Marketplace (May 9, 2013): Does fair trade clothing help the consumer and the retailer?: NPR’s Marketplace features a short story on
Fair Tradecertification for clothing, and efforts to address the working conditions in Bangladesh sweatshops. Along the way, there’s a couple quotes from my co-editor on Markets Not Capitalism, Gary Chartier, about the supply-chain practices that many clothing-industry TNCs use to displace responsibility and insulate themselves from accountability for lethal working conditions in their factories.
Cathy Reisenwitz @ Sex And The State (May 15, 2013): Fighting Sexism, Sexily
I’ve long contended that libertarians have a habit of downplaying or denying certain problems when they don’t like the proposed solutions. For example, when people talk about sexism, or the wage gap, it’s common for a libertarian to retort that the wage gap isn’t real, or can be explained by individual choices. I understand this desire to avoid the coercive solutions many people suggest for fighting sexism The thing is, Rothbard was super bothered by a state monopoly on force. We libertarians need to get really bothered by sexism. And then we need to come up with cultural, and not state, solutions.(With an example of creative thinking and guerrilla theater, featuring a cheesecake pin-up poster of Bro-sie the Riveter.)
Marja Erwin (May 2, 2013): Trans Politics and Colonialism: A Few Questions?. Read the whole thing.
Marja Erwin (April 23, 2013): I still think market anarchism has a lot to contribute to the rest of anarchism. This too.
I think it’s important to have a system where people can communicate what they need, and what they want, and what they don’t need, and what they can do to help, and I think it’s important to have systems where people can work things among themselves, if for some reason they can’t work things out through the community or union or federation orgs.(Against all monopolizations of social capital.)
Mark Stoval @ On the Mark (May 7, 2013) claims that he is going to take
A look at Mutualism. In comments, Roderick Long points out that he ought to have looked harder. Or, really, tried looking at any mutualist writing at all, rather than just doing what he seems to have done, which was to scan ahead until he reached a fixed phrase (
labor theory of value,
occupancy and use) that convinced him that he already knows everything that he needs to know about the rest of the book. Nearly everything that Mark claims about Mutualists is a ridiculous travesty of Kevin Carson’s views; and evidence that he knows nothing about Mutualists other than Kevin Carson. But Roderick’s intervention in the comments section is right-on.
Forbes (May 15, 2013): Suit Alleges IRS Improperly Seized 60 Million Personal Medical Records. You know what the worst part of this story is? The part about having an Internal Revenue Service, to surveill daily expenses and seize personal data, all in order to investigate and police tax payments. Seriously, there is no possible way to square that with basic civil liberties, and it ought to be abolished.
BBC (May 6, 2013): Lauryn Hill jailed for tax evasion. Partly this is a story about the government’s tax-policing. Partly it’s a story about the financial traps that are imposed by the structure of state capitalism, and the ways in which tax structures systemically confine people — both very wealthy people, like Hill, and very poor people as well — to high-liquidity, cash-producing business and employment.
The Grammy-winning singer, 37, also faces three months of home confinement, after pleading guilty last year. Hill failed to pay taxes on about $1.8m (£1.2m) of earnings between 2005-07. In a statement to the judge, Hill said she had intended to pay the taxes but could not after withdrawing from public life and ending her music career to raise her children.Free Lauryn Hill and all political prisoners.
I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,Hill said in court.
I had an economic system imposed on me.
Dominic Gover, International Business Times (May 7, 2013): Lauryn Hill Blames Slavery as She’s Jailed for $500,000 Unpaid Tax Bill. Oh by the way, did I mention that the judge is also forcing Lauryn Hill
to undergo counselling because of her conspiracy theories [sic]as a condition of her plea? Where
political dissent from the status quo.
Jim Epstein @ reason.com (May 7, 2013): Government Assault on the Chinatown Bus Industry Fueled By Bogus Federal Study. In which the government takes care of Greyhound’s competitors for them, using an error-ridden bogus safety study, which uses Greyhound’s own crashes to
provethat their curbside competitors are less safe. The study is like a matryoshka doll of clumsy errors and statistical malpractice; every time you spot them one error and set it aside for the sake of argument, you find another error, just as atrocious as the last one, nested inside of it.
