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Conservatives Need to Put Aside Kneejerk Police Support

Conservatives Need to Put Aside Kneejerk Police Support →

Steven Greenhut, as seen on Reason.com. I endorse this view.

When it comes to problems in the public schools, my conservative friends are right on target with their critique. These schools often do a poor or mediocre job performing an important function. That's because they lack competition and are funded by political priorities rather than customers. Teachers' unions have undue sway over the entire process. They make it nearly impossible to fire even grossly incompetent teachers and that small percentage harms many students. Those same unions drive up unsustainable benefit costs.

Like everyone else, conservatives appreciate teachers—but they realize that the current taxpayer-funded system needs many reforms and more competition. There's nothing wrong with pointing this out, which is a reality in any government-funded, union-controlled monopoly anywhere in the world.

Yet when it comes to another type of taxpayer-funded, union-controlled monopoly, conservatives lose their sense of perspective. I'm referring, of course, to local and state police agencies. The same dynamic described above works there, too. Police agencies are bureaucratic. Unions protect the bad apples and make it nearly impossible to fire anyone—even officers caught on video misbehaving or being abusive to the public. The agencies hand out unsustainable benefits and have some bizarre spending priorities (tank-like vehicles, etc.). They are secretive and insular. They use asset forfeiture to grab the property of people never convicted or even accused of a crime.

Forget Justice: Cops Just Want Money

Forget Justice: Cops Just Want Money →

California recently tried to reform its civil asset forfeiture laws, something supported by over three-quarters of all Californians. The bill was watered down to nothing and then killed off entirely, after intense lobbying by the police unions and police leadership.

In other words, state and federal law-enforcement officials stopped this state bill that would protect people from oftentimes unfair takings of their property because they depend on the money and it's too much of a hassle for police to make sure a targeted person has been convicted of a crime.

And this is the reason I don't respect the police. I'm not impressed that you "put your life on the line", if you also think that there's nothing wrong with seizing someone's property without ever convicting them of a crime.

This entry was tagged. Corruption Police

The Perils of Police Cameras

The Perils of Police Cameras →

The BloombergView editorial staff:

First, the potential for cameras to impartially resolve disputes shouldn't be oversold. Videos often lack critical context, and studies have repeatedly shown that jurors can be misled by variables such as a film's angle or focus, which can unduly sway perceptions of guilt. That cuts both ways: Footage of a protester bumping into a cop, devoid of context, could make life much easier on a prosecutor.

Finally, equipping police with cameras and audio recorders means that they're constantly conducting surveillance on innocent civilians -- and potentially storing it all. Police frequently enter private homes and encounter people in medical emergencies who may not want to be filmed. Some officers may be tempted to record people on the basis of race or religion. And some departments have asserted that the public has no right to see such footage.

In short, a policy intended to empower the public and monitor the police could have precisely the opposite effect.

It's thought provoking. It reminds me that, once again, there are no easy fixes for life's problems. The 24-hour surveillance angle is the most interesting. What if it's combined with FOIA requests? Allow it, and you could request footage of any encounter, both to look at a troubling incident and to snoop on other citizens. Deny it and police and prosecutors get something to hide behind.

Dear Media: How Not to Screw Up the Next Ferguson

Dear Media: How Not to Screw Up the Next Ferguson →

Robert Tracinski writes,

The early reports were very clear that Michael Brown was a good, kind-hearted young man bound for college, that the shooting was totally unprovoked, that he was shot multiple times in the back, that he was executed in cold blood. Then the evidence, as it emerged, knocked down each of these claims one by one.

Cases involving the use of force tend to be messy, and getting at the facts is difficult. It requires a lot of sorting of competing claims, cross-examination and confrontation of witnesses, and a thorough review of the physical evidence, which often refutes the eyewitness testimony.

Here are his rules of thumb for future cases:

  1. It’s not a story until there are facts (and claims aren’t facts).
  2. Forensics is a science.
  3. People are individuals, not symbols.
  4. Legal procedures and privileges exist for a reason.
  5. You are not the story.

