Showing posts with label Police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Police. Show all posts

September 16, 2016

People Killed by Police in US by Race Since 2015


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[File photo]



Police in Columbus, Ohio, were investigating how a 13-year-old boy wanted for questioning Wednesday night in an armed robbery ended up fatally shot by an officer.

The child — later identified by Columbus police as Tyre King — had "pulled a gun from his waistband" when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody, the Columbus Division of Police said in a statement. As the encounter unfolded, an officer shot King "multiple times."

The weapon recovered from the scene was determined to be a BB gun with an attached laser sight, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference Thursday morning. She showed a replica image of that BB gun.

"Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon," said Jacobs, adding, "It turns out not to be a firearm, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that can kill you."



September 6, 2016

Wilton Manors Threatening Gay Hater Caught










Wilton Manors residents can kick back and relax this Labor Day knowing a potential threat to their community has been placed behind bars.

On Saturday, a man accused of making social media threats of violence toward members of Wilton Manors’ gay community was arrested and taken into federal custody on an unrelated charge.

According to police, Florida Highway Patrol troopers took 50-year-old Craig Jungwirth into custody in Osceola County after he was found driving with a suspended license. A Broward County judge had issued an arrest warrant for him for allegedly violating bond in a pending misdemeanor case.

“Mr. Jungwirth has been apprehended. He’s currently in custody,” said Wilton Manors Police Cmdr. Gary Blocker.

Police said Jungwirth lives with his mother in Orlando, which is 200 miles from Wilton Manors, but his Facebook posts rattled the community up until his arrest.

The former Wilton Manors resident’s arrest brought relief to those who live and work in the neighborhood. “I wasn’t going to let him ruin my holiday,” said Wilton Manors resident James Greaves. “So now, since he’s arrested, that makes it so much better.”

“This is a guy with nothing to lose,” said Nick Berry, owner of Rumors Bar and Grill, “and well known to have guns, so it was definitely a credible treat.”

Police said Jungwirth became a top priority after he posted threatening messages on a Facebook account aimed at gay residents in the community, last Tuesday.

However, he has not been charged in connection with those threats.

Multiple nightclub and bar owners, as well as employees told 7News they have had run-ins with Jungwirth in the past.

“We were actually concerned he would show up again,” said Rumors Bar and Grill employee Joshua Weigand. “I absolutely feel relieved. We weren’t really sure what was going to happen.”

Ever since Jungwirth’s threats surfaced online, Rumors Bar and Grill has been taking extra precautions. “We hired extra security. Nick, the owner, actually hired armed guards over the weekend because the fact that it could be a real threat was upsetting.”

One of the epithet-riddled posts in Jungwirth’s Facebook page even references the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.


Police said Jungwirth has advertised himself as an area event and party planner. He is accused of writing, “My events are selling out cause you [gay slur] are total patsies. None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait ’till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”

Another post read, “You can never catch a genius from MIT, and since you [gay slur] aren’t dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers.”

A third post reads, “I’m gonna be killing you [gay slur] faster than cops kill [racial slur]. Its time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.”

“That Orlando thing affected all of us all pretty, pretty hard,” said Wilton Manors resident Gareth Chapman.

Blocker said the Wilton Manors Police has been working with the residents. “Immediately we’ve been communicating what we could with members of our community,” he said. “We beefed up patrols, we’ve beefed up Special Operations. We also met on Friday, door-to-door, with our local businesses.”

“[We are doing this] to provide them information on Jungwirth, information about the concerning posts and to let them know that we were going to be out there for them over this holiday weekend,” said Blocker. “We want to thank the members of our community who took the ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative and reached out to us.”

Acquaintances told 7News Jungwirth is openly gay. He has denied writing those posts, even though he didn’t even read them when authorities asked him.

Jeff Scott, a security guard at Rumors Bar and Grill, understands the possibility of a tragedy. “I think he’s really capable of anything, from what I’ve experienced from the past,” he said. “I don’t understand where that comes from because he is gay, but he’s obviously got a lot of anger, hatred.”

