers to kill. The rest of the population need to have a reasonable fear for their life to justify killing, but not cops. Unreasonable fear is adequate justification for them.

    • CP

      And then there’s the standard for “assaulting a police officer,” which seems to mean “striking a police officer in the foot with your stomach.”

      • FMguru

        My favorite example of this the herd of cops standing around yelling contradictory instructions – “Freeze! Stand up! Lie down! Put your hands up! Get on your knees! Hands behind your back! Get down!” so no matter what you do you’re guilty of “failure to comply” and welp here come the batons/tazers/bullets.

        And if you do try to comply and follow the swiftly changing instructions, well, now you’re “acting erratic” and see above w/r/t batons/tazers/bullets.

        • Hogan

          If I were King of the Forest, all arrests would have to be conducted using the Cupid Shuffle.

        • twbb

          There’s also the mob of angry cops in Jersey City who after a car chase resulted in flaming wreckage started beating and kicking the head of the man who stumbled out of the inferno. The police union representative said they were trying to put out the fire.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            And that’s part of the other undiscussed trend, that cops think that a car chase means they can deliver all the beat-down they feel like.

            • farin

              And that they think a car chase is always the correct response to a fleeing vehicle. The circumstances where it is are ticking-time-bomb-like in their improbable specificity, but “He pulled away from a traffic stop” seems to be all cops need to put their lives and the lives of everyone else on the road at risk.

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Yeah, the policies have shifted on that one, as they slowly noticed how many casualties and property damage were being caused over not-John-Dillinger.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Is that the one where the guy they beat, severely injuring him, wasn’t the perp, but a guy in another car the perp hit? He wound up in critical condition, in part from his burns, and has permanent damage, some from the police attack.

            • twbb

              Yep that’s it.

    • cpinva

      “The rest of the population need to have a reasonable fear for their life to justify killing,”

      not if you’re in a “Stand Your Ground” state, at least if you’re caucasian.

      • Steve LaBonne

        And the person you shot wasn’t a cop.

        • eh

          With notably rare exceptions.

        • cpinva

          “And the person you shot wasn’t a cop.”

          if the cop isn’t white, you still have a pretty good chance of not being held accountable.

          • tsam

            Meh-I doubt that. That would show a crack in the wall. Even the racist cops know better than to give anyone the idea that there’s a legal route to shooting a cop and allow a precedent to be established. That’s not to say that minority cops are treated the same as white ones.

      • Origami Isopod

        Or if you’re a woman defending yourself against your abuser.

    • twbb

      “The rest of the population need to have a reasonable fear for their life to justify killing, but not cops”

      If the victim is black? Not really.

    • Maybe Michelle Carter should have used that excuse. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/06/16/shes-accused-of-pushing-him-to-suicide-now-a-judge-has-decided-her-fate/

      • Anna in PDX

        Wow, I… am not sure how I feel about this one, but in comparison with the OP it seems draconian. Not to mention she was 17 when she did this.

        • randy khan

          I’ve read about this case in some detail, and standard news accounts don’t really convey the totality of the facts. I don’t know whether I’d have convicted her or not, but it’s a really horrifying case.

        • Not to mention she was 17 when she did this.

          So I was lying in a TV-blightedequipped recovery room at the hospital yesterday, still mildly sedated and extremely caffeine deprived, after the sudden and unexpected impantation of a pacemaker (Tuesday: one dizzy spell too many, so I finally make an appointment to see my primary care physician in a couple of days; 9:40 AM Thursday: I see her, she considers various possible etiologies and just in case has her tech run an EKG on me [my previous EKG, six months ago, having been entirely normal and indeed exexmplary]; 11 AM Thursday, I’m down the hall in the cardiologist’s office, who says I need a pacemaker and he’ll set me up with an appointment in a week or two; 12 noon, I’m back at my apartment when the surgeon’s office calls me to tell me to show up at Admissions at 9AM Friday—I’m “very symptomatic”; 1PM, done deal but on general principles they want to keep me around another 4 hours; Friday evening, home and early to bed with my arm in a sling; Saturday morning, presumably on pace, and suddenly realizing that the headache can at least be treated with my first cup of coffee since Wednesday) with the sound muted, when the local news station comes on with news of the judge’s verdict. I didn’t recognize Michelle Carter’s name, and thought perhaps that the haggard woman (surely at least in her mid 30s) was the mother of that unfortunate baby who was or wasn’t beaten to death before her body washed up on an island in Boston Harbor.