I'm especially fond of #3 and #4.

Sorry, But the Grand Jury Got It Right With Darren Wilson

Sorry, But the Grand Jury Got It Right With Darren Wilson →

David Harsanyi writes at Reason,

Even if many of your grievances are legitimate, "justice" doesn't exist to soothe your anger. In the end, there wasn't probable cause to file charges against Wilson. And after all the intense coverage and buildup, the predictable happened. Even taking a cursory look at the evidence the grand jury saw and heard, the details of Brown's death were far more complex than what we heard when the incident first broke. Lawyers will, no doubt, analyze every morsel of evidence in the coming days. But if Wilson's testimony is corroborated by forensic evidence—and much of it seems to be—it seems unlikely that any jury would be able to convict him.

That doesn't mean that many of black America's concerns about these kinds of incidents aren't genuine. It doesn't mean that police departments like the one in Ferguson aren't a major problem. It only means that this incident should be judged on the evidence, not the politics or the past or what goes on elsewhere.

No person should be shot by authorities for stealing some cigarillos. Too often, cops in this country use excessive force rather than prudently avoid violence. Just the other day, a 12-year-old boy playing with a BB gun was shot dead in Cleveland. We have a need for criminal justice reform and law enforcement reform. After reading through the grand jury testimony in the Wilson case, it's obvious there are far more egregious cases that deserve the attention.

According to Wilson's grand jury testimony, Brown hit Wilson 10 times while he was in his police car. He had punched Wilson twice in the face and was coming for more. Wilson asked Brown to get down. Witnesses saw Brown charge the police officer. Brown also reached for the cop's gun.

In this case, a number of witnesses paraded out by the media had never actually seen Brown's death and simply repeated what they had heard elsewhere—namely, that Brown was shot in cold blood from afar. Those stories became part of a narrative—repeated even after the report was released—that is almost certainly believed by many of those protesting in Ferguson and elsewhere in the country.

I'm all for pursuing justice in cases of police brutality. But I don't support railroading someone for the sake of "justice". True justice means punishing the guilty, not punishing the innocent so that we can feel like something is being done.

Ferguson

I find the entire situation in Ferguson to be infuriating and frustrating. I'm furious that a police officer got into an altercation with a young, black man and shot and killed him. I'm furious that the police department's first response was to suit up and bring out the tactical military gear. I'm furious that MRAV's, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers are considered appropriate tools for America's civilian police force.

I was frustrated that it took 3 nights of standoffs, tear gas, and rubber bullets before Missouri governor Jay Nixon decided that something was wrong and relieved the police of responsibility for Ferguson. I was elated when the Missouri State Highway Patrol was given responsibility and responded by leading protestors through town, listening to protestors, and being photographed hugging protestors instead of pointing guns at them.

I was confused when I heard that protestors, on the very first night, had reacted to the shooting by looting and trashing a local convenience store. Looting, in general, confuses me. Who does that? Who responds to a tragedy by saying, "Screw it. I'm mad and I'm going to respond by beating up this other innocent bystander."

Make no mistake, that's what looting and vandalism is. It's violence against the innocent and the uninvolved. Most stores that are looted are owned by local community members. They're staffed by local community members. They provide goods, services, jobs, and incomes to local community members. By destroying them, you're destroying local incomes, services, jobs, and wealth. You're depriving the owner of a livelihood. You're depriving the workers of an income. You're depriving the people who live and work near that store of the services that that store provided.

I've heard that protestors are claiming that they looted because that was the only way to draw attention to their cause. That's stupid. Protest marches, sit-ins, and rallies draw attention to your cause. Practicing non-violent resistance draws attention to your cause and generates sympathy from those watching. Looting and vandalism is a senseless act of violence and rage directed against those unfortunate enough to be located too close to the scene of tragedy. It's violence for violence's sake, responding to injustice by multiplying injustice.