Home School Legal Defense Association (May 14, 2013): German Family Denied Asylum, HSLDA Appeals. The judge’s decision to deny asylum is appalling. From the press release:
The court said that the Romeikes had not made a sufficient case, and that the United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment.Well no, no they haven’t. But they say that like it ought to be a problem for the victims of unfair treatment. Actually, it is a problem with the United States, which needs to stop acting as a gatekeeper and get out of the way. It is appalling that any peaceful immigrant should be turned away, for any reason. Solidarity with all people without papers, and all immigrants without status.
Free Adam Kokesh (May 20, 2013): Adam Kokesh Accused of Felony Assault on Federal Officer — No Bail Yet: It looks pretty clearly like he is being held on a vacuous detained-by-will-of-the-cop charge — in this case,
assault on a federal officer— for getting himself shoved by a Federal Officer and then grabbing the arm of the dude who was physically attacking him. His hearing is set for Thursday; in the meantime he is in contact with his attorney but has been denied the opportunity to make phone calls (content warning: Alex Jones links, feh).
DinoGoss (May 11, 2013): The Validity of Lambeosaurus — Anybody Know A Good Lawyer? I Am Not A Taxonomist, but I’m inclined to think that if your system would throw out Lambeosaurus at this point in favor of Didanodon altidens that’s probably a problem with your naming system not a problem with current use of Lambeosaurus.
Lucy Cooke @ Vimeo (February 8, 2013): BUCKET OF SLOTHS. Exactly what it says on the tin.
Archive for the 'Politics' Category
Here is some moderately good news about a ridiculously awful story, from Occupied Las Vegas:
Three years after a confrontation between Las Vegas police and a costumed street performer in front of The Venetian spawned a lawsuit, the Police Department has agreed to settle with Zorro for $105,000.
Jason Perez-Morciglio, who performs as Zorro on Las Vegas streets, and his brother, Sebastian Perez-Morciglio, sued in June 2010 after they said Venetian security officers kidnapped and detained them for more than an hour on Jan. 15, 2010, before kicking them off the property. The brothers also alleged that Las Vegas police officers illegally handcuffed and searched them at the resort.
These security guards handcuffed the brothers, searched their persons and belongings, demanded identification, and photographed them,the lawsuit documents said.
On Monday, The Metropolitan Police Department’s Fiscal Affairs Committee agreed to pay the brothers $105,000, something that Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who sits on the committee, thinks was the best option to avoid negative exposure for the department. The potential cost could have been significantly more, Sisolak said.
For the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, which provided general counsel for the brothers in the lawsuit, the impact of the settlement transcended monetary value.
The main thing in the case is that it was never about the money. It was about verifying again that the sidewalks in front of the hotels are a public forum, and the people have a right to First Amendment activity there,said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada.
According to Sisolak, accompanying the settlement was what he called a clearer and more definitive policy on how officers will handle street performers on the public sidewalks.
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2013-03-07: War on the Informal Sector (Cont’d) —
Neutron Bomb Urbanismand the State of Illinois vs. Square
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-02-28: War on the Informal Sector (Cont’d) —
Resale Roundupand local government vs. unfettered flea markets
- Charles Johnson (December 2007), Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty As We Know It
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-09-15: Free Riders
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-02-19: How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-02-04: Against legalization (cont’d)
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-03-30: Scratching By (cont’d): The Government Land Cartel Vs. Costs Savings and Urban Living
- Charles Johnson, Rad Geek People’s Daily 2012-09-19: Well then I suppose they will lose their waffle cones as well as their principal.
I was going to post this the other day, but I had to wait until after Monday, because the author really is perfectly serious about it. Alex Seiz-Wald, at Salon, has recently discovered the chatter in gun-enthusiast and gun-rights circles around the fear of back-door gun-control legislation — by means of restrictions or prohibitions on ammunition sales, if new controls on guns themselves prove not to be politically viable. And so he picks up on some anecdotal Data-less Trend Stories about
panic buying of ammunition in response. So, we get this story, from a putatively liberal political commentator:
Gun owners terrified of nonexistent plans to restrict ammo are hoarding bullets. Now police are running out.
And there are plenty of members of Congress making hyperbolic claims about gun control, and a right-wing media eager to heighten and repeat the warnings. Not to mention the NRA, the most powerful voice on guns in the country and the market leader on paranoid gun rhetoric for decades.