The bar has a case pending against Jungwirth who they claim was caught on camera vandalizing the business with spray paint after he was angered over a pulled sponsorship in May of 2016.

The latest arrest warrant also reveals past complaints on file for stalking and harassment as well as incidents of sabotage and trespassing.

The FBI has taken over his case, and according to a federal complaint, he has been reported to the police before. The federal complaint stated, “multiple complaints for stalking and harassing behavior were documented, as well as incidents of sabotage, vandalism, and trespassing.”

The federal complaint goes on to detail an interview with one of the individuals who contacted Wilton Manors Police regarding the Facebook posts. The complainant stated they have filed multiple reports against Jungwirth. One of them resulted in a restraining order against him.

According to the federal complaint, the complainant also told officials in the past several months, Jungwirth sent them thousands of threatening text messages, Facebook messages and phone calls, many times with Jungwirth stating, “I’m going to get you.”

“There is something wrong with him inside,” Berry said.

With Jungwirth’s arrest, Wilton Manors residents felt free to enjoy Labor Day weekend without the added security concerns. “Wilton Manors doesn’t have to be in fear anymore,” said local resident Robin Almodobar.

Although Jungwirth is in custody, the investigation into his posts continues. “The word conclusion is obviously not correct because there is so much more we have to do,” said Wilton Manors Police Department Chief Paul O’Connell.

Jungwirth is expected to appear in federal court in Orlando on Tuesday.

7[wsvn.com]


July 11, 2016

Does the Killing of 5 Police Officers Signals Spiraling Violence? The numbers!




                                                                        




The shooting of 12 police officers in Dallas on Thursday suggests spiraling violence: The cops were shot during a protest against the shooting of black men by police. A vicious circle of retribution would be something new for the U.S. where, unlike in other developed countries, killings by police far outnumber officer deaths in the line of duty.

The point that police kill more people in the U.S. than in European countries has often been made. It's intuitively understandable: American cops have to deal with armed criminals more often because guns are more widely available, and the dominant culture is pro-gun, so people have less of a problem using weapons. For all that, however, relatively few officers get killed.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics of "justifiable homicide" by law enforcement officers indicate that in 2010-14, the average number of fatal shootings by police was 428 per year (the number has been hovering around 400 for much longer than that). Also according to the FBI, about 50 officers per year are killed in the line of duty. That's already a rather high ratio of inflicted to suffered casualties -- and it disregards the insufficiency of the "justifiable homicide" data; The Washington Post, for example, calculates that a total of 965 people were fatally shot by police in 2015. 

In countries where killings of every kind are not as frequent -- in fact, so infrequent that it even makes little sense to correct the statistics for factors such as population or number of officers -- the ratios are much lower. 

In the U.K., a total of 250 officers have been fatally shot since 1945. That's fewer than four per year. Police, who are usually unarmed, shoot even fewer civilians. Since 1990, they have killed a total of 60 people -- a little more than two per year. 

In Germany, officers are usually armed. Last year, they shot eight people -- about the average number for the last 10 years. Between 1945 and 2011, some 392 German police officers died in the line of duty -- about 6 per year, although there have been fewer deaths in recent years. 

In France, there's a dearth of statistics on police killings. By one count, 54 people were killed by officers between 2005 and 2015, about five a year; and between six and 13 officers have died in the line of duty each year in 2008-15.

With absolute numbers so small, it's difficult to make statistical comparisons with the U.S. Rather, one could say that the killings of and by officers are extraordinary incidents in western Europe, and comparable, small numbers of cops and suspects die at each other's hands. 

What's at stake in the U.S. is the all-important preservation of police legitimacy -- a key concept in today's criminology concerning trust in law enforcement and the perceived obligation to obey the police. Any diminution would produce a precarious situation.