So I was frustrated and angry when I heard that the night of calm in Ferguson was followed up with a night of renewed fighting and renewed vandalism. I was angry when I heard that the police stood back and allowed the looting to happen, forcing store owners to defend their own businesses. First the police over responded by armoring up and acting worse than most occupying forces. Then they under responded by allowing thugs to destroy community businesses. I'm angry because they don't understand—and can't perform—their own jobs.

I want justice in Ferguson. I want the police officer responsible for the shooting to be arrested and tried for murder, treated the same as any other civilian assailant. If a jury determines that his actions were justified, he can walk free and resume his job, the same as everyone else. If the jury determines otherwise, he can suffer the penalty, the same as everyone else.

And I want the looters to be arrested, charged, and tried as well. Their actions are neither necessary nor useful. They're criminal and should be treated as such.

One final note. I've seen people on Twitter questioning why second amendment anti-tyranny gun nuts haven't had anything to say about Ferguson. As one such nut, here's my response.

The citizenry of Ferguson absolutely have a right to own weaponry sufficient to defend themselves from criminals, whether vandals or an overreaching police force. The police force certainly seems to have given sufficient provocation for these Americans to justify an armed response. It was just such provocations, in Boston, that ultimately led to the War for Independence.

That doesn't mean that now is the right time for an armed response or that an armed response is the wisest course of action, at this time. I won't absolutely advise against it, and I won't absolutely advise it. I'm not on the ground in Ferguson, I don't know all of the facts, and I don't have the knowledge to speak wisely about the situation.

But the citizens of Ferguson, as citizens of the United States, have the right to assemble, to speak, and to petition for redress of grievances by any means necessary, either First or Second Amendment. But they don't have the right to claim that violence against local property owners is one such means of redress. That's why I'm increasingly angered with, and frustrated by, both sides of this standoff.

Peru cop who Tased Alzheimer's patient won't get his job back

This closes the loop on a story that I first noted back in July 2012.

According to police reports, Officers Gregory Martin and Jeremy Brindle entered Howard’s room in the locked-down Alzheimer’s unit and told him to enter the ambulance.

When Howard did not respond to commands, Martin unholstered his Taser and told him he would be Tased if he didn’t comply.

Brindle attempted to gain control of Howard’s arms to restrain him, and a struggle ensued. When Howard turned towards Brindle, Martin then Tased him, which caused Howard to drop to the floor.

Howard was then Tased by Martin two more times while on the ground after ordering him multiple times to roll onto his stomach. Police said Howard resisted constraint and attempted to fight them while on the floor.

Brindle then handcuffed Howard, which left a large, bloody gash on his wrist and escorted him to Duke’s Memorial Hospital. Officers said he was combative in the ambulance until his wife arrived at the hospital and calmed him down.

Howard’s wife, Virginia, ... said her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 13 years ago and doesn’t understand the simplest directions or commands like “sit down or pick up a book.”

In August 2012, the Peru, IN police department fired Gregory Martin. Martin immediately appealed his firing and the case went to court. On September 5 2013---more than a year later---the appeals court denied Martin's appeal. It's now official that Martin won't be going back to the Peru, IN police force.

I'm glad this case is finally over and that justice ultimately was served. But this case illustrates why I believe that police unions are a bad idea. In a normal business, you could fire an employee for this kind of overreaction and walk away, confident that the firing would stick. The city of Peru fired Martin and then had to fight multiple battles to ensure that the firing would stick.

This kind of long drawn process gives too much power to the police department, to our civil "servants". It mights it too costly to get rid of bad actors and makes it more likely that the bad actors stick around, causing more problems down the road.

Union defenders claim that the government unions are necessary, to protect employees against abusive employers and managers. But the city of Peru is ultimately responsible to its citizens. Police who think they are wrongly treated can make their case at the ballot box. They shouldn't be able to use the coercive power of unionization to dictate terms to the citizens who ultimately pay their salaries and employ them.