          But no (as we learned going home in the taxicab, where the ad-servermini-TV in the passenger compartment was not muted, but didn’t quite drown out the driver’s preference, a local NPR station) that haggard woman was in fact Michelle Carter.

          Apparently Carter’s particular taste in involuntary manslaughter ages one fast. Very fast. (The driver wondered what her own raising had been like, which I always wonder, too.)

          I didn’t recognize

        • farin

          The comments on Jezebel pointed out that of course the test case for harsh prosecution of electronic abuse is a teenage girl. Gamergate was all just a bit of rowdy fun, no harm done; but this bitch is dangerous.

    • Brien Jackson

      I don’t think this is quite right. To crib from Imani Gandy the problem is that white jurists accept “black men are scary” as a reasonable form of fear. If cops claimed to be scared of middle class white high school girls they’d be doing 15 to life.

      • cpinva

        “If cops claimed to be scared of middle class white high school girls they’d be doing 15 to life.”

        I don’t know, some of them are pretty vicious, they just aren’t as obvious about it, like being, well, black and all.

        • LosGatosCA

          The Heathers

  • CP

    Somebody remind me why we even have cops, as opposed to the old standard of letting organized crime handle this kind of thing? What, so the mob occasionally kills a dude just to make sure the neighborhood knows they mean business? And that’s so very different from what we have now.

    Ignore me, I’m just venting, but fucking Christ.

    • so-in-so

      You assume that the police, together with the GOP, haven’t evolved into an organized crime syndicate. One could argue they often always were, at least an auxiliary.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Men of respect! (But with thinner skin.)

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Other than the punditry, is there any profession with a weaker collective dermal integrity?

          • farin

            In his defense, Cillizza hasn’t actually declared his unlimited right to murder people who displease him.

            This concludes all defenses of Cillizza, forever.

      • CP

        I do believe there’s an author (or more than one) in international relations or political science whose point is basically this – that the state in its most basic form is just an organized crime racket (logic being that it’s better to have one mob running the show than a dozen of them having a gang war). Blanking on names, but I find it hard to disagree.

        But at some point, it is ideally supposed to evolve beyond that. Accountability, regulations, all that boring shit we call “civilization.”

        • Mario Puzo?

        • Hogan

          I wish I’d known it was Charles Tilly Week at LGM. I’d have worn nicer shirts or something.

          • CP

            That’s it! Many thanks.

          • tsam

            You have the library of congress indexed in your head, don’t you?

        • Domino

          (logic being that it’s better to have one mob running the show than a dozen of them having a gang war).

          I mean, that’s universally correct. Thanks to a Japanese History course years ago I learned Japan was run essentially as a police state for centuries, which was peaceful, since the State made it really difficult for regional warlords to raise an army against them.

          That, and a strict caste system that locked you in at birth.

          • CP

            Oh, totally. It’s just that, like I said – at some point, you’re supposed to evolve beyond that.

            I mean, many of our governments were founded as basically the private fiefdom of kings who were just warlords with shinier hats. But now we’ve got elections and shit.

          • LeeEsq

            That seems like a really weird description of the Tokugawa Shogunate if I’m getting the period described right. Japan’s class system wasn’t any more strict than the class system in an average European monarchy of the time. You had the Kuge (Court Noble) and Samurai that roughly corresponded to the European nobility and gentry, merchants, artisans, and peasants. There were some people outside the caste system like clergy or the Eta but those were small groups of people. There wasn’t a lot of class mobility but it did exist. The Mitsui family were a Samurai family that got rid of their Samurai status so they could earn money as merchants in a rare case of simultaneous downward and upward mobility. The Tokugawa shoguns did their best to keep the merchants down but failed miserably. Japanese merchants invented the futures market and could be wealthier than most Samurai. Their state was not noticeably for authoritarian than say Bourbon France.

