Police

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Re: Police

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:13 pm

Jordan wrote:Out of curiosity, WWD, do you think there is a correlation between the budget allotted to the police department and the competency of officers? Do you think that if police had better salaries they would act more professional or do you think these two things aren't heavily related?


Up to a point, absolutely it matters. Policemen and -women need to be well-paid enough to make ends meet and lead lives comfortable enough to be commensurate with the amount and degree of danger and psychological strain they are expected to face each day. I'd make the same case for firemen or front-line infantry.

And I think you can make the case that some cops are crooked because they aren't paid well enough. Certainly that's a likelihood with the chengguan you see in China.

Shikanosuke wrote:On this we're in agreement. And if I thought that had sincerely been the thrust of DGL's post her and I would have been agreement as well. I certainly think we've got issues with some of the tactics and ethics of our police force which need addressing at a local and national level.

To this point if I came off as arguing that the stories here were solely done by 'a few bad apples' and were not part a larger problem which would need to be addressed then that is my error in presentation. I don't believe that, and likely came off that way as DGL was arguing the polar opposite (which you outlined and don't agree with either).


Ah, okay. Looks like I misread you - that's a 'my bad'! Yeah, I was just trying to stake out that middle ground, but it looks now like you beat me to it. :lol:

Dong Zhou wrote:That if they man a march, words police brutality will be used. I can see where the highly damaging us vs the world, which helps foster problems, comes from. Of course they also get the benefit of the other extreme: they are untouchable. The establishment may patronize them a bit but a considerable portion of a country's media will back our boys in blue, governments will want to be seen to be on the police side and rely on them, a policeman is always going to win in a "he said, she said". This creates an arrogance, a sense of being untouchable, they have protection.


Yeah, that's kind of a problem here too. The Cecily McMillan case here showcased that latter side - the policeman grabbed her breast and she reacted in self-defence, but the jury still convicted her of battery on the policeman. The actual incident itself is the policeman's fault, but I don't think the result was in any way blamable on the NYPD. Rather there is this 'halo effect' which comes with the badge...
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Re: Police

Unread postby James » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:47 pm

Discussion of the Michael Brown shooting has been moved to a new topic:
Michael Brown Shooting (Ferguson, MO)
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Re: Police

Unread postby bodidley » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:34 pm

Laws giving extra penalties for assaulting an officer and extra protections to police officers are unconstitutional. The 14th amendment gives everyone the right to equal protection under the law. If one person has special privileges, clearly their protection cannot be equal. But that gets to the root of the use of police forces. The theory most people are taught why the police exist is that they are supposed to protect of the innocent, but in practice they cannot protect the innocent but only pursue the guilty. So what do they occupy their time with? In most jurisdictions, the police are used to protect privilege.
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Re: Police

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:16 pm

bodidley wrote:Laws giving extra penalties for assaulting an officer and extra protections to police officers are unconstitutional. The 14th amendment gives everyone the right to equal protection under the law. If one person has special privileges, clearly their protection cannot be equal


You're going to need more analysis than this. The law making assault on an officer a crime (likely akin to aggravated assault) exists because by assaulting an officer of the peace you're essentially assaulting the government and something trying to execute his/her duties. For instance, were that same police officer on the street in street clothes and off-duty and he was assaulted, it would be merely assault. No special treatment. But when in the line of executing their duties, they are essentials agents and appendages of the government.

We can hoot and holler all day about it, but you're going to need more than your analysis to make something fairly academic like this unconstitutional.


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But that gets to the root of the use of police forces. The theory most people are taught why the police exist is that they are supposed to protect of the innocent, but in practice they cannot protect the innocent but only pursue the guilty. So what do they occupy their time with? In most jurisdictions, the police are used to protect privilege.


Yea, I don't think thats true. The police often serve (or protect) not by pursuing anyone at all, but by merely patrolling and serving as a visual representation of law and order. This visual deterrence is often one of the biggest protections the citizenry has against 'the guilty'. I don't believe that is even a theoretical principle, but something they put into practice.
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Re: Police

Unread postby bodidley » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:47 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:by assaulting an officer of the peace you're essentially assaulting the government and something trying to execute his/her duties.


Meaning you view the law as a sort of small charge of treason. However the law is designed to protect the person of the officer; there are many other charges like resisting arrest that apply to the officer's duties. Theoretically, people still have the right to self-defense if being wrongly or viciously assaulted by an officer carrying out their duties, however the extra charge makes it difficult for people to expect justice. If you give somebody a ten year sentence for fighting a government employee, while a government employee might get an administrative reprimand for savagely beating someone, it's a serious cause for lack of faith in the system. I would argue that "equal protection under the law" applies to such privileges and protections, meaning that no one, even a government employee, especially a government employee, should have more rights than anyone else. Granting officers special privileges also engenders the attitude that they are above the law, and I believe that attitude is the number one cause for police abuses, followed by poor training.