Jury convicts Minneapolis SWAT team leader for knockout punch

Jury convicts Minneapolis SWAT team leader for knockout punch →

Last June, I wrote about an office duty Minneapolis policeman, who'd sucker punched a restaurant patron straight into a coma. Joy Powell recently reported, for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that Sgt. David R. Clifford was convicted for this crime.

Clifford faces a term of seven years under state sentencing guidelines. Two-thirds of that would be served in prison, the rest on supervised release. He was convicted of first- and third-degree assault, both felonies, and fifth-degree misdemeanor assault. Convicted felons are not eligible to hold a Minnesota peace officer license.

“Everyone assumes we’re going to give him a break because he’s a police officer,“ prosecutor Blair Buccicone said. “We treat everyone the same. David Clifford is no different from anybody else.”

This is fantastic news. It's always good to see police held accountable for their crimes. No one should be above the law—especially not the people charged with upholding the laws.

Tsarnaev and Miranda Rights

Tsarnaev and Miranda Rights →

Orin Kerr provides an interesting analysis, at the Volokh Conspiracy:

1) A lot of people assume that the police are required to read a suspect his Miranda rights upon arrest. That is, they assume that one of a person’s rights is the right to be read their rights. It often happens that way on Law & Order, but that’s not what the law actually requires. The police aren’t required to follow Miranda. Miranda is a set of rules the government can chose to follow if they want to admit a person’s statements in a criminal case in court, not a set of rules they have to follow in every case.

There are questions of legality and questions or morality. Based on Kerr's analysis, it looks like it's legal to question Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights. But is it moral? I think it is. I don't see the harm in allowing the police and FBI to interrogate Tsarnaev about this attack, if they aren't planning on using his statements against him.

Indiana May Soon Mandate Police Training on Alzheimer's Disease

I've been following a story from Peru, IN. In June of last year, we learned that a local policeman had tazered a 64-year old man, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. In late August, we learned that the police departmant had fired the man involved.

Former patrolman Gregory Martin is currently appealing his firing. I'm watching that case, for any developments. Meanwhile, the Indiana legislature has gotten involved. Representative Bill Friend (R-Macy) introduced a bill "requiring all law enforcement officers in the state to receive training regarding people with Alzheimer’s disease". That bill passed the Indiana house unanimously.

I think this is probably a good idea. I know I don't know how to handle a violent Alzheimer's patient. I know that tazering someone with mental dementia is a bad idea, but I don't know what the right approach is. The "peace officers" on call should.

Why Firing a Bad Cop Is Damn Near Impossible

Why Firing a Bad Cop Is Damn Near Impossible →

Hey, look! It's yet another area where public sector unions are making the world a worse place. I'm 100% in favor of getting rid of police unions.

All of these Rhode Island cops, and many more like them across the county, were able to keep their jobs and benefits—sometimes only temporarily, but always longer than they should have—thanks to model legislation written and lobbied for by well-funded police unions. That piece of legislation is called the "law enforcement bill of rights," and its sole purpose is to shield cops from the laws they're paid to enforce.

The inspiration for this legislation and its similarly named cousins across the country is the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, introduced in 1971 by New York Rep. Mario Biaggi (D), at the behest of the Police Benevolent Association. Having once been the most decorated police officer in the country, Biaggi didn't need much convincing to put forward the union-friendly bill.

Biaggi pushed for the POBOR until March 1987, when he received two indictments back-to-back. The first was for accepting a paid vacation from Brooklyn Democratic Leader Meade H. Esposito in exchange for using federal funds to bail out a company in Esposito's neighborhood. A second indictment handed down three months later charged Biaggi with extorting $3.6 million in cash and stock options from a small Bronx machine shop called Wedtech. Both charges resulted in convictions and Biaggi's resignation from Congress.

While Biaggi's bill never made it through Congress, police unions didn't wait for city managers or police department higher-ups to write their own. Benevolent associations in Maryland successfully pushed for the passage of a police bill of rights in 1972; Florida, Rhode Island, Virginia, New Mexico, and California followed suit before the 70s were over. The 1980s, 90s, and 2000s saw still more states adopt police bill of rights at the behest of police unions.