            • Domino

              Japan’s class system wasn’t any more strict than the class system in an average European monarchy of the time

              Not noticeably, with the exception that you could not move classes in society. Obviously this would hold true regardless, but Japan took the Chinese system and made it worse (at least China had exams to ascend to the upper tier. In Japan it was solely based on birth family.)

              There wasn’t a lot of class mobility but it did exist.

              I’m rusty, but if the Tokugawa Shogunate did allow class mobility, I’ve got to go back and look up which Shogunate did outlaw it.

              Japanese merchants invented the futures market and could be wealthier than most Samurai.

              Which makes total sense, since Samurai were mostly getting monthly stipends from the state because of their family and what their great-grandfather did. While merchants had to make all of their money on their own.

              The Tokugawa shoguns did their best to keep the merchants down but failed miserably

              That’s the issue most governments based off Confucian ideals struggle with, isn’t it? Even if you view merchants as scum, you acknowledge they’re necessary. And once you’ve turned merchants into a semi-pariah class publicly, it can lead to merchants adopting a spiteful mentality to the State.

            • Ahuitzotl

              Their state was not noticeably for authoritarian than say Bourbon France.

              Um, there was a -lot- of social mobility in Pre-revolutionary Bourbon France, what with having titles of nobility for sale.

        • LeeEsq

          Nearly every libertarian and anarchist political scientist and theorist believes that not only is the state in its most basic form an organized crime racket but that the state is always an organized crime racket even with restraints like rule of law, democracy, and civil rights and liberties. The state is an impossible to train beast to some.

          • CP

            Well, if they don’t like organized crime, wait till they meet the disorganized kind.

            • LeeEsq

              Most of the Libertarians I’m in contact with are intelligent enough to know that “no statet” means “warring gang violence” rather than utopia. They just don’t like it and wish it wasn’t so.

              James Scott apparently has a book about the origins of the state coming out soon.

              • CP

                Wow. Wanna trade libertarians? I think yours are smarter than mine.

                • cpinva

                  that’s a pretty low bar to hurdle.

          • It is worth pointing out that America’s “libertarians” are a wholly different beast from anarchists. “Libertarians” want to replace one gang with another, or a bunch of different gangs, which is one of several reasons I always use scare quotes when describing them (another is that they coopted the word in the first place, and a third is that many are quite authoritarian in several other ways I haven’t covered). Anarchists want to get rid of gangs entirely.

            • CP

              I think one of the biggest differences is that anarchists are afraid of the state because they see it as a tool of “the man,” i.e. the rich and powerful using it to stomp on the people, while libertarians see it as a tool of “the mob,” i.e. the unwashed masses using it to shackle the special and exceptional.

              It’s kind of like communism and fascism in that the means look similar in a lot of ways, but the stated ends, and the rationale for the means, are different. (Where communists and fascists want to expand the state because they assume they’ll be running it, anarchists and libertarians want to shrink it because they assume the other side will).

        • twbb

          The similarities of the state and organized crime fall apart quickly if you have any exposure to actual organized crime.

        • Peter T

          I know the theory. But the archeology and history show that the earliest states tended to evolve around sacred sites, not strong men. Mostly, the unifying ideal was not power but justice in the sense of final decision (although the two are coupled, for a long time a decree by the priests could be quite as compelling as one by the big man).

          Government by pure might has been tried quite a few times, but is much less stable than right buttressed by might. If might is all you have – as seems increasingly to be the case in the US – then you are on shaky ground.