The issue is that if you want to end police abuses the police need to realize that they are servant and not master. But it's not strange when think that Aristotle said more than two thousand years ago that when you give one class of people weapons and bar the other from having them that the unarmed class will inevitably become slaves. Issuing fewer firearms to U.S. cops might be a good step towards building trust between the police and communities.
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Re: Police

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:58 pm

bodidley wrote:Meaning you view the law as a sort of small charge of treason.


It doesn't really matter how I view the law, the law is what the law is to allow a officer to execute his duties.

However the law is designed to protect the person of the officer; there are many other charges like resisting arrest that apply to the officer's duties.


These do exist, I'm not sure how they're relevant. Just because an officer can charge you with resisting arrest doesn't mean you also haven't assaulted him.

Theoretically, people still have the right to self-defense if being wrongly or viciously assaulted by an officer carrying out their duties, however the extra charge makes it difficult for people to expect justice.


It isn't theoretical at all. People do have the right to self-defense against any individual. This isn't unheard of. Furthermore, the 'extra charge' (which isn't an extra charge, it is a single charge distinct from assault) is not what makes it difficult for people to expect justice. As discussed above by the rest of us, what makes it hard to expect justice is a system which is geared toward favoring a police officer's account of a story and providing a wide array of discretion.

If you give somebody a ten year sentence for fighting a government employee, while a government employee might get an administrative reprimand for savagely beating someone, it's a serious cause for lack of faith in the system.


Here you're not arguing the offense itself is the problem, but the applicable punishments. Lets also be specific, it isn't any government employee. It is a officer. Also we all here agree that the follow ups against police officers are properly handled. However, this lack of faith that is bestows has nothing to do with a separate charge existing for assaulting an officer, but with the adjudication of justice.


I would argue that "equal protection under the law" applies to such privileges and protections, meaning that no one, even a government employee, especially a government employee, should have more rights than anyone else.


You can argue whatever you like about the EPL clause, but it isn't applicable here. Police officers, as individual citizens, do not have any 'more rights' than anyone else. However, their job entitles them (in their official capacity only) to certain protections that are offered in exchange for executing lawful but dangerous duties.

Granting officers special privileges also engenders the attitude that they are above the law, and I believe that attitude is the number one cause for police abuses, followed by poor training.


Well, I'm not one to argue that there isn't a cultural problem with police right now. But officers are, by nature of their occupation and duties, always going to have extra privileges (be it carrying certain firearms in certain places, exceeding speed limits, etc).

The issue is that if you want to end police abuses the police need to realize that they are servant and not master. But it's not strange when think that Aristotle said more than two thousand years ago that when you give one class of people weapons and bar the other from having them that the unarmed class will inevitably become slaves. Issuing fewer firearms to U.S. cops might be a good step towards building trust between the police and communities.



I won't bother addressing most of this. But I don't think we disagree that there's a problem with police tactics,ethics, and culture the current moment. However, its a systemic problem and if you are seeking to hang the crux of the issue on extra protections being offered to peace officers than you're missing the larger picture.
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Re: Police

Unread postby bodidley » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:16 pm

I am not hanging the entire issue of police abuse on this one facet, so I don't know where you got that from.

However, I think that the disparity in charges is absurd and that the letter of the law (the Constitution) is clear, that the charge itself is absurd and so is the privilege it entails. If the law is inadequate for anyone (and I think it is not) then change the law, but just because someone is a police officer does not mean that they need extra protection. Rather, I would say that the duties of a police officer would demand more responsibility, more accountability and more capability. If you can't handle yourself in a physical confrontation you've got no business carrying a badge around.

Furthermore, I think that the main issue is that the public's understanding of the role of the police and therefore the attitude people bring with them when they become police officers, is informed by Hollywood and frankly stupid.
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Re: Police

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:00 pm

bodidley wrote:I am not hanging the entire issue of police abuse on this one facet, so I don't know where you got that from.


My apologies from stawmanning you then. You came out swinging with, to me, an absurd claim about the constitutionality of a rather simple law and used it to spring board you onto the police culture.

However, I think that the disparity in charges is absurd and that the letter of the law (the Constitution) is clear, that the charge itself is absurd and so is the privilege it entails.


Well, answering this requires some caution I think. You thew out some likely arbitrary numbers. So yes, if that was the actual situation, I'd be alarmed too. However, it isn't likely. Furthermore, the whole point is that there is supposed to be some disparity in the charges. The protection that the law offers the officer is predicated upon its effect of being a deterrent when civilians consider attacking officers attempting to execute their lawful duties.