Mom sues police over arrest

Mom sues police over arrest →

As if raising kids wasn't hard enough.

A stay-at-home mom from La Porte has filed a lawsuit against the city's police department, an unknown officer and one of her neighbors.

Tammy Cooper said she was wrongly accused of endangering her children and was even forced to spend the night in jail, all because she let her kids play outside.

She said her children, ages 9 and 6, were riding their motorized scooters in the cul-de-sac where they live while she watched from a lawn chair in her front yard just a few feet away.

"I was out there the entire time," Cooper said. "I never left that lawn chair the entire time."

Cooper said a little while later, a La Porte police car pulled up in front of her home.

"I went out there to see what he was here for and he said, 'Ma'am, we're here for you.' I said, 'Oh really? Why?' He proceeded to tell me he had received a call from one of my neighbors that my kids were riding their scooters unsupervised.

Cooper said she was handcuffed, put in the back of a police car and forced to spend the night in jail.

Justice Moves Forward in Peru, IN

Two months ago, I wrote about a police officer who tazed a man with Alzheimer’s. This weekend, I followed-up on the story, to see what’s happened since then. I’m happy to report that the Peru, IN police chief recommended firing Officer Gregory Martin. The Peru Board of Works held a hearing from from July 30-August 10, to review the recommendation. They ultimately upheld the decision and voted to fire Officer Gregory Martin.

I’m happy about this decision but it’s not over yet. Officer Martin is planning to appeal the decision, in a Miami County court.

Off-Duty Executive Officer for the Minneapolis SWAT Team Beats a Man Into a Coma

Off-Duty Executive Officer for the Minneapolis SWAT Team Beats a Man Into a Coma →

Excerpt: Here’s another story where the public’s supposed protector practices assault and battery instead. Clifford claims in the police report that Vander Lee was using offensive language, but according to the criminal complaint, no one else in the restaurant heard it. No one claims Vander Lee struck Clifford first, though Clifford apparently claimed [...]

Here's another story where the public's supposed protector practices assault and battery instead.

Clifford claims in the police report that Vander Lee was using offensive language, but according to the criminal complaint, no one else in the restaurant heard it. No one claims Vander Lee struck Clifford first, though Clifford apparently claimed he feared Vander Lee was about to. After striking Vander Lee, Clifford then fled on foot to a nearby parking lot as Vander Lee’s brother and friend chased him. His wife then swung by in her car to pick him up, and the two of them fled. He turned himself in the next day.

The Minneapolis Police Department initially went into defensive mode, noting that Clifford had received two medals of valor and “no sustained allegations on his disciplinary record.” A couple things, there. First, let’s keep in mind that this is the same Minneapolis Police Department that gave its SWAT team “medals of valor” for raiding the wrong house, resulting in a shootout with an innocent Hmong man. His wife and six children were in the house, which the police filled with at least 22 rounds. As for Clifford’s alleged clean record, the key word in that sentence is sustained. In this case, it merely means he hasn’t yet done anything so severe that even other cops and prosecutors were willing to hold him accountable.

Peru, IN police Tase Alzheimer patient

Peru, IN police Tase Alzheimer patient →

This is despicable.

Police announced Monday they have launched an internal investigation, but would not comment about the incident or the investigation.

Police Chief Steve Hoover said no time frame has been set on the investigation, noting several people need to be interviewed regarding the incident.

“I would just ask from the citizens of Peru to be patient and allow us to do a thorough investigation into the matter,” he said Monday. “We assure you that we are taking this seriously, but it will take some time to do the investigation correctly.”

Given the alleged facts, the investigation should take about a day to do. And then the people involved should be fired with extreme prejudice. Given the "thin blue line" and the power of police unions, the people involved will probably end up with a medal for their valorous actions.

This entry was tagged. Government Police

Crime victim still takes it on the chin

Crime victim still takes it on the chin →

How insane is this?