      • CP

        Also, this was literally how a lot of police departments got started – criminal gangs hired to keep the peace. And then there’s Eugène Vidocq, the former criminal who’s considered “the father of modern criminology.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Fran%C3%A7ois_Vidocq

        • LeeEsq

          Takes one to know one.

      • Phil Perspective

        You assume that the police, together with the GOP, haven’t evolved into an organized crime syndicate.

        How many Democratic electeds ever take on the cops? This is an issue that is truly bipartisan.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Well, Vetinari seemed to think he needed both.

    • rea

      Somebody remind me why we even have cops

      (1)To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
      (2)To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
      (3)To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
      (4)To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
      (5)To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
      (6)To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
      (7)To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
      (8)To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary, of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
      (9)To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

      –From the general instructions issued to British police, After Sir Robert Peel founded them in 1829

      • LosGatosCA

        He gets an A for effort there.

        Perhaps it works better in England.

        American police don’t accept the concept of civilian control that even the military pays lip service to.

        • CP

          I have issues with the military, but I don’t think it’s lip service.

          There are any number of arguments between generals and their legally elected bosses – Lincoln/McLellan, Truman/MacArthur, Kennedy/Lemay – that would’ve ended in military coup in most other countries. The reason it never has here is that the military really has ingrained the concept that they owe allegiance to these authorities, whether or not they think they’re jackasses.

      • farin

        That’s why England has cops. Like every other Why? question in America, the answer here is “To defend slavery.”

  • Anna in PDX

    Heartbreaking. Not surprising, I suppose, as this has happened so many times before, but it never stops being shocking to me that it keeps happening…

  • Peterr

    I wait on the edge of my seat for the NRA to decry this verdict, by which the holder of a lawfully obtained conceal carry permit was violently killed while exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

    To be scrupulously fair, I expect to be waiting quite a while.

  • Mike G

    It was difficult enough to get justice in these cases before. Under the Trump Regime of bigoted authoritarianism, not a snowball’s chance in hell.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      He was tried in state court, but thanks for playing.

      • farin

        An administration with an Attorney General rather than a Grand Wizard might have pursued a federal civil rights case.

      • States will be given carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they want. The CRA and 14th am will be stayed untuil further notice.

  • CrunchyFrog

    The jury system is massively broken. It always has been of course, but in 1787 that’s the best they could come up with. Back then eyewitness testimony was considered the most reliable of any that could be offered. And it probably was. Now it is the least reliable – and to an extreme degree we now know via many studies.

    In 1787 the experience of British subjects was of people often being accused and railroaded by a system of biased judges giving biased instruction to biased juries and – on the rare case when conviction was not possible, just re-trying the case until the conviction was reached. Hence all of the provisions in the bill of rights.

    Today, we know that the rich get different justice than the poor and blacks different than white. We know that railroading of the innocent is common just as it was back then, they just play the system differently. We also know that given a set of facts no one can predict how a jury will rule, which is a massive indictment of the system. A just system would give the same result every time given the same set of facts.

    I’m sure that this verdict was not a case of jury nullification or open racism as was long practiced in the south. It was much more subtle. The jury instructions no doubt contained all kinds of legal wording that made it difficult to convict because they likely had to evaluate impossible-to-know things like intent and state of mind. Furthermore, you are told on a jury – with the reasonable doubt directive – that you must error on the side of not guilty. White or wealthy jurors who harbor fears of black males are going to empathize with those feelings and project them on to the accused police officer. At the same time they won’t have any empathy at all with the victim or any understanding of why he did what he did. Read what the jurors of the first Rodney King trial said about their failure to convict the brutal police officers and you’ll see exactly what I mean – they were scared to death of the Rodney King’s of the world and believed that it was all King’s fault that he was treated that way.

    The other problem with the system is the hold out – the juror who announces early on that he or she has decided and nothing will change his or her bigoted mind. Like with the Bill Cosby trial, the judge keeps sending them back to deliberate but the hold out can wait all year and eventually the others cave just to move on with their lives. They find some sort of minor issue with the evidence to rationalize their change in opinion to make themselves feel better about it. No idea if that happened here, but it happens all of the time.