In the wake of the Dallas shootings, it would be a normal human reaction for U.S. cops to get even tougher, to avenge their fallen comrades. Yet what's needed is a de-escalation. There will still be crazed criminals who kill cops -- but perhaps in time a less violent culture will develop as a basis for strengthened law-enforcement legitimacy.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.


To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net
or

June 16, 2016

NY Police Move to Bond Mend Fences with Gay Community


                                                                         
NYC Mounted Police
   
                                                  
Inside the brick fortress near the Brooklyn Bridge that is 1 Police Plaza, the headquarters of the New York Police Department, the auditorium is a place where officers come for jubilant events, where cadets are sworn in and where members of the force shake the hand of the commissioner after a promotion.

And on Wednesday, officers marched in with the flags of the United States, New York City and the rainbow colors of gay pride for a gathering that was also one of celebration, if tinged with mourning.
It was the first time in more than a decade, organizers said, that the Gay Officers Action League of New York has had a community gathering for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. The event was planned before the mass shooting at a gay nightclub this week in Orlando, Fla., but the tragedy added a poignancy to it.

It was an opportunity, organizers said, to improve a sometimes strained relationship with the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and show that the city had a diverse force that included officers who shared similar experiences.
Brian Downey, a detective and the president of the league since January, noted that there were officers who had been shunned by their families for their sexual orientation, or who had struggled to come out to their friends and colleagues. There have been transgender officers who transitioned while on the job.

“They need to see us,” said Detective Downey, who has been with the Police Department for more than eight years. “They need to see the out and proud members of the department.”
William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said it was his hope that “everyone who lives, works and plays in the city feels comfortable approaching a New York City police officer, and is treated with compassion, with care and with attention.”

The league, established in 1982, has about 2,000 members from the Police Department, federal law enforcement and other agencies.
“We are a beautiful mosaic inside the Police Department,” Detective Downey said, “that represents that beautiful mosaic that is the city of New York.”
There were references throughout the night to progress and to how much the city and the department have evolved over the decades, with officers trained to interact with gay people with awareness and sensitivity.

But Detective Downey acknowledged the tensions that have existed between the department and gay people, and he said he hoped the discussions fueled by the Orlando shooting could bring about an improved connection. “I think it’s not as strong as it could be, and I think it’s not as strong as it should be,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can and we’ll do more.”

Some officers expressed fears about joining the profession because of their sexual identity.
Over the years, accusations of discrimination have been leveled against the department, and some officers have brought lawsuits against it because they believed that their careers had been impaired or that they had been harassed because of their orientation or identity.
“I had a certain idea of what the Police Department was like, a pretty ignorant idea, and I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” said Carl Locke, a detective who joined the Police Department 15 years ago.

Brooke Bukowski, a patrol officer in the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village, said she had thought that being a police officer would not even be an option for her as a transgender woman. She has been with the department for five years, patrolling in East New York and Flatbush in Brooklyn before taking the Manhattan assignment.
“It’s really like a nonissue, especially when they see you’re a hard-working officer,” Officer Bukowski said.
“I am transgender, that’s who I am,” she added. “But on the day to day, I just want to be seen as a good cop.”

New York Times

A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2016, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Police Move to Fix Bond With Gay New Yorkers.


May 27, 2016

LA.Enacts Hate Crime Law for Cops[Violence vs.Cops All Time Low]



Image result for hate crimes cops
                                                                         












Crimes against police are the most severely punished in all 50 states and most countries but someone in Louisiana which is one of the states that have always had problems protecting the elderly, gays, Transexuals, blacks, bi racial minorities, have now made the police another minority.

 However this minority carry guns and more. It has the power of the government behind it plus the credibility of the courts and the most severe crimes from something as simple as resisting arrest and as serious as murder. On the other hand when someone is injured by the police the injured or family of disease face an almost unscalable mountain not just for justice but many times just for monetary damages to cover some of the expenses. Almost all of the cases never reach a jury. 

