An investigative piece from The Intercept.
This man’s crime? Driving with a suspended license:
You can’t do that,” says Kevin Campbell on video captured inside the police lock-up on June 7, 2016.
“Yes, I can. Yes, I can,” says Allen Park Police Officer Daniel Mack.
“Why you putting your fingers in my [expletive]?? Why you feeling my [expletive],” says Campbell in the video.
“Cause you got [something] tucked into your [expletive],” said Mack.
This happened in Tulsa. They just shot him, for no good reason:
This is interesting, isn’t it?
Is distracted driving the new drunk driving? Numerous studies in the past few years have warned motorists of the dangers of driving while distracted – the most common distraction being texting.
Distracted driving kills over eight people per day and injures another 1,000, a phenomenon that has gradually increased over the last 10 years. Some even claim that texting while driving is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In New York alone, texting while driving tickets have increased exponentially from 9,000 in 2011 to almost 85,000 in 2015. In light of recent efforts by anti-distracted driving activists, New York legislators have proposed a bill called Evan’s Law, named after young car accident victim who died in 2011 because the driver of the vehicle that hit him was distracted by his phone.
The new law would give police officers the authority to use new technology called a “Textalyzer” when they pull motorists over for suspected distracted driving.
Commonly referred to as “the new breathalyzer,” the Textalyzer was developed by the mobile forensics company Cellebrite, which uses a series of new technological developments to determine whether or not a motorist had been texting while driving.
In real time, an officer can plug a motorist’s phone into a laptop and use the system’s operating logs to determine whether or not the person was typing or tapping the phone’s screen at the time of a crash. The use of this new technology, legislators hope, will force motorists to think twice before pulling out their phones while driving.
The main concerns over the Textalyzer legislation surround privacy laws. Proponents of the Textalyzer insist that the device is programmed to only show if the phone was in use for texting at the time of an accident, not to access the owner’s photos, conversations, contacts, or other personal information.
However, some civil liberties groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), acknowledge the public safety issue regarding distracted driving, but say that the Textalyzer is “fraught with legal and practical problems.”
Other opponents of the bill say that there are less intrusive measures already in place to determine phone usage at the time of accidents, such as encrypting the phone or scanning the phone’s metadata.
Defense attorney Karin Riley Porter commented, “The proposed legislation and the advent of the Textalyzer are proof that distracted driving has become an enormous public safety issue in recent years. However, privacy laws are still a concern, and maintaining the balance between reducing distracted driving fatalities and protecting individual privacy will continue.”
I know many strong critics of the police. Many of them are affiliated with the
Black Lives Matter movement. None of them stand for ambushing police officers. I also know a few police officers and many prosecutors. Most of them are against racial profiling.
Now, it would be a false equivalence to say that Black Lives Matter activists and defenders of the police are in the same position.
Black Lives Matter activists are seeking changes in an institution – the criminal justice system – that has disproportionately targeted and killed people of color. These activists are disproportionately drawn from communities that have been marginalized based on their race, gender identity, sexual orientation and related issues.
In contrast, police officers are sworn to protect the public, even when they are the subject of criticism and protest. Police officers are also disproportionately drawn from relatively privileged segments of society: men and whites.
The recent controversy over policing has often been traced to racial bias, but it may stem in equal part from gender. I have spent a decade researching ways that race and gender intersect in policing and found that hidden police officer machismo is exacerbating the more commonly noticed problem of racial profiling.
Issues around masculinity
To bring about peace, we must first acknowledge that we have a problem.
The evidence that police officers target racial minority men for stops on suspicion of crime is overwhelming. This has been statistically proven in New York City racial profiling litigation. In a recent study, Harvard professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found racial bias in police uses of force. Additionally, in New York, as elsewhere, racial profiling of these types mostly happens to men.
“What’s masculinity got to do with it?”
By masculinity, I simply mean popular assumptions about what is manly behavior. For instance, men do not wear dresses, do not ask for directions and do not dance. Or so we are told.
If one is a man, or just wants to perform masculinity, one will be drawn toward the behaviors that are popularly understood to be manly. An important tendency of masculine behavior in the United States is to confront disrespect with violence.
In policing, this has meant punishing the “noncrime” of “contempt of cop” (offending a police officer) with trumped up charges of law-breaking or physical violence.
The recent killing of Philando Castile serves as one example of the way racial bias and police officer machismo work together.
Racial profiling was evident in the fact that police officers had stopped Castile at the borders between black and white neighborhoods in and around St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile was stopped at least 52 times over the course of a few years. Yet at least half of his citations were dismissed. That is an extraordinary number of stops, and an even more surprising number of dismissals.
Implicit in these excessive race-based stops is a macho stance that is especially prevalent amongst those who go into policing. First, perhaps because police forces often give preference to former members of the military, police officers are prone to bullying the suspects. It should be no surprise that more masculine men thrown into police forces patterned on the military are more prone to aggressive behavior.
Here are the consequences of this culture
To maintain face in the culture that prevails in many police departments, officers must meet any physical threat or even disobedience with violence. As the “Say Her Name” movement has pointed out, when police officers get macho, women of color may also become victims of their violence.