As for constitutional concerns, you continue to repeat this but there's no real analysis involved in your claim whatsoever. I'll take it you're a literalist of some kind, but rest assured that this isn't a place where you need to put such things to practice. The police officers, as citizens not their occupations, enjoy the same rights and only the same rights as civilians under the EPC.

If the law is inadequate for anyone (and I think it is not) then change the law, but just because someone is a police officer does not mean that they need extra protection.


Officers are charged by the government to execute their duty. This duty is often dangerous, and fraught with a multitude of physical and mental dangers. Furthermore, the government has a compelling interest in it's agents (here the officers) being able to efficiently carry out their duties. Offering disincentives for civilians to attack agents of the government obviously aids in this, as well as protecting those citizens who have chosen to undertake this task.

Rather, I would say that the duties of a police officer would demand more responsibility, more accountability and more capability. If you can't handle yourself in a physical confrontation you've got no business carrying a badge around.


Well, in some ways we agree (depending on your meaning). I too actually believe officers should be able to competnently execute their duties and because of their training and the trust (read extra protections) afforded them they should be held to a higher standard of accountability. However, the latter part I'm a little confused upon your meaning. Handle themselves? I don't care if the officer is a 250 lb man or a 90 lb woman, the "extra protection" serves the same purpose for them and for the government.

Furthermore, I think that the main issue is that the public's understanding of the role of the police and therefore the attitude people bring with them when they become police officers, is informed by Hollywood and frankly stupid.


Well again, I think in large part we're in agreement. There's a cultural problem within the police I believe, and part of has to do with not being prosecuted for misconduct.
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Re: Police

Unread postby bodidley » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:40 pm

The numbers aren't arbitrary. In New York assaulting a police officer is a Class C felony with a charge of up to ten years incarceration. Assaulting a child under eleven years old, on the other hand, is a Class E felony, which carries a sentence of 2-5 years, depending upon the circumstances.

With regards to the "protection" the law provides, I think its neither accurate to say that laws act as a deterrent or that they should. At the same time, I think that if the law were a deterrent, a person should be equally deterred by the law from attacking an unarmed neighbor as they would be from attacking a couple armed police officers rolling by in a squad car. Also, the danger of being murdered as a police officer is highly exaggerated. A police officer has about a 15/100 of 1% chance of being murdered in the line of duty, vs. 1/10 of 1% chance of being murdered for the general population, not even considering the chance of being burglarized, mugged, raped etc. What's more, as a volunteer, if the officer is not willing to accept that increased risk, then I think they're psychologically unfit for duty. In most of the cases in which police officers go trigger happy it's not because they are psycho murderers but because they panic out of fear.
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Re: Police

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:49 pm

bodidley wrote:The numbers aren't arbitrary. In New York assaulting a police officer is a Class C felony with a charge of up to ten years incarceration. Assaulting a child under eleven years old, on the other hand, is a Class E felony, which carries a sentence of 2-5 years, depending upon the circumstances.


'up to' means a sentencing judge has discretion. It doesn't mean that disparity will be applied.

With regards to the "protection" the law provides, I think its neither accurate to say that laws act as a deterrent or that they should.


Think as you wish, they exist as both.

At the same time, I think that if the law were a deterrent, a person should be equally deterred by the law from attacking an unarmed neighbor as they would be from attacking a couple armed police officers rolling by in a squad car.


Well, then that person would be an idiot both legally and logistically. The law would make them realize assaulting an unarmed neighbor would result in X circumstance, and assaulting the occupation of officer will result in Y. Thinking otherwise makes no sense.

Also, the danger of being murdered a police officer is highly exaggerated. A police officer has about a 15/100 of 1% chance of being murdered in the line of duty, vs. 1/10 of 1% chance of being murdered for a regular person, not even considering the chance of being burglarized, mugged, raped etc.


If you want to drop numbers, drop sources too please. Furthermore, death is death. It doesn't really matter what the odds are if you're the one being aimed at and it doesn't matter what the odds are from the government's objective of having agents able to efficiently accomplish their tasks.

What's more, as a volunteer, if the officer is not willing to accept that increased risk, then I think they're psychologically unfit for duty. In most of the cases in which police officers go trigger happy it's not because they are psycho murderers but because they panic out of fear.


I'd wager then the majority of police officers, being human, are likely psychologically unfit against your rigid logic. As I've noted, the government has a two fold interest in giving the officers this protection even if the officer themselves don't want it or are, as you phrase it, psychologically fit to handle it.
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