It is right and just that the penalties are high for crimes against law enforcement and if a legislature believes they should be higher then they should be. But by putting police or any other governmental institution in the same field as a gay man beaten to a pulp just because he is gay or a senior citizen because they are senior citizens and thus easy prey then the classification stops in helping deterrence of this crime. As you include any government agency,  be the Police, IRS or FBI you obscure the reason and the effectivity of hate crime law.
If one knows takes into account the result of this law and the fight against hate crime and equal rights persist, would a homophobic, racist bias law maker have introduced it to dilute the LGBT and others putting Police Squarely Vs. equal rights in Louisiana and others that will pursue the same route? Noh! Really? This law is not intended to fight crime against cops and police ing would be made more difficult with resentment from minorities.  How does that helps?
Adam

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein




 adamfoxie.blogspot.com







Yesterday late afternoon 
New York Times reported on this story:



Hate crime statutes originated as a response to bigotry, a special penalty for singling people out for abuse based on factors like race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation or, most recently, gender identity. On Thursday, Louisiana became the first state to add law enforcement officers to that list.

A bill signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday set off a debate over whether the measure was really needed to protect officers, or whether, as civil rights groups charged, it was an effort to dilute the basic meaning of hate crimes and to undermine the movement protesting the use of force by the police. A similar bill is pending in Congress.

The action comes at a time of fierce national debate over policing and race. High profile deaths of African- Americans in the hands of police — from Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner in New York City — have prompted intense criticism of law enforcement. That criticism has come in street demonstrations and on social media, spawning the Black Lives Matter movement. Some law enforcement groups have charged that those protests have led to an increase in attacks on police officers, though there is little data to support that. Still, some supporters of law enforcement have adopted the slogan, “Blue Lives Matter.”

“I’ve read various accounts of people who I would say were employing a deliberate campaign to terrorize our officers,” said state Representative Lance Harris, the Republican author of the Louisiana measure. “I just wanted to give an extra level of protection to the people who protect us.”

Ernest L. Johnson, Sr., president of the Louisiana branch of the N.A.A.C.P., countered, saying, “Hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police and firefighters.”

“The men and women who put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances are true heroes and they deserve every protection that we can give them,” said Mr. Edwards, a Democrat whose family ties to law enforcement run broad and deep. His brother, Daniel, is the sheriff in Tangipahoa Parish; another brother, Frank, is the police chief of Independence, a town in the parish; and their father, grandfather and great-great-grandfather were also sheriffs in Tangipahoa.

William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, an alliance of officers’ unions, lauded the bill. “I think it’s fair to say that officers are under attack nationwide, and this is a reasonable response,” he said. 

But violence against police officers stands near an all-time low, according to data kept by the F.B.I. and private groups. In recent years, homicides have been less than half as common as they were in the 1970s, when there were far fewer officers. In 2015, 41 officers on duty were “feloniously killed,” a category that excludes accidental deaths, the second-lowest figure in the last 60 years; the lowest was in 2014.

So far this year, 20 officers have been fatally shot while on duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is up from 16 at the same point last year, but it is a pace that would still make 2016 one of the least deadly years on record.

Mr. Harris, Mr. Johnson and others have cited two fatal incidents in particular. Last August, Darren H. Goforth, a Harris County sheriff’s deputy, was shot to death in Cypress, Tex., as he was getting gas for his patrol car; and in December 2014, the New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot to death as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn.

In each case, law enforcement officials attributed the killings to hatred of the police. The leader of a police union in New York blamed Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who had voiced sympathy for protests against police killings, for the shooting there. The Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman, said anti-law-enforcement speech, which he linked to Black Lives Matter, had promoted the killling of officers; a statement he later said he regretted, though he said he still believed that Deputy Goforth had bee targeted.

The assailant in New York had made it clear that he intended to kill officers in retaliation for the killings of black men, but in the Texas case, officials have not said what evidence they have about a motive. Both gunmen had histories of severe mental illness.