But what those rushing to stockpile guns and ammo seem to miss is that their actions have consequences on the people whose job it is to keep us safe.
— Alex Seitz Wald, in Salon (27 March 2013) (emphasis added)
Now I have no really strong convictions about what
those rushing to stockpile guns and ammo think about or don’t think about. Maybe if you want to know that, rather than to speculate about the mind of the intra-cultural Other, you could ask some people who are doing that, instead of spending the entire article interviewing self-serving budget-hungry police chiefs. But I do know that many people would be much safer if police were unable to buy any bullets at all. Did police bullets keep Kimani Gray safe? Emma Hernandez? Angel Alvarez and Luis Soto? Alonzo Heyward? Sean Bell? Amadou Diallo? Who seriously believes that
keep[ing] us safe is what heavily-armed police do? Who is the
us that they have in mind when they think that?
In all seriousness, this is really nothing more than another Data-less Trend Story but if it were true, it would be the best thing I’d heard all year about
NRA fans. I don’t even own any guns, and don’t have any plans to get into them, but if the story is true that just makes me wish I had the money to run out and buy up boxes of ammunition right now. Because I have no use for it, but the cops do. And that’s precisely the problem with the cops.
Disarm your local police.
Day after day, our political leaders remind us of human rights violations happening all across the world, yet they often fail to recognize and stand up against the violations happening in their own backyards. In communities of color, young people feel under siege. Kimani’s murder and the resistance displayed by young people in response must be taken as a continued call to action. We must ask ourselves: why are we allowing this to happen? Where have we failed in organizing a long-term movement?
Omowale Adewale, a father and community organizer from Brooklyn has a radical solution:The only negotiation I want conducted on my behalf with the police is withdrawal of their paramilitary troops from my community, which includes community affairs, helicopters, police horses, barricades,he says, likening the need for police to turn over control of our communities to that of the US Military’s efforts in withdrawing from Iraq. His words echo the sentiment running through Flatbush in this traumatic moment.
— Rosa Clemente, Why Did Kimani Gray Have to Die?
in EBONY, 18 March 2013 (second boldface added)
Subject line and opening message from a recent fundraising e-mail sent out by Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County and Vaquero Supreme of the High Sonoran Desert, who is campaigning to keep himself in office in spite of an upcoming recall referendum. Apparently being circulated this month through conservative mailing lists:
From: Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Sent: Friday, March 22 2013
Subject: Sheriff Joe Arpaio can’t continue to fight without your immediate help
I normally do not write you emails this personal — but today I’m making an exception.
We are in trouble.
And while I will never give up the fight for justice and to protect American citizens… I can’t continue to fight without your immediate help.
Oh lordy, how I hope that could be true. I would never be happier to stand right by and keep my immediate help exactly where it is.
The below was originally posted to FreeKeene.com by Ian Freeman on March 17, 2013.
Ian is a good friend that has himself lived his ideas. Not just through media creation like Free Talk Live, ShireSociety.com, LRN.FM, and FreeKeene.com – which was was the featured sponsor of 24-stop, month-long Cop Block Tour, but his own actions.
by Ian Freeman
Pete Eyre of CopBlock.org and I had the honor of being the Non-Political Activism Panel at Liberty Forum 2013. Hope you find our discussion useful. We cover a lot of activism types and ideas in an hour’s time:
Happy Ides of March! To-day is Tyrannicide Day (observed); to-day is also the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality. I don’t know why anyone would be so paranoid or anti-government or anti-cop as to call for protests against police brutality. Everyone knows that cops are here to protect you.
Unnamed 19-year-old single mother, Milwuakee, Wisconsin [t/w: sexual violence committed by a police officer]: a 19-year-old single mother, who has chosen to remain anonymous, had a brick thrown through her window, and someone trying to kick in her front door, so she called 911. When the police showed up to
help,they took her brother outside and sent her boyfriend out of the house; then one of the cops, Police Officer Ladmarald Cates, rapist on patrol, took the opportunity to corner her while she was alone and repeatedly rape her. When she tried to get outside to tell other police about what happened to her, her rapist grabbed her, spun her around, and had her arrested for
assaulting a police officer.She was held in jail for 12 hours while other police called her a liar until she was finally taken to a hospital to be tested with a rape kit. Then they sent her back to the county jail and imprisoned her for four days without any charges ever being filed against her. The police force eventually fired Cates for
idling and loafingon duty [sic!] after they confronted him with DNA evidence of the rape, but the local DA declined to prosecute. The survivor was eventually able to find a lawyer who helped her take the case to the Feds for a civil-rights complaint; when they investigated, they found out that before he raped her, Police Officer Ladmarald Cates had already been investigated five times before for illegal behavior, including three previous allegations of sexual abuse. (The local DA had declined to prosecute in those cases, too.)