If you defend your family and property from a knife-wielding druggie in Massachusetts, you’d better be prepared to also defend yourself from the justice system, too.

McKay is the young father who, seeing a local druggie breaking into his truck and stealing the tools he uses to pay the bills, confronted him, subdued him and held him for the police. When the police arrived, they found the bad guy had a knife, a billy club and — thanks to the unarmed McKay — a broken jaw.

Instead of thanking McKay for helping get an armed criminal off the streets, Swampscott officials charged him with a felony. As a Swampscott police spokesman said at the time, “We don’t urge anybody to fight back. We want them to call us.”

Wisconsin Takes a Step Backwards in Police Accountability

I was disappointed to see that state Representative Robin Vos is undoing one of the good reforms that Governor Doyle put into place.

In the bad old days, Milwaukee police officers had cut a sweet deal that allowed them to keep collecting paychecks and benefits when they were fired by the police chief until a final ruling on the dismissal was made by the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission.

That meant, of course, that it was in the best interest of a fired officer - even a guilty one - to challenge and delay a dismissal as long as possible. Keep those paychecks rolling in, pardner.

And it was like that for a quarter of a century, under a law that treated Milwaukee cops differently from those in the rest of the state. When they were fired, Milwaukee police officers appealed - 96 percent of the time. And they collected salaries and benefits during that appeal time - appeal time that was dragged out. For the 26 years that the law was in effect, the appeal time for police officers in Milwaukee was double that of fired firefighter dismissals.

Back in October 2004 that cushy deal blew up, after off-duty Milwaukee police officers viciously beat Frank Jude Jr. at a house party, and three fired officers collected more than $500,000 in pay while awaiting trial. The Legislature cut off the continued pay for police accused of felonies and Class A and B misdemeanors, and in 2009 extended the cutoff of salaries and benefits for all fired officers.

That did not mean that officers who were mistakenly fired were without recourse: if they appealed their dismissals and won they were entitled to back pay - in a lump sum. That has been the standard for the past three years. It is a fair standard.

So why, early in the morning last week, did Vos and the Joint Finance Committee move to reinstate the 2008 law that would keep officers fired for things other than felonies or Class A and B misdemeanors on the payroll during the appeals process? In 2006, we noted that over the years the City of Milwaukee had paid out more than $2.5 million to officers who were ultimately fired.

Bad move, Representative Vos. It's wasteful and it assumes the wrong that: that police are blameless, that complaints are generally baseless, and that police need to be protected against the general public. Those assumptions aren't always right and acting as those they were is a good route to making sure that the police and the public view each other with hostility and distrust.

Greek Rioters Kill 3

I just heard about this today, courtesy of PJTV (the May 26, 2010 episode, "Euro-Style Liberalism Leads to Euro-Style Violence").

Three die in bank during Greek riots - USATODAY.com

Riots over harsh new austerity measures left three bank workers dead and engulfed the streets of Athens on Wednesday [May 5, 2010], as angry protesters tried to storm parliament, hurled Molotov cocktails at police and torched buildings. Police responded with barrages of tear gas.

The three bank workers a man and two women died after demonstrators set their bank on fire along the main demonstration route in central Athens. As their colleagues sobbed in the street, five other bank workers were rescued from the balcony of the burning building.

A senior fire department official said demonstrators prevented firefighters from reaching the burning building, costing them vital time.

"Several crucial minutes were lost," the official said, visibly upset. "If we had intervened earlier, the loss of life could have been prevented."

Demonstrators set a bank on fire, trapping 3 people inside, and then prevented fire fighters from getting to the people to either release them or put out the fire before they burned to death.

This is absolutely unaccceptable. It's mob rule. Mobs cannot be allowed to firebomb buildings and then prevent the fire department from reaching the building. The solution: the next time it happens, give the police the authority to fire into the crowd to disperse it. With real bullets, not rubber bullets.

