Amid mounting criticism, Gov. Charlie Baker Tuesday defended a proposal — tucked inside a larger bill to create a state certification system for law enforcement officers — to provide up to $5,000 bonuses for police to take on additional training.
“It’s for people who go above and beyond with respect to what they’re required to do under our proposal,” Baker said during a press conference. “And I don’t expect many to do it, but I think it’s important. If you want people to up their game, if you want people to perform at a higher level, if you want people to do a better job in serving the communities they represent and to be leaders with respect to the way they do that, it’s not unusual to create a modest incentive for them to do that.”
Local activists are, understandably, outraged at this proposal, which is, uhh, quite literally the opposite of the "Defund the Police" cry that many of them have been championing.
Existing anti-bias training programs for police are not particularly known for being effective, although it is certainly a profitable venture — and not just for the officers who take the governor up on that $5000 incentive. I'm also not sure why Baker thinks anyone wouldn't take him up on the offer for an easy $5K. A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post from a self-proclaimed former bastard cop, who had this to say (among other things):
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Let me tell you what probably won’t solve the problem of bastard cops:
Increased “bias” training.
An anonymous writer on Medium — identifying themself only as Officer A. Cab — has written an impassioned but scathing piece about the complicity of modern policing. This writer, claiming to be an ex-cop, shares his own shameful experiences being silenced for speaking against the "bad apple" officers, and eventually just going along with things he knew were inherently problematic. "American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities," he writes, "and if you don’t believe it when the poor and the marginalized say it, if you don’t believe it when you see cops across the country shooting journalists with less-lethal bullets and caustic chemicals, maybe you’ll believe it when you hear it straight from the pig’s mouth."
That's just in the intro. It gets way more in-depth, with numerous moments of quotable perfection (and a particularly disgraceful anecdote about some pay-to-play homeless abuse). I'll leave you with this passage, which has really sat with me:
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Your community was not made safer by police violence; a sick member of your community was killed because it was cheaper than treating them. Are you extremely confident you’ll never get sick one day too?
Wrestle with this for a minute: if all of someone’s material needs were met and all the members of their community were fed, clothed, housed, and dignified, why would they need to join a gang? Why would they need to risk their lives selling drugs or breaking into buildings? If mental healthcare was free and was not stigmatized, how many lives would that save?
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? In 1994, Atari released COPS, a LaserDisc-based videogame based on the now-cancelled "reality" TV series. Above is rare footage of the gameplay.
According to the International Arcade Museum description, "You play a cop who must either shoot armed criminals while protecting the innocent or chase after escaping criminals in your patrol car."
As usual, it would have been more fun to play the bad guys.
Below are shots of a COPS Operator's Manual currently for sale on eBay.
More about COPS and other LaserDisc arcade games at the Dragon's Lair Project.
(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
A police officer in Lancashire, England, was filmed threatening to falsify charges when challenged on why he was detaining a man: "I'll lock you up.... We'll make something up… who are they going to believe, me or you?"
The BBC reports that the Lancashire force will apologize to the man and will investigate the unnamed officer.
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"We are already aware of footage circulating on social media regarding an officer's actions during an incident in Accrington yesterday," it tweeted.
"It is clear from the footage the member of the public deserves an apology, which we will attempt to provide him with today."
According to studies in the early 1990s, up to 40% of police officer families experienced domestic violence, a figure that includes officers themselves. Recent studies focusing on officers' behavior suggest a far higher rate of abuse than the general population, exacerbated by underrporting and favorable treatment by colleagues in law enforcement.
Officer Jeffrey Wharton, however, is out of uniform--literally removed from him with scissors. He arrived at work to find there was a felony warrant issued out for his arrest after his girlfriend was hospitalized earlier that day.
When Officer Wharton arrived for his shift at an area substation Rio Rancho Police officers were waiting for him armed with a felony warrant. At one point you'll see they removed his duty belt and searched him. After the search they are seen on lapel video cutting off his fully marked uniform shirt. Wharton was lead out of the substation to a waiting cruiser.
He was booked into the Sandoval County Detention Center on charges of Kidnapping (First Degree) (NO Intent to Commit Sex Offense), Aggravated Battery (great bodily harm) (household member), Aggravated Battery Against a Household Member (Strangulation or Suffocation), Aggravated Battery (great bodily harm) (household member), Tampering with Evidence (Highest Crime a Capital, First or Second Degree and Negligent Use of a Deadly Weapon (Unsafe Handling).
In the video, the deshirting commences 3 minutes in.
Wharton didn't get bailed and awaits his trial in the slammer.
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In this amusing video, a man deliberately attracts the attention of police so that he may ask them the same nosy questions they ask of motorists, etc, in hopes of finding probable cause. Read the rest
Color of Change, a nonprofit founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and dedicated to social justice advocacy, and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center just completed a new study about representation and messaging in police and crime TV shows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results backup the revelations from the Washington Post's 2016 investigative series, "Dragnets, Dirty Harrys, and Dying Hard: 100 years of the police in pop culture" — that police department PR machines have long collaborated with Hollywood executive powers-that-be to utilize TV to influence public perceptions of law enforcement.
The report is based a data crunch of 353 episodes from 26 crime-related scripted television shows that aired in the 2017-2018 season. They analyzed the race and gender breakdowns of the writers, showrunners, and consultants involved in the shows, as well as the on-screen representation of criminal justice, persons of interest, and victims. Overall, the study identified 5,400 variable data points across the shows, focusing on such questions:
Do crime procedurals and other crime-focused series produced in the U.S. accurately depict the reality of the criminal justice system, accurately depict racial disparities (e.g., racially biased treatment by authorities, the disproportionate targeting of people of color communities, disproportionate punishment or other outcomes based on race) and depict reforms and other solutions for correcting racial disparities in the criminal justice system?