Bassil Abdelal of Chicago, Illinois: Abdelal, the owner of B&B Beauty Supply on the West Side of Chicago, was robbed at gunpoint last year while trying to close up his store. Somebody who saw what was going down called the police from a CTA station, so the robbers ran out of the store. He stepped out to see where they were going to, and picked up a gun they had dropped to protect himself. Then, when the police showed up to
help,Abdelal dropped the gun, but they shot him 11 times while he screamed
Don’t shoot; I am the store owner.Then they handcuffed him in the ambulance and denied him medical treatment while they questioned him. Then they came by the hospital again in the middle of the night and handcuffed him to the bed, and harassed and interrogated him in repeated visits for over a week.
Delma Towler of Altavista, Virginia: Towler, an 83-year-old woman, called 911 to report a burglary at her home. Then she went out into her own backyard, with her gun to protect herself; the police, showing up on the scene to
help,gunned down Delma Towler — shooting her three times and killing her in her own backyard — for not responding to shouted orders that she could not hear without her hearing aid. According to the press report,
The officer, who hasn’t been named, has been placed on administrative leave … . He is believed to be a veteran [sic] with more than 10 years’ experience in the force… . The Altavista Police Department chief Clay Hamilton said an internal investigation found the officer involved was not at fault as he followed department policy.
Kristen Walker and her boyfriend James, of Rochester, New York [t/w: traumatizing harassment, sexist language, physical violence against a rape survivor by police]: Walker (who is white) and her boyfriend (who is African-American) were harassed by a security guard while shopping in a convenience store late at night earlier this month; then after leaving the store found that they were being followed by police officers. It turns out they were being followed because the security guard — himself an off-duty RPD police officer — had called 911 to tell his buddies that he thought Walker and her boyfriend were suspicious because they were carrying
a massive amount of cash on them(they had just gotten their tax return). So, hot on the scent of a possible drug seizure, two police cruisers pulled them over and multiple officers swarmed the car to demand ID and interrogate the two of them separately. When Kristen Walker asked why they pulled them over, the cop replied
None of your fucking business, we don’t have to have a fucking reason to stop you.When she pointed out they need to have reasonable suspicion to justify a traffic stop, the police officer told her
Yeah?, you smart ass little bitch, get the fuck out of the car.Then he grabbed her by the arm to pull her out of the car and wrenched it behind her back, marched her over to the police car and slammed her head on the trunk. Walker, a rape survivor, was alarmed and told the cops she suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the sexual assault; they ignored her and had both male officers conduct a pat-down search. One police officer told Walker
I should beat the fuck out of you,and threatened to pepper-spray her in the face while she was hand-cuffed in the back of the police-cruiser. When she asked for the name and badge number of the police officer, he told her
Blow me you little whore,and shut the car door. While she was in tears, a female officer came by, looked inside, and said
Aw, look at the little baby crying.When the police failed to find anything in her car, and another police officer told told her they were going to release her and her boyfriend, she again asked for their names and badge numbers, and the cop told her
If you get their names and badge numbers you’re either going to jail for disorderly conduct or they’ll take you to the hospital for a mental health arrest.When she got home, she dialed 911 and asked for a supervisor to get the names and badge numbers of the police officers who had pulled them over, interrogated her, harassed her, humiliated her in the most vulgar and violent ways, searched her, beat her, threatened her repeatedly with even more extreme physical violence, re-traumatized her and violated her civil rights in every way over carrying
too muchcash which is, as you may know, not actually against any law. The officer on the phone explained why they had been singled out for being stopped and searched but also refused to give her the names or the badge numbers of the officers who did it. When a local journalist put up a story about it on the Internet and contacted the city government in Rochester, he was told that
they will not be releasing the names of the officers pending an internal affairs investigation.