“Perception matters, and low-frequency, high-impact events drive perception,” whether that means viral video of a shooting by an officer, or violence against an officer, said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a national group that researches and advises law enforcement. “Police officers believe that the odds have increased that they will be assaulted and ambushed and attacked, even though the numbers may not support that,” he said.

Louisiana, like many states, already had a law that increased penalties for crimes committed against emergency responders. The hate crimes statute, which is separate, provides that up to five more years can be added to the prison sentence of a person who is convicted of a felony if the court finds that the victim was chosen based on prejudice against certain groups.

Mr. Harris noted that among the criteria already in the law were “membership or service in, or employment with, an organization.” That meant, he said, that adding law enforcement officers and firefighters simply makes explicit what was already implied.

The Louisiana bill caused few ripples until it was close to becoming law; some of the groups now lined up in favor and against it were not aware of it until a few days ago. It passed Louisiana’s Republican-controlled House on a 92 to 0 vote. In the Republican-controlled Senate, it passed 33 to 3. Mr. Harris said he never expected it to draw much attention, but this week he said he had fielded calls on it from around the country.

Allison Padilla-Goodman, director of the Anti-Defamation League for the region that includes Louisiana, said hate crimes laws originated because crimes motivated by bias were often brushed off, but “there is zero confusion that a crime against a cop gets treated very seriously.”

She added, “Hate crimes are about an identity-based bias, an immutable characteristic that a person cannot change. Adding a professional category changes and confuses the meaning of that.”

Mr. Bueermann, a former police chief of Redlands, Calif., said that covering officers under hate crimes laws “can reinforce the notion that hatred of a group because of who they are has no place in our society, which is good,” but it should be coupled with holding officers to higher standards of conduct.

He cautioned that the law’s supporters had opened a new debate that could go in directions they might not like.

“At some point, someone might suggest that abortion physicians should also be protected,” he said, “that if you are hunted down because of your profession, whatever the profession, that should be a hate crime.”


May 18, 2016

Ukraine New Police Force 'A well in the middle of the Desert'



                                                                         


The launch of Ukraine's new police patrol force last year sparked an internet craze of citizens posting selfies with newly recruited officers.

Their popularity stemmed not from their uniforms, body cameras and tablets, but the fact they did not demand bribes.

The most visibly successful reform to have emerged from the pro-European Maidan protests in 2014 is now under threat, serving and former law enforcement officials say, accusing vested interests of seeking to obstruct and discredit the force.

Vladyslav Vlasiuk, a lawyer by training who rose through patrol police ranks to become Chief of Staff of the National Police, quit in March, "exhausted" by the pushback against change, he told Reuters in his first media interview since.

The experience he described shows how fragile Ukraine's progress in transforming itself into a Western-facing free market democracy could prove to be.

The police reform, possibly for the first time in the former Soviet republic's history, "showed international partners that we in Ukraine are actually able to carry out some reforms," Vlasiuk said.

Before Maidan, police "would always do what the prosecutors say. Then it changed," he said. "The National Police positioned itself as a separate and equal law enforcement power. Prosecutors did not like it."

"We are seeing the prosecution service chasing patrol officers for wrongdoings. There is now a tension which is blocking the reform of the national police."

DEPUTY MINISTER QUITS

In Ukraine, prosecutors have the power to launch investigations into public servants suspected of wrongdoing -- a power which police officers say is being abused.

"When you are working within any public service in Ukraine you have to be ready to deal with a lot of inspections, a lot of bullshit, a lot of irrelevant regulations," Vlasiuk said.

"And the prosecution is a controlling organ which can punish you for, in their opinion, improper actions," he said.

The General Prosecutor's office did not provide immediate comment when asked about the allegations.

The United States and European Union, which are helping to fund a $40 billion aid-for-reform program for Ukraine, have repeatedly called for a clean-up of the General Prosecutor's office, which they see as a key obstacle to fighting corruption.