  • Murc

    Jesus God, did that jury fuck up.

    A jury with two black dudes on it, even. If we can’t secure convictions, or even hung juries, against murderous cops when we 1) actually bring them to trial, and 2) there’s an honest to god multiracial jury, what the hell are we to do? Especially since this is something we need to address without fucking up the trials of other people?

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I’ve been on two juries, both minor cases, and in both of them, the first comment made once we were in the jury room was that we should convict because the police always tell the truth.

      • bender

        I’ve served on a few criminal juries. Nobody said anything like that; there may have been unspoken bias but all the juries took some time to go through the evidence. In one of the cases, unspoken racism or class bias on the part of some of the jurors may have contributed to our being hung 8-4 for conviction, but IMO the prosecution presented such a weak and disjointed case that I suspect some of the evidence had been suppressed.

        If I were serving on a jury with someone who made a remark like that, I hope I would say, in a mild tone, that we had been instructed by the judge to weigh the credibility of everyone who testified, and in my mind that includes police officers, and police are human, some are good people and some are not, etc. etc., and hope I could get some other jurors to back me up.

    • LeeEsq

      We are getting the conversation started and some attention paid to these issues. Thats always the start even if we have a very long way to go. The fact that there were two Black men on the jury should make us realize that most people still disagree with us on the issue including people we think should agree with us. It might show us that some of our rhetoric could improve.

      Its also a good that some police are being put on trial even if convictions are rare. Just because the guilty defendant will probably walk doesn’t mean that you can’t inflict some punishment through the stress of indictment or trial.

      • UncleEbeneezer

        I wish I shared your optimism that tweaking our rhetoric would help. In my experience, the very premises underlying the conversation are totally ass-backwards from the start and people are extremely unwilling to even attempt to rethink them. See GeorgeBurns’ comment above for an easy example. Even the mildest criticisms of our policing system usually draw defensive “why do you hate cops? well I hope none are around when YOU need help!” etc. Then throw in people’s extreme discomfort at the mere suggestion of systemic racism…ugh. And those are the people who, in theory, are on our side, to say nothing of the 40+% of the population that openly gets off on the idea of our state giving “thugs” what they deserve.

        • LeeEsq

          I’m not definite that tweaking rhetoric would help but just merely pointing out that it couldn’t hurt. I generally see accusing too many people of being effectively evil or coming close to it is not a good tactic.

          • UncleEbeneezer

            Problem is, even the mildest criticisms of our policing system or police officers behavior is treated as “accusing too many people of being effectively evil.” No matter how many #NotAll disclaimers are included, the response is almost always the same.

        • Origami Isopod

          This.

          It speaks a lot about someone when they seize upon this kind of situation as (yet) another opportunity to lecture people to their left on their immoderate tone. Especially when decades of moderate tone — because, you know, the conversation didn’t just start when comfortable white liberals started paying attention — did precisely jack shit.

          • LeeEsq

            Tactics manner and politics isn’t fair. Going about calling a bunch of people evil doesn’t seem exactly the best way to get them to change even if it might be true.

            • Severian

              That’s hilarious considering it’s worked awesomely well for the right over the course of my life.

              • LeeEsq

                Calling people evil worked well for the Right because they weren’t trying to get the evil people to vote for them. They were trying to mobilizing their group against the people identified as evil.

                What we want to do is different. We want less racism, sexism, and homophobia. We want less police brutality. That means we are trying to change the behavior of many people in the United States. Somehow denouncing tens of millions or hundreds of million of people as racist seems like a really counter-productive strategy to make this happen.

                • Severian

                  No, what we’re trying to do is NOT different. You’re mistaking the goal for the method. We should NOT be trying to get the evil people to vote for us. We should be denouncing and discrediting the Right every bit as viciously as they do us. Our sole scruple in that should be to stick to the truth.