Police bullying of women can come in the forms of false charges, physical violence, or sexual assaults. For instance, former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of 18 counts of sexual offenses against African-American women.
Second, masculinity exacerbates racial profiling because young men of color are the boogeyman. They are the personification of danger in the eyes of much of the public and the police. That status stems from the U.S.’ long history of white supremacy and apartheid. Police officers may be both seeking to maintain their place in the male pecking order and genuinely afraid of men of color.
That is why the mention of a gun by a black man can lead a police officer to shoot first and question later. In the case of Castile, as an audio recording of the events later revealed, Castile’s “wide-set nose” got him pulled over. And being the subject of heightened fear – a black man with a gun – got him killed.
Of course, police officers are not a monolithic group. White police officers are not all explicitly, or even implicitly, biased against men of color. Many police officers are racial minorities themselves. Moreover, increasing percentages of police officers are women, whose presence has been connected to lessened police brutality.
Nonetheless, acknowledging that racial profiling and police officer machismo travel together is important, as it will require a different approach to fixing policing.
Way forward: deescalate
We cannot just observe the police through body cameras, for that will not stop police officers from feeling more threatened by men of color in the first place. Instead, we need to train police officers to acknowledge both that many of them have implicit biases against racial minorities and that they may feel more fearful of men of color than any other group.
As I think about how this proposal might become reality, I have the same advice for each side of the policing divide: deescalate.
To protesters against the police I say this: After Baton Rouge, rightly or wrongly, you will have to go first. Do not stop criticizing racial profiling and police officer machismo, but do unequivocally disavow shooting police officers.
To police officers I say this: You rightfully feel vulnerable, but do not ratchet up this conflict. Do not condone the idea advanced in some conservative quarters that the slaying of police officers means you must allow crime to rise. Honor your fallen comrades by doing your job even better.
In the day-to-day job, that means using deescalation techniques to turn potential conflicts into peaceful resolutions. Deescalating the overall conflict between police officers and protesters will not be easy, but it will be worth the effort.
The risk of cops shooting in cases involving the mentally ill or developmentally delayed is much higher than usual. Maybe cops should be trained better.
MIAMI — North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene addressed the public Thursday morning for the first time since one of his officers shot an unarmed mental healthcare worker while he was caring for a patient. The chief didn’t take any questions. He didn’t name the officer who fired his weapon. And he didn’t say whether the… Continue Reading →
Of course, it’s all Obama’s fault. If only he had praised cops for shooting helpless civilians, this would all be okay right now!
The head of the Cleveland police union said Sunday that President Obama has “blood on his hands” after the murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “It is reprehensible. And the president of the United States has blood on his hands, and it will not be able to become washed off,” said Detective… Continue Reading →
Maybe if the “good” cops would stop looking away over stuff like this, we might make some progress:
The man who made the video of the Alton Sterling shooting death go viral, one of two brutal videos from two states that sparked a national outrage and led to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers during an anti-police brutality protest Thursday – was arrested 24 hours later.
Chris LeDay believes it was an act of retaliation.
Considering police handcuffed and leg-shackled him after accusing him of assault and battery – only to jail him overnight for unpaid traffic fines – it certainly appears that way.
Especially considering his arrest took place 24 hours after he had posted the video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where it instantly went viral.
LeDay, 34, lives in Georgia, but was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the shooting took place early Tuesday morning, so he learned of the video through friends back home but it wasn’t getting much exposure.
Continue Reading →
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana—Minutes after two cops killed Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store, police confiscated all surveillance video of the incident without a warrant and allegedly without permission.
An attorney for the owner of the Triple S Mart, Abdullah Muflahi, told The Daily Beast a hard drive containing the complete recording of the Sterling’s death at the hands of Baton Rouge Police Department Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake was unlawfully taken by police. Muflahi showed The Daily Beast the barren cabinet where the hard drive had been.
All that’s left of the storage unit is a sole barren wire.
That wire went out to surveillance cameras on the front of the building. One of the cameras would have had a direct line of sight to where Sterling was standing when he was tasered, tackled, shot and killed by police.
[…] When The Daily Beast requested the both the surveillance video and the supposed warrant from the Baton Rouge Police Department, a lawyer from the department first denied the request by saying they could not turn over any documents from a “criminal investigation.” When told that a warrant is a public court document and could not be withheld, the lawyer then outright refused to confirm or deny if a warrant for the surveillance video even existed.
After backtracking on the existence of the warrant, the attorney backtracked on the possession of the surveillance video, saying that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had the hard drive.
“My client has not been informed of that,” said Porter, the attorney for the store owner.
The FBI refused to confirm or deny the police department’s claim.
“This is part of an ongoing investigation and we are unable to comment at this time,” Craig Betbeze, an FBI spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
This is Nakia Jones. She is a police officer. She has something to say. “It bothers me when I hear people say, ‘Y’all police officers this, y’all police officers that. They put us in this negative category when I’m saying to myself, ‘I’m not that type of police officer.’ I know officers that are like me… Continue Reading →