Several high-profile reformers have been sacked from the government and prosecution service or resigned in frustration.

First Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze has also quit, to take on an advisory role in the ministry. Her resignation statement on Wednesday gave no reason but contained a warning over the fate of reforms.

"I want to emphasize that these islands of success will drown in the ocean of corruption, nihilism, the bureaucracy, if we do not build bridges between them, creating a continent," she said. "And if in Ukraine we do not have the strength to go forward, the door, that we just opened, may close forever."

THE SYSTEM STRIKES BACK

With the help of U.S. money and training, and headed by a former Georgian minister, the new police force was set up as part of a root-and-branch reform to weed out endemic corruption.

The new patrol section was launched in July and incorporated into a revamped National Police force. The patrol officers seemed to be everything those dreaming of a new Ukraine after Maidan hoped: committed, trustworthy, less susceptible to bribes and not afraid to go after the rich and the powerful.

Drawn from all walks of life, they carried smart tablets as well as body cameras to make police work transparent. In a sign of changing times, Energy Minister Ihor Nasalik announced on Friday he'd been given a parking fine -- and willingly paid.

Vlasiuk, 27, was part of a new generation of Young Turks entering public service after Maidan. He is in the process of setting up an NGO to provide legal assistance to officers and burnish the police's image nationally.

His former boss, a Georgian technocrat called Khatia Dekanoidze in charge of the National Police, described in a separate interview cases of vested interests undermining change.

An initiative to fire corrupt or incompetent officers by vetting them in a "reattestation" process has led to hundreds of lawsuits by sacked officers, some of whom got their jobs back.

Dekanoidze said judges were deliberately reinstating discredited officers for fear the judiciary could be next.

"This is a revenge of the old system, because the judiciary system, especially courts, they are part of the old system," Dekanoidze said.

There are other obstacles to reforms. The police budget is tight in a country at war with Russian-backed separatists and an economy that shrank by a tenth last year.

KEEP CALM AND SUPPORT POLICE

An incident that has grown into a cause celebre for the police occurred on the night of Feb 7. A police car chased a speeding BMW through the streets of Kiev, recorded on a black and white police camera in footage later broadcast on TV.

Starting with warning shots, three police officers fired a total of 34 bullets at the car during the course of a 40 minute chase, according to an interior ministry spokesman. Eventually, one of the bullets killed a 17-year-old passenger inside.

Prosecutors accused the officer of wilful murder and abuse of authority; he is under house arrest while they investigate.

Police said the officer was trying to protect the public from a driver who was drunk. Their supporters protested in Kiev holding banners saying "Keep Calm and Support Patrol Police" and the hashtag #savepolice appeared on Twitter.

Anton Gerashchenko, a lawmaker and member of the interior ministry council, said the case was an example of prosecutors seeking to show they remained in control by discrediting police.

Dekanoidze echoed that view. "Police reform is the only reform that is visible, that is a real reform for Ukrainians," she said. So when prosecutors went after those defending the lives of ordinary Ukrainians, "it looked like The Inquisition."

She added there were other cases when police had gone after illegal gambling rackets -- only for prosecutors to open criminal cases against the officers.

A Western diplomat, who did not want to be identified by name, said the fight back by prosecutors showed reforms were starting to have a real impact.

"Prosecutors here are millionaires," the diplomat said. "They are powerful people who will fight to the very end to protect the resources vertical they created."

Much will hinge on the performance of the new General Prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister whose appointment on Thursday raised eyebrows because he had no legal background.