If present, do series portray any specific actions or attitudes of criminal justice professionals as directly resulting in those racial disparities? Do they portray any of the routine practices of the criminal justice system as resulting in racial disparities? Read the rest
The best part of this video showing cops tangling with knife-wielding maniacs is it's at least three layers of cultural recapitulation deep: the posed 80s-era "original", the implicitly late-20th-century comic milieux implied by its ironic presentation, the 2000s upload, and its recurring virality in 2020.
Thanks to Everything is Terrible, of course.
Chinese police explain how to deal with a knife-wielding attacker
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Granted anonymity somewhere along the line from shutter to public exposure, cadets in the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation's basic training program offer the camera a Nazi salute in a photo that emerged earlier this month. Two academy trainers and one cadet have already lost their jobs; the state's governer says he wants the whole class fired. [ht Thom]
A third staff member who failed to report the contents of the photograph will also be fired, bringing the total number of staff terminations to three. Additionally, four academy instructors who are known to have seen the picture and failed to report it will also be suspended without pay.
In the image, nearly all members of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Basic Training Class #18 — 31 cadets — are giving what appears to be a Nazi salute. The others are posing with a clenched fist in the air.
I count five closed fists among the Nazi saluters. Read the rest
An anonymous police officer in Herington, Kansas, claimed he was given a coffee cup with "fucking pigs" written on it by staff at McDonalds. The story went viral, uncritically laundered by local media and spread by outraged conservatives on the internet. But it turned out he was lying. McDonalds had the receipts—video surveillance of the purchase—and forced the Herington P.D. to admit that it didn't happen. The cop "is no longer employed" by Herington Police Department, says Chief Brian Hornaday
"In (our) investigation we have found that McDonald's and its employees did not have anything whatsoever to do with this incident, this was completely and solely fabricated by a Herington police officer who is no longer employed with our agency," Herington Police Department Chief Brian Hornaday said in a news conference Monday.
The incident, the chief said, has been an "obvious violation of ... public trust."
"Our job is solely to do this job with the utmost integrity because if you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he said.
It was Hornaday himself who first posted the photos to social media, which is why we don't know the name of the cop, because he is refusing to tell anyone. "If you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he adds. Read the rest
Starbucks has apologized after two Riverside County sheriff's deputies reported that baristas ignored them when they waited to place an order. This comes just a couple weeks after an Oklahoma Starbucks employee was fired for printing the word "PIG" on a police officer's hot chocolate order label (above). And back in July, a Starbucks barista in Tempe, Arizona requested that six cops leave the store because their presence made a customer "not feel safe." From CNN:
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(Of the Riverside County incident,) Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told CNN the deputies were ignored for nearly five minutes -- and there's no excuse for that.
"We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them. We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe," Borges said.
The deputies were "laughed at" and "completely ignored," (Riverside County Sheriff Chad) Bianco said in a video. "They tried to get served, they asked if anyone was going to help them," he said.
Eventually, they left, Bianco said.
The Miami Herald reports that a high-ranking officer in the Monroe County Sheriff's department instructed another officer to act like a "white supremacist" and a "Neo-Nazi cop" when detaining a black suspect. The officer, named as Capt. Penny Phelps, was recorded and "relieved of her command."
Phelps was removed from her post as head of the major crimes and narcotics units on Wednesday, according to paperwork released to the Miami Herald Saturday. Ramsay said it is too early in the investigation to comment on whether Phelps could lose her job.
“We have to have all the facts first,” he said Saturday, adding Phelps has been with the sheriff’s office about 18 years and makes about $110,000 a year.
Reached by phone Saturday, Phelps said policy prohibits her from talking about the case.
The Herald has the tapes.
Photo: Monroe County Sheriff Read the rest
Finally, a police union has identified a form of misconduct it will not defend: necrophilia.
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“The final resting spot of the once glorious glazed donuts.” Read the rest
Bodycam footage involving cops and dogs is rarely pleasant viewing, but this one--featuring an officer rescuing a dog snarled in a wire fence--has a great twist ending. I shalln't ruin it for you. Read the rest
Cops in Warrnambool, Australia, broke Chris Karadaglis' neck when they arrested him. But The Age reports this as "man's neck breaks during arrest" because they're afraid of identifying the breakers, even in an article that's supposedly about their failings.
Barrett told The Age that while he can’t talk about the specifics of the ongoing investigation into Chris’s arrest, he immediately concedes what in the past may have been shrouded in police speak: no innocent Victorian should be so seriously injured after an interaction with police.
Barrett describes Chris’s interaction with the three uniformed officers as a ‘‘life-changing experience, devastating for the family of that individual.’’
"Precisely what police did to cause his injury that November day two years ago has been blurred in a sea of pain and terror," write Nick McKenzie and Grace Tobin, whose story remedies this lack of clarity by suggesting Karadaglis' neck broke itself.
It's interesting they mention "police speak" because that's what the headline is. I covered cops for a while as a young reporter and this is the language of arrest and incident reports. Cops are trained not to describe themselves in the active voice, which makes them appear responsible for their actions. Instead they are mere observers, there when things did happen. The gun did fire. The bullet did enter the suspect's body. The suspect did die at that time.
This example is particularly grim because The Age's story is supposed to be a heartfelt investigation into the victim's plight and police misconduct—one subverted from the outset with that mangled, servile headline. Read the rest