All domestic violence victims, New York, New York: the New York Police Department recently issued an order to all police ordering them to run criminal checks on victims who call 911 to report domestic violence to the police. So now if your partner is beating you, and you call 911, when the police show up to
helpthey will also be checking your name in all NYPD databases to determine whether they’ll be arresting you for anything
including for minor offenses like unpaid tickets.According to the New York Post,
A [police] source said that even if detectives wanted to take pity on someone who was battered by a spouse, they would feel pressure to make an arrest to avoid getting in trouble with superiors.
We have every right to arrest that person at that moment,the source said.
All K-12 students, Pennsylvania:
Bristol Township School District allows them. Neshaminy and Pennridge schools do not. And Palisades is discussing whether to permit them. But most local school districts have no specific policy on strip-searches of students. Without a policy, there are no guidelines, meaning students can be forced to take off all clothing if suspected of carrying prohibited contraband or material that could pose a threat [for example, dangerous substances like ibuprofen —R.G.]. Statewide, more than 100 school districts have adopted a policy example provided by the Pennsylvania School Board Association in 2009, which sets out the circumstances in which it believes a strip-search would be reasonable and necessary. Palisades introduced its proposed strip-search policy during the school board’s Feb. 6 meeting, leading several parents to speak out against such searches. It defines when administrators could legally strip-search students: a reasonable suspicion that something was being concealed that would be a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the school population and could be recovered only by the removal or searching of a student’s clothes… .There are no possible suspicions that could possibly make it reasonable for school administrators or resource-cops to ever have the power to force a student to undergo a strip-search.
Charlene Holly, six children, and the family dog, Samson, of Chicago, Illinois. Nine Chicago police officers, lead by Officer Patrick Kinney (the rest of the officers are not named in court documents), broke down the door and forced their way into Holly’s apartment, dressed in army fatigues and with guns drawn, screaming
Get on the ground!and demanding at gunpoint that an 11 month old child show his hands. They killed the family dog by choke-dragging him up from the basement and then left him in the upstairs laundry room, where he died. When the police finally showed their warrant, the warrant said that it was for a man named
Sedgwick M. Reaversand it was made out for the second-floor apartment at 10640 S. Prairie Street. The apartment that this paramilitary squad had broken into, with guns drawn, was the first floor apartment. When Samuel Holly, Charlene Holly’s husband, tried to make a complaint about the wrong-address storm-trooper raid, the warrantless search and the killing of their dog, the police would not take his complaint over the phone; when he showed up at the police station the next day, they refused to take the complaint, and told him that he
should have made a complaint last night.
Deborah Braillard, of Maricopa County, Arizona: Braillard, a diabetic, was arrested on minor drug charges and thrown into the Maricopa County jail. She died in jail because the sheriff’s office denied her medical care for three days, even after other inmates warned the jailers that she needed help. This was back in 2005; the story is in the news again because the Maricopa County sheriff’s office has just agreed to make Maricopa taxpayers pay $3,250,000 to Braillard’s family in order to settle the case, after a judge ruled that jurors could be told that key evidence in the case had been destroyed by the sheriff’s department. Of course the people who personally decided to imprison Deborah Braillard and to kill her by denying her access to needed medical care will never pay a cent out of their own pockets.
Ferdinand Hunt and Sidney Newman, of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hunt and Newman, two black teenagers, were hanging out on Conti Street after a Mardi Gras parade, waiting for Hunt’s mother to come back from getting some food. Nine plainclothes State Police officers and a NOPD cop then rushed them, surrounded them, and then — in spite of neither young man posing any physical threat at all — were caught on video throwing them across the sidewalk into a wall and beat them. The state troopers claimed that
while they were patrolling the French Quarter, they noticed two individuals who appeared to be juveniles and decided to ID them;this is, apparently, how they go about finding out who’s who in New Orleans.