Dekanoidze said she hopes prosecutors under Lutsenko will cooperate with the police. “Because ... without a good and fair prosecution, police can't do anything."
Reuters

May 31, 2015

Well Paid, Great Benefits, Not too Dangerous: “Police Officers"


                                                                          

Baltimore’s streets are quiet again. Baltimore’s state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby moved quickly in securing indictments against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, and her decisive action has calmed the city for now. 
But getting a grand jury to indict police officers is a lot easier than getting convictions at trial. 
That’s because like any prosecutor trying to hold cops accountable, Mosby will be working on an uneven playing field. 
To prove her case, she won’t just need sufficient evidence. 
She will also have to overcome a number of deep-seated structural impediments to convicting police officers of crimes—no matter how guilty they are. 
It’s hard to prosecute cops. There are two main reasons for this: The first is the special deference that jurors, judges, and prosecutors show officers thanks to the widespread perception that they are heroic public figures valiantly trying to protect us. The second is the bevy of special laws around the country that are designed to shield police officers from the very tactics the police regularly use on ordinary suspects. 
For example, in most states, law enforcement officers cannot be questioned until they have been given a few days to get their stories straight. And many states have passed laws—such as Section 50-a of New York’s Civil Rights Law—that are specifically designed to make it almost impossible to obtain or use at trial records of a police officer’s prior brutality or misconduct.
These two factors can make convicting police officers extremely difficult, and it is no accident; it is the direct result of the sustained effort by police unions to protect officers from even the most deserved discipline or prosecution.
471368942Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesBaltimore Police officers arrest a man near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore.

While the rules that unfairly protect the police must be changed, it is also high time to re-examine the foundation of these policies: the public perception—lovingly curated by police unions—of the very nature of police work. 
For the last three decades, police unions have managed to portray their members as indispensable heroes in a deadly and dangerous war. Fallen officers, like Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, who were shot in Mississippi on May 9, or Brian Moore, whose funeral in New York was a few days earlier, are uniformly described as heroes. One need only listen to the fife and drums, witness the squadron of NYPD helicopters flying the missing man formation, or gaze at the image of tens of thousands of white-gloved officers standing at attention to understand the profound nature of their particular brand of heroism.
But as we read the heartrending newspaper coverage and weep at the pomp that attends a line-of-duty death, we can become a party to a false and dangerous narrative that does more to rend our society asunder than heal our legitimately broken hearts.
That’s because the story of the hero cop is also used to legitimize brutality as necessary, justify policies that favor the police, and punish anyone who dares to question police tactics or oppose the unions’ agendas. Quite simply, in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the story of the hero cop has become so powerful and pervasive that even questioning police behavior is decried as disloyal, un-American, and dangerous.
SWAT teamCharles KrupaA SWAT team marches through a neighborhood while searching for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Mass.
Just last week a third-grade teacher at Forest Street Elementary School in Orange, New Jersey, was lambasted for promoting “anti-police sentiment.” Her offense: having her third-graders write get-well cards to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man serving a life sentence for killing a police officer nearly 34 years ago. The simple display of sympathy—Jamal was recently hospitalized due to complications from diabetes—was decried by Chris Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, as “brainwashing” and promoting an “anarchy driven agenda.” Richard Costello, political director for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, described the get-well cards as “psychological child abuse.” Both unions demanded the teacher be fired, and the school district obeyed.
The hero cop narrative is also belied by the facts. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, police work does not crack the top-10 list of mostdangerous jobs. Loggers have a fatality rate 11 times higher than cops, and sanitation workers die in the line of duty at twice the rate that police do.
Brian Moore NYPD officerNYPD via ABC NewsNYPD officer Brian Moore, 25, died May 4, 2015 after being shot in the head by a suspect while on duty two days earlier.
Yes, police officers are sometimes shot and killed, but this is a fairly rare phenomenon. 
Indeed, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, of the 100 officers killed in the United States in the line of duty in 2013, far more crashed their cars or were hit by cars than were shot or stabbed
In fact, if you compare the murder rate among police officers with the murder rate in several American cities, you find that it is far safer to be a NYPD officer than an average black man in Baltimore or St. Louis. 
Moreover, we pay our police officers handsomely in New York City. It costs taxpayers more than $8.5 billion a year to pay for the NYPD, and between salary, overtime, and the value of their benefits, the average beat cop costs the taxpayers more than $150,000 per year. That is not an argument for paying police officers less, just that we already pay these civil servants a lot more money than most people realize to do a job that is a lot less dangerous than most people imagine.
Baltimore PoliceREUTERS/Jose Luis MaganaU.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, accompanied by Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts, speaks to police officers during a visit to the Central District of Baltimore Police Department in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, May 5, 2015
We should appreciate the value and sacrifice of those who choose to serve and protect. But that appreciation should not constitute a get-out-of-jail-free card for the vast army of 800,000 people granted general arrest powers and increasingly armed with automatic weapons and armored vehicles.  
There are real-world harms that follow from the myths perpetuated by police unions. Arguments about the dangerous nature of police work drive the increasing militarization of police departments. The life-and-death nature of the job is used to push for extremely generous medical leave, overtime, and pay packages. Most insidious of all, the exaggerated danger and trumped-up heroism drives an us-versus-them mentality that suffuses contemporary big-city policing and bleeds into the criminal justice system, causing systemic imbalances that chronically favor the police over citizens.
original article on Slate