                  Please learn this truth. THEY ARE AT WAR WITH US. We fight back, or we get slaughtered. Eventually, literally.

                • Murc

                  We should NOT be trying to get the evil people to vote for us.

                  Then we’ll lose.

                  We require a certain percentage of evil people to stop being evil and start being good. We don’t have the numbers to win without that.

            • UncleEbeneezer

              Tactics don’t matter:

              Reform Advocate: Our policing system is racist.

              White Guy: How dare you attack the police!!

              Reform Advocate: Lengthy discussion of bias and systemic racism all carefully worded with tons of praise for the bravery of our fine officers…

              White Guy: How dare you attack the police!!

              Kinder/gentler words make no difference and anyone who claims they would totally support police reform if only people would stop saying Black Lives Matter are completely full of shit and are only looking for excuses for continuing their racism.

              How about we take our cues on anti-racism tactics from, oh I dunno, maybe the people who bear the brunt of the oppression. No group is a monolith, but I can’t help notice that your kid-gloves treatment of white people, police etc., is not super popular among people who write and organize around Black Liberation.

              Also, I’m a big believer in the fact that confronting the real truth about oppression is kind of a necessary step (maybe the most important one) in trying to deprogram your racism/sexism/lgbtqphobia, whatever. Until someone is ready to understand why they shouldn’t get upset by statements like “all white people are racist” they’re really not ready to be any kind of real ally to the cause and is more likely to just go in the booth and vote Trump all while claiming to be not racist. I know in my own journey to becoming more aware on feminism and racism it took that blunt White People Ain’t Shit moment, my retreat to my fragility and then slowly overcoming it, to really start to “get it.” I don’t think you really can become aware without that crucial step.

              I don’t know a single person who has become a strong feminist or a committed anti-racist who points to that A-HA moment when people spoke to them really carefully, so as not to hurt their precious feelings.

              • My experience has been that this is exactly correct, and I also get more than a bit uncomfortable when more privileged people tone police less privileged people. I can see an argument for trying to moderate one’s tone in public discourse, though I emphatically disagree with it, but I find it insufferable when referring to internet discussions or the like. If someone is turned into a shitgibbon voter because a minority used the wrong tone, they were never a reliable ally in the first place.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I can’t agree with your comment and especially your final sentence enough.

      • efgoldman

        Its also a good that some police are being put on trial even if convictions are rare. Just because the guilty defendant will probably walk doesn’t mean that you can’t inflict some punishment through the stress of indictment or trial.

        I believe the cop has also been fired, so there’s that.

        • I believe the cop has also been fired, so there’s that.

          Not that being fired from one police department seems to be much of an impediment to being hired by another (even as chief!).

    • Jon_H11

      We need to take control of the police depts funding and promotions/hierarchy mechanisms through the democratic system at the local levels.

      And, sorry Loomis, knee-cap the police unions.

      • LeeEsq

        I’d go to in a different direction and suggest centralizing the police force at a state level rather than leaving it to local government.

        • Jon_H11

          Where possible, definitely yes. There should be a strong push for this, especially in deep blue states. I’m looking at you Cali- God knows you need it.

          • bender

            How would centralizing the police in an enormous state like California help?

            I can see some actions at the state level that would be helpful, such as setting up registries where any jurisdiction hiring somebody would be required to look up their past employment history first, and some minimum standards for training, and financial help for jurisdictions that can’t afford to run their own academies, etc. Ending local control? I would want to know what the unintended side effects would be.

            • LeeEsq

              Centralizing the police force can make it easier to exert civil service control over the police force and get them to follow a uniform and routine set of procedures. You can also have a uniform and higher set of hiring and advancement standards. It takes away local politics to an extent.

              • bw

                That is probably true. The problem is figuring out how to exert that kind of control without things blowing up in your face and turning a patchwork local agency mess into a nice uniform statewide agency mess. Because if you don’t do it right, you end up with a rogue agency like ICE or, to use a more moderate and germane example, the notoriously unaccountable CA Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

                (whoops, partially pwned by DocAmazing below)

          • nosmo king

            Actually, AFAIK, the police in California ARE partially state-centralized. The state is responsible for the chartering of all police departments, therefore any police agency has more or less the same powers and responsibilities as any other, no matter their jurisdiction. But this is different from day to day operational control.