Kimani Gray of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York: plainclothes cops swarmed Kimani Gray, a 16 year old boy, late at night, claiming that he
adjusted his waistbandand attempted to leave when he saw them. So instead of letting him leave peacefully, they pulled him aside and confronted him. Then they shot at him 11 times, killing him. They claim he was pointing a gun at them. Gray was hit with seven of the 11 shots fired; three shots hit him in the back. Less than a year before, plainclothes NYPD drug cops shot and killed an unarmed 23-year-old woman, Shantel Davis, only blocks away. After vigils and protests against police violence in Brooklyn in the wake of the most recent shooting, riot cops set up roadblocks on Church Avenue, grabbed Gray’s sister Mahnefah off the street, kettled protesters and arrested 46 people, mostly for
Jabbar Campbell of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York [t/w: homophobic language, graphic photo of injuries inflicted by police against a gay man]: Jabbar Campbell, a gay African-American man living in Brooklyn, threw a gay-pride party at his apartment. Police got an excessive-noise complaint related to the party; but when a squad of police showed up at the apartment, they claim that he
ignored their demands toCampbell denies that that’s true — but whether it is or not, what happened next is that a gang of nine cops forced their way into the building, deliberately turned off a surveillance camera in the building, and then proceeded to hold him down and beat him repeatedly, punching him in the face and striking him with clubs and flashlights until he lost consciousness, all the while screaming
discontinue a partyand then pushed Sergeant Juan Morero, attempted to flee and flailed his arms at cops and behaved
You fucking fagand
homo.He was taken to Kings County Hospital with a black eye, a split lip and a bloodied mouth, needing 9 stitches and then taken to jail for 24 hours on charges of
attempted assaultand marijuana possession. Police questioned party-goers about whether they were having
screwing each other.When Campbell filed a lawsuit against the NYPD over the beating, more armed men, wearing police jackets, broke into his house without a warrant and with their badges hidden from view, refusing to give their names, demanding ID from the gusts at Campbell’s house and searching everyone there. According to Jabbar Campbell, the officers who attacked him are still on the job, although
they are being investigated by IAB (internal affairs bureau) and the ADA.
Stanley Gibson of Las Vegas, Nevada: Gibson, a 43-year-old US Army veteran suffering from severe anxiety and depression, had a series of run-ins with police over the course of two days and was acting increasingly erratic and disoriented. Police boxed in Gibson’s car on the road; when he refused to come out after an hour, the cops decided to force him out by breaking his windows with beanbag rounds and then filling the car with pepper-spray. Instead, Police Officer Jesus Arevalo fired seven live rounds from his rifle, killing Gibson, who was disoriented, completely unarmed, and had made no attempt either to come out of the car or to attack the police. Back in December, a government grand jury declined to indict Arevalo on murder charges
after evidence was presented during hearings closed to the public and Gibson’s family.Now that the case has already been decided using secret evidence, Metro is using Gibson’s case as the first case for their new
Police Fatality Public Factfinding Review, a
publicprocess created by Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association’s Chris Collins to replace the previous Coroner’s Inquest system for police shootings with a new system
intended to make the hearings less adversarial and promote the dissemination of information to the public.(To the public, natch; this only goes one way. In the new dissemination-system there is no opportunity for testimony from witnesses, no power to compel police to testify under oath, and no representation from the victim’s family or non-police witnesses.)
Alex Landau of Denver, Colorado [t/w: reporting of racist language and extremely graphic photos of injuries from the beating]: Landau, a 19-year-old Community College of Denver student, was pulled over by police, allegedly for
an illegal left turn.Cops escalated the traffic stop into a drug search; when they asked to search the trunk of his car, Landau refused, and asked whether they had a warrant — so a group of cops punched him in the face, then beat him for several minutes, after he fell to the ground, with fists, a radio, and a flashlight. They pressed a service revolver to his head and threatened his life. The cops claim they thought they saw a gun, but Landau was in fact completely unarmed. After they stopped beating him the cops laughed at him and said,
Where’s that warrant now you fucking nigger?[sic] Then they dragged him across the grass and left him to bleed; they denied him medical treatment for so long, while getting photos taken for their paperwork, that he went into shock on the way to the hospital. He needed 45 stitches and suffered a broken nose, a concussion, and brain injuries from his severe beating at the hands of the police.
