Tag Archives: police

Highway Robbery

Police-might-shoot-you-during-a-traffic-stopThe last word on civil asset forfeiture is the Post’s four part report, starting here. Be sure to read all four parts. This guy will be getting a Pulitzer. It is six parts, if you count the two follow up stories. If you don’t have time to read it all, a short video is here.

There is not, as you may have heard, an official warning for Canadian tourists, although there was this scathing editorial on CBC news. Since CBC is government funded, you could argue that it’s official. Canadian journos are so erudite. They call the program “Kafkaesque.”

There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments … totaling more than $2.5 billion

And indeed it is. If you refuse a friendly request to search your car, then you’re “suspicious.” In any case, your car gets searched. The police then help themselves to your cash and anything else that seems valuable – er, suspicious. You need never be charged with a crime. The cops just take your stuff. Here are highlights from CBC:

  • The businessman from Georgia who was relieved of $75,000 he’d raised from relatives to buy a restaurant in Louisiana.
  • The church leaders who were carrying nearly $30,000 from their Baltimore parishioners to carry out church activities in North Carolina and El Salvador.
  • The young college grad with no criminal record on his way to a job interview out West who was relieved of $2,500 lent to him by his dad for the trip.

As the editorial says, you might expect this from dirty cops in, say, Tijuana – but America? There is, unbelievably, a legal framework for this, plus training programs and online forums. “Equitable sharing” means the seizures are deemed federal – harder to sue than the local sheriff – and they split the money.

It’s easy to see why the DOJ and local police like the program. Budgets are strained to pay salary, benefits, and retirement for public sector employees. See Detroit, Stockton, Rhode Island, and San Bernardino, to name a few. You can expect this budget challenge to gather pace across the country. Some places have cut police services, like responding to 911 calls.

Civil asset forfeiture allows the police to fund themselves, by robbing passing motorists. Some police forces even plan such takings in their annual budget. Instead of facing up to the budget challenges, we simply empower the police to “live off the land,” or as Deputy Ron Hain put it, “turning our police forces into present day Robin Hoods.”

Turning our police forces into present day Robin Hoods

We have been following Barton Hinkle and Radley Balko on police militarization. Hinkle compares the police to a conquering army, and this completes the paradigm. Sun Tzu (and other generals) said that the army should be able to support itself by pillaging the conquered territory.

See also: The Praetorian Guard

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The Praetorian Guard

In the latter days of empire, Rome was occupied by her legions, no different from the provinces.  Here, we posted Barton Hinkle’s observation that America’s police are now militarized, “like a conquering army.”

We have seen how this looks in Turkey and in Iran.  The illiterate baseej don’t mind beating an educated woman for showing too much ankle.  Plus, there is the occasional looting and other perks.

In other cities there’s cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for controversy in Austin  – Police Chief Art Acevedo

We were reminded of the cultural aspect, by this YouTube video of young Amanda Jo Stephen being taken down by the police in Austin.  It looks a lot like that photo from Turkey, doesn’t it?

woman-arrested-on-street-615x345Coarse as it is, Chief Acevedo has a point.  Elsewhere in America, the police rape, rob, and murder with impunity.  We have stopped counting the incidents.  Reason has a good list, and Radley Balko is here.  Jeremiah would prefer not to see parallels between America and these other police states, past or present, falling or fallen.

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Iraqi Police Hero

Here is a touching story you might have missed in the mainstream media.  Iraqi policeman Ayyub Khalaf shielded bystanders by tackling a suicide bomber.  Khalaf, 34, leaves a widow and two young children.  God bless him.

GoodGuyHasM16The bomber’s target was Shia pilgrims making their way to Karbala for a religious observance.  To an outsider, this inter Islam violence is just incomprehensible, like Catholics killing Protestants – not that any kind of terrorism makes sense.

Such terrorist acts are particularly despicable and unjustifiable, all the more so since practising religious duties is revered in all various faiths. – UN Statement

Public reaction shows that ordinary Iraqis are sick of al-Qaeda fighting its war in their country.  They’re calling Khalaf a martyr.  Attention jihadis – a real martyr is someone who dies protecting the helpless.  The other lot are just murderers.

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Because They Can

PoliceWhat is going on with the police in America?  You know the stories.  Police beat a man to death, and then confiscate everyone’s phone.  Police Taser a man to death, invade someone’s home, and shoot a dog.

In Jeremiah’s day, the police did not look like this, and they did not behave like this.

Three officers used their Taser weapons on Kephart “without provocation or justification” for about 10 minutes, expending five cartridges.  He was overheard screaming for help, and then stopped breathing.

In the Sixties, we lived through police brutality.  Back then, we had mass protests, and we put a stop to it.  Today, the police are much scarier, and nobody is doing anything.   Jeremiah sees three trends:

  • Militarization – This has been well documented elsewhere.  To some extent, the police have had to adopt military tactics because they face threats like terrorists and drug gangs.  This promotes a siege mentality.  As Hinkle puts it, the police think they’re an occupying army.
  • Dissociation – The police don’t identify with the people they are supposed to protect.  We saw plenty of this in the Sixties.  We see it here in Turkey, and we are seeing it again today.  Dissociation is a key element in homicidal psychosis.
  •  Impunity – The police literally get away with murder.  For some reason, we have not seen mass protests, criminal charges, and civil actions. Maybe it’s apathy.  Maybe it’s the “terrorism” scam.  This trend is a real mystery.

Lord Acton said that “power corrupts.”  The way it corrupts a group is that the bad ones drive out the good.  Imagine if you were on the force with these guys.  Would you want to be in the same locker room?  The next lane at the gun range?  The good cops, who want to “protect and serve,” will transfer, quit, or retire.  The thug types are taking over.

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Derrion Albert Remembered

Last month, America mourned the murder of a promising young black man in Chicago.  This reminded Jeremiah of a similar incident in Newark, and community policing efforts there.  This week, the Economist features a brilliant survey of community policing – required reading for leaders in these troubled cities.

Lest we think only honor students are in danger, the Chicago police are asking for help with crimes against the following young people:  Martell Barrett, DeQuarrius Cannon, Gamaliel Toscano, Percy Lavelle Day, Derrion Albert, Corey McClaurin, Luis Hernandez, Derrick Harris, Ebraham Tabani, Shawn Wilson, Ramone Morris, Damier Love, Juan Cazares, Gregory Robinson, Raheem Washington, John Edwards, Kendrick Pitts, Racheal Beauchamp, Johnel Ford, Mya Lyons, Brian Murdock, Quentin Buckner, Esteban Martinez, Jose Guiza, and Dushawn Johnson.

We need your help! Get involved! Go to your Beat Meeting and form a Block Club!

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.  If you live in Chicago, click here to join CAPS.

See also: Mark Kleiman’s book

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