This entry was tagged. Government Police

Videotape the Police Whenever You Can

Can you trust the police? What about the courts? The answer may depend on whether or not they think anyone is watching.

Last March, after the University of Maryland men's basketball team beat Duke, students spilled out into College Park to celebrate. That brought out the riot police. In footage captured by several students with their iPhones, Maryland student Jack McKenna dances down the street with dozens of other students, then stops when he sees two cops on horseback. Unprovoked by McKenna, three riot cops then enter the picture, throw McKenna up against a wall, and begin beating him with their batons. According to attorney Christopher Griffiths—who is representing McKenna and another student, Benjamin Donat—both suffered concussions, contusions, and cuts from the beatings.

McKenna was charged with disorderly conduct, a charge that as of last week was still pending but now seems certain to be dropped. Prince George's County has since suspended four police officers, the three captured on tape beating McKenna and the sergeant who supervised them. But were it not for those iPhone videos, it would have been McKenna's word (and possibly those of whatever celebrating student witnesses he could round up) against the word of three of Maryland's finest. Or at least three. It seems likely that a number of other cops would have come forward to lie on behalf of those who beat McKenna.

If that sounds harsh, consider this: After the iPhone video of McKenna's beating emerged, investigators subpoenaed 60 hours of surveillance video from the College Park campus police. The only video police couldn't manage to locate was the one from the camera aimed squarely at the area where McKenna was beaten. Funny how that works. Campus police claimed that a "technical error" with that particular camera caused it to record over the footage of the beating. As public pressure mounted, police later found what they claimed was a recording of the lost video. But two minutes of that video were missing. Coincidentally, those two minutes happened to depict key portions of McKenna's beating. The kicker? The head of the campus video surveillance system, Lt. Joanne Ardovini, is married to one of the cops named in McKenna's complaint. (Washington D.C.'s ABC News affiliate, WJLA, a station with a history of deferring to police spokesmen without bothering to verify the accuracy of their statements, quaintly referred to this as "a bizarre coincidence.")

In another instance, Maryland police raided an individual's home for video tapes after he committed the non-crime of video taping a police officer, on a public highway. The judge who authorized the illegal raid?

According to Graber, the name of the judge who signed off on the raid of his parents' home doesn't appear on the warrant. As Graber told Miller, "They told me they don’t want you to know who the judge is because of privacy." If true, that statement is so absurd it's mind numbing. A judge issued an illegal warrant for police to invade the private residence and rummage through the private belongings of a man who broke no laws, and we aren't permitted to know the judge's name in order to protect the judge's privacy?

Here's the bottom line: government officials, acting in their official capacity, have no right to privacy. You work for us. You have no more privacy rights, in the performance of your job, than any private sector employee in the performance of his job. And you're not above the law either. Wearing a uniform isn't an authorization to go out and beat people -- or otherwise break the law -- with impunity. Period. And, no, having a stressful job isn't a good justification for mistreating American citizens.

Off-duty O.C. sheriff's deputy is arrested on DUI charge after crashing twice within 30 minutes

Off-duty O.C. sheriff's deputy is arrested on DUI charge after crashing twice within 30 minutes | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times.

An off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputy, who allegedly was intoxicated when he crashed his Mercedes-Benz into another vehicle and injured a passenger, had crashed 30 minutes earlier and was allowed to drive from that accident scene by fellow deputies, authorities said Friday.

Sheriff’s deputies were called Monday afternoon to a crash involving Deputy Allan James Waters, 36, and another vehicle outside City Hall in Dana Point. Deputies took a report and permitted Waters keep driving, said Assistant Sheriff Mike James.

About 30 minutes later, at 5:20 p.m., Waters crashed his Mercedes-Benz into a Toyota in Laguna Niguel, causing it to cross the center median and slam into a tree, according to the California Highway Patrol. Dolores Molina, a 78-year-old passenger in the Toyota, suffered minor injuries.

And that, right there, is pretty much why I don't respect law enforcement these days.

This entry was tagged. Dui Justice Police