Here is the creepiest bit of dystopian legal language that I have heard in the past month or so:
Keep in mind that one of the main activities of the
Real Time Crime Center right now is to watch, chase down, arrest, imprison and force unwanted psychiatric treatment on people who specifically have not been accused of committing any crimes (
The city [sic] is making a major push to sweep the streets of dangerous, mentally ill New Yorkers—and has even compiled a most-wanted list. … Those [)
mental hygiene] warrants mean that the patients are not wanted for a crime but instead are being sought because they are not getting their court-ordered treatment.
-  Content warning, for slurs from the headline on down, fear-mongering, ignorant scapegoating, and general police-state fascism. I apologize for the really very offensive and generally awful source article; I hate the New York Post in basically every possible way. ↩
From the West Coast to the East, here’s some news from occupied New York. After a great deal of stonewalling and under intense pressure from New York civil liberties groups, the NYPD has finally released reports on the results of its recent revival of random warrantless stop-and-frisk. Not surprisingly, the results demonstrate that not only is this police power fascist in principle, but also the application of the program is overwhelmingly racist in practice.
The NYPD last night released a report on its controversial stop-and-frisk procedure that breaks down by precinct — and by race — those who’ve been targeted.
The figures, all from 2011, show the precinct with the most stops by sheer numbers was Brooklyn’s 75th, which includes East New York and Cypress Hills.
More than 31,000 people were stopped, 97 percent of them either black or Hispanic.
Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct, covering Brownsville, was the next highest, with 25,167 stops. About 98 percent involved minorities.
The 115th Precinct — which includes East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights in Queens — ranked third, with 18,156 stops. Nearly 93 percent of those involved minorities, the figures show.
The 40th Precinct in The Bronx, which covers Mott Haven and Melrose, racked up the next highest number — 17,690 — with 98.5 percent involving minorities.
And at No. 5 was the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where there were 17,566 stops, with 88.6 percent involving minorities.
The New York Civil Liberties Union had fought for release of the stats last year.
After getting them, the civil-rights group said they show a pattern of racial profiling — a charge that the NYPD denies.
The NYPD, like most police forces, routinely issues blanket denials of obvious empirical facts, and expects to be believed because the press conference is called in an alternate dimension, where 98+% of all stops just happen to be directed at harassing black or Latin@ victims because of some objective and racially neutral standard of
Reasonable Suspicion. In the real world, of course, outside of political power-trip la-la land,
Reasonable Suspicion is an entirely meaningless standard, which in practice means nothing more than a police officer’s unreflective and unsubstantiated gut feelings about whether or not someone looks like they are up to no good. And whatever the intentions of NYPD management may have been in designing the policy, or the criteria, the overwhelmingly obvious practical effect of this kind of massive discretionary police power is a campaign of in-effect discriminatory racial harassment by police, which is fueled by the subtle and not-so-subtle sorts of racialized anxiety, tension, and suspicion that set off police officers’ gut reactions. (This is of course why giving police the power to use force, detain, threaten and search people, based on nothing more than their inchoate
suspicions is a fundamentally terrible and deeply dangerous idea.)
While it appears at first blush to be a slick, fact-filled response, nothing in the report can dispute the reality that stop and frisk NYPD-style is targeted overwhelmingly at people of color, so innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, that all but 12 percent walk away without so much as a ticket,NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement.
A total of 685,724 people — 8.6 percent of the city’s population — were detained by cops forreasonable suspicion.[sic] … Of that number, 9 percent were white, and 4 percent Asian, the figures showed.
The No. 1 reason for stop-and-frisks that year was possible weapons possession, the report released yesterday said.
You might be tempted to call racist harassment the occupational disease of police. If not for the fact that it is their occupation.
This is, incidentally, partly a story about how government policing, and police-state tactics like stop-and-frisk, are assaults on civil liberty in principle, and deeply structurally racist in applied practice. Also, though, — pay attention to the punchline at the end — I have to note that this is also a story about how the immediate practical effect of gun control laws in New York has been to provide the Number One legal pretext for a campaign of highly racialized police harassment. Like drug laws, and like any other law that serves to increase the legal power of police to threaten, coerce or arrest people for contraband possessions, gun control laws also are deeply structurally racist in their immediate practical effects.
- GT 2010-08-20: Your authorization says shoot your nation
- Anthony Gregory, Who Goes to Prison Due to Gun Control? in The Beacon (2012-12-21),
There was more news released today on the police-on-police manhunt in Los Angeles, and the out-of-control police violence and jumping-the-gun overkill shootings in Torrance, California, which I mentioned previously the other day Now it turns out that they lit up not just one completely innocent pick-up driver, but two. Emphasis added.