        • DocAmazing

          Central authority over law enforcement hasn’t made the FBI or ICE any less abusive. At least with locally-controlled cops communities can set up local police oversight; the problem is giving oversight agencies teeth.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        It might be a bit difficult to pull off, but let the police have unions, but only if the union also represents all fast food workers. Somehow I think a leadership that has to answer to both groups might lead to better results.

        (I didn’t start this as a doughnut joke, either.)

        Just dreamin’.

        • LeeEsq

          Combining any public and private sector workforce in one union seems to be like a real big conflict of interest to me because of the different nature of government and private employers.

    • jpgray

      A jury with two black dudes on it, even.

      Ethiopian woman and black guy, I believe.

  • UncleEbeneezer

    Once a slave patrol…

  • AMK

    The cop is hispanic so it couldn’t be racism, says every conservative and almost every white person past a certain age.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      (sarcasm font) Oh yes. We have already learned that with George Zimmerman. (/sarcasm font)

      (I have no buttons and no notes to work from, sorry.)

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        “code” and “/code,” except replace the quotation marks with ankle brackets.

        • randy khan

          “Ankle brackets” is one of the best typos I’ve seen in a while.

          • Tsotate

            “Ankle brackets” are the manacles Jeronimo Yanez should be wearing as he gets marched into genpop. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

    • Fire

      Hispanic/Latino doesn’t necessarily mean PoC. Thanks to Spanish colonialism, you can be white and yet from South America, or just be from Spain. I don’t know if the cop is white or not, but having a Spanish surname does not automatically mean you’re not white.

  • DrDick

    I wish I could say I am even a little surprised by this, but sadly the only thing that would surprise me is a cop held accountable for killing a person of color.

  • Joe_JP

    Star Tribune helpfully tried to break down the numbers:

    http://www.startribune.com/database-of-deaths-after-police-use-of-force-in-minnesota-since-2000/350729601/

    The two things that stand out is the mental health and race of the victim.

  • twbb

    “A police officer gets away with murdering a black person even though the murder is recorded?”

    The murder was not recorded, which is almost certainly why he evaded conviction (though I agree he should have been convicted), though conviction would not be certain, of course. Though surprisingly both Michael Slager and Sean Groupert are currently in prison.

  • e.a.foster

    Interesting the way Trump carries on about Cuba and then forgets all about the human rights of Americans. U.S.A. just another word for world’s biggest hypocrites.

    • Dr. Acula

      To be Scrupulously Fair, Trump doesn’t care about the human rights of Cubans, either. He’s just doing this because it’s the opposite of what Obama did.

      • Schadenboner

        Cleek’s Law: Foreign Policy Edition!

    • Phil Perspective

      And the Cuban response trolled Trump right back, They even mentioned police killings of minorities. The Castro brothers were/are no dummies.

  • tde

    Yes, somebody really needs to sit the members of that jury down and explain to them how the police treats black folks.

  • jpgray

    Living in Mpls, I’m absolutely fucking gutted by this.

    If Castile had been white, he’d be alive.

    CCW effectively ruled a ticking time bomb death sentence if you’re black. Nice work, jurors/judge/society/world/universe. Death by racist ghost stories. Fuck’s sake.

    God fucking help me if somebody complains about a tough commute Monday.

  • JonH

    It’s a fucking miracle that Oklahoma rapist cop got convicted.

    • Jordan

      He did get a super-sympathetic vox/sbnation profile out of it, though!

      (tbf, vox/sbnation seem to have reacted appropriately to their massive fuckup).

  • Allex Johnson

    What nobody tells you is every time one of these cops gets acquitted the NSA gets to make a copy of the internet for analysis.

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