May 19, 2015

Pres. Obama to Restrict Police Military Toy Equipment


                                                                           

President Barack Obama plans to put in place new restrictions on the use of military equipment by police departments, following unrest in U.S. cities over the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers, the White House said on Monday.
Obama will ban police use of equipment such as explosive-resistant vehicles with tracked wheels like those seen on army tanks, the White House said in a fact sheet. For other types of equipment, such as MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles and riot shields, departments will have to provide added justification for their use.
Obama will announce the steps, which are the result of an executive order, during a visit later on Monday to Camden, New Jersey, where he plans to push efforts to encourage trust-building between police and the communities they serve.
The fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in August was followed by a string of highly publicized fatal encounters between police and black men, including Walter Scott who was shot by an officer while fleeing the scene of a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Last month, violent protests erupted in Baltimore after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died after sustaining spinal injuries while in police custody.
Protesters in Ferguson felt the methods use by police to prevent the demonstrations from turning violent were excessive, and the Justice Department has since launched a review of St. Louis County law enforcement's response to the unrest.
The turmoil in Ferguson and Baltimore also highlighted divisions between black and white Americans.
In a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the protests in Baltimore, 69 percent of respondents said America has a serious issue with race. Nearly three-quarters said there is more racism in the United States than the country is willing to admit.
In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, Obama has been speaking out more about race, including in a speech in the Bronx on increasing opportunity for young minority men and during a panel discussion on poverty in Washington.
"Race issues have been more present over the past year for this country. We've seen, since Ferguson, issues that have been bubbling up in communities becoming much more present," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of colorofchange.org, a group that aims to strengthen the black community's political voice in America.
Robinson has met with Obama to discuss the issue.
DIFFICULT BALANCING ACT
Obama's remarks in Camden will be the fourth time in as many weeks that he has held an event to discuss his ideas for improving life for poor black communities.
Obama, the country's first black president, has often been reticent about discussing race issues.
Following the shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin by a volunteer neighborhood watchman in 2012, Obama discussed the issue in personal terms, saying that if he had a son, he would have looked like Martin.
In response to a question in 2009, Obama said he thought police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had acted "stupidly" when they arrested Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard professor who was mistaken for a burglar at his own home.
Obama faced a backlash from law enforcement groups who accused him of commenting before he knew all the details of the case. Obama later said he wished he had chosen his words more carefully and invited the professor and the police officer to the White House for a beer.
Michele Jawando, vice president for legal progress at the left-leaning Washington think tank Center for American Progress, said Obama faces a difficult balancing act on race. 
"For a long time in this country we've had a hard time developing a narrative around poverty, around race, so when there are incidents like this that sit at the apex of both, different people are going to have different reactions to that," Jawando said.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll is measured with a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Caren Bohan and Paul Simao)
 (Reuters) 

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