David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way.
Seconds later, Perdue’s attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.
His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.
The incident involving Perdue was the second time police looking for the fugitive former LAPD officer opened fire on someone else. Torrance police said the officers who slammed into Perdue were responding to shots fired moments earlier in a nearby area in a nearby area where LAPD officers were standing guard outside the home of someone targeted in an online manifesto that authorities have attributed to Dorner.
In the first incident, LAPD officers opened fire on another pickup they feared was being driven by Dorner. The mother and daughter inside the truck were delivering Los Angeles Times newspapers. The older woman was shot twice in the back and the other was wounded by broken glass.
In Perdue’s case, his attorney said he wasn’t struck by bullets or glass but was injured in the car wreck, suffering a concussion and an injury to his shoulder. The LAX baggage handler hasn’t been able to work since, and his car is totaled, Sheahen said. According to the police department, Perdue’s car was headed directly for one of their patrol vehicles and appeared not to be yielding. When the vehicles collided, Perdue’s air bag went off, blocking the view of the driver, and one officer fired three rounds.
Do you feel safer now?
Mostly, this is just horrible and I hope that my friends in Southern California are staying safe. Connie Rice,
a civil rights attorney, was consulted by the authors of the L.A. Times article, but what they chose to print from her statement was not anything having to do with civil rights; it was
They [government police] don’t know where he is, and they’re going to be edgy and jumpy Don’t get in their way. They’re in a special state of consciousness right now, and they’re not used to being hunted. I don’t know how much talk about civil rights issues in this homicidal police rampage was edited down to get that pull-quote, so I don’t want to blame Connie Rice for anything if this was taken out of context by the reporters. However, I will say that while it may be sensible practical advice to tell folks to stay away from the cops right now — while they are acting like twitchy, homicidal maniacs, and shooting literally anybody who moves the wrong way — it’s not clear how this advice is supposed to help someone like David Perdue. After all he didn’t
get in [the police’s] way; they rammed his truck from behind. And if the attitude you have to take towards government police right now, even when they don’t come right after you for driving down a residential street, is essentially to treat them like mad dogs and do anything you can to keep a safe distance from them, what does that tell you about policing?
Government police are immensely politically and socially privileged, and they constantly demand extraordinary legal immunities and social deference. The reason that police use to justify the special powers and immunities that they get relative to the rest of the population is, in their constant refrain, that they’re
putting their own lives on the line, supposedly
for our safety. Actually, what constantly happens, and what is happening right now in Southern California, is that police jump on guesses, shoot first and ask questions later, and rely on boss cops and city lawyers to make up excuses for any mistake or any aubse, and so to protect them from any legal consequences whatever for when they attack, hurt or kill unarmed, defenseless or completely innocent people. As a result, when the chips are down, what happens, over and over again, is that police put our lives on the line, in order to protect their own safety, and their political privileges and legal immunities ensure that they will never be held accountable for whatever they do to us in the process.
Government police are one of the greatest menaces to public safety in the United States.
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- GT 2013-02-09: Public Safety
- GT 2009-09-04: 59 shots
- GT 2010-08-20: Your authorization says shoot your nation
- GT 2008-02-18: Cops are here to protect you.
- GT 2009-01-12: Cops are here to protect you. (#8)
-  The jumbled grammar here — which, like most writing that was copied more or less directly from cop-speak, is full of passive constructions, lost subjects, rhetorical misdirection fractured causation, and seems more or less entirely calculated to erase the subjects of sentences, in order to ensure maximal obscurity about what police actually chose to do and when they did it — makes it hard to parse out this piece of information. But other reports have made clear that the
shots fired moments earlier,which the cops who rammed Perdue’s truck were responding to and which got them afraid, were shots fired by other police officers, specifically the shots fired when LAPD opened up 20-30 rounds on the women in the first pickup truck. So one set of cops is hunting another cop who’s been shooting cops; the first set of cops flies off the handle and lights up the wrong pickup truck; the gunfire from their mistaken-identity overkill shooting frightens another set of cops, and so they flip out, then ram and light up the first pickup truck they see coming. ↩