Your Lying Eyes

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25 April 2008

NYC Shooting Detectives Get Off!

The day that Al Sharpton gets to decide who goes to jail and who doesn't has once again been delayed - hopefully that day won't be as soon as next January 20. I'm not real crazy about prosecuting officers of the law for actions taken in the course of doing their jobs. I mean, we give them guns, we tell them to maintain the peace, and to pretty much use their own discretion in doing so. Yes, there are rules, but all these rules ultimately require a judgment call on the part of the officer.

So if a cop is acting in his capacity as a police officer in good faith and ends up killing someone who probably should not have been killed, I don't see how we can call it a crime - incompetence, perhaps. Maybe (probably?) he should be fired for showing bad judgment, but mistakes aren't crimes (or they shouldn't be, at least). Screwing up on the job is not typically a crime - imagine failing to follow up on an important sales call, and being indicted for reckless procrastination.

I feel this way about Ruby Ridge, as well. Clearly there was no justification for anything law enforcement did in this tragic case, but I can't see charging the agents with crimes. There should have been mass firings, but not indictments (which there effectively weren't).

Now I'm not saying the police are immune to prosecution - obviously if they kill someone for personal gain or to cover up an act or to settle a score or out of hatred, it's a different story. But when it occurs in the course of official conduct and involves judgment calls, it's not a crime.

Examples of innocent officers: The Rodney King cops (probably over-reacted while trying to subdue a very large, uncooperative, and inebriated perpetrator), Ramos and Compean (used excessive force against a drug-smuggling illegal alien - not a crime), the guys who shot Amadou Diallo (really bad call - no intent to kill an innocent man - not a crime). Example of a guilty cop: Justin Volpe (not acting in his duties as a cop).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ruby Ridge case was an outrage. An unarmed woman, holding an infant in her arms, on her own property, was shot dead by an expert FBI marksman, and you say NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED? The FBI was even found by a federal judge to have planted ballistic evidence at the scene of the crime in a crude cover-up attempt.

You are obviously one of those typical New York-area assholes who worships anything the cops do. Its the likes of you who gave rise to that creep Giuliani. Its because of dipshits like you, Ziel, that we're becoming a police state. I think Paul Craig Roberts has made a pretty convincing case that the cops are out of control in this country. But you think he's a nut, probably because he doesn't worship Holy Israel like you do.

Go fuck yourself, you neocon twit.

April 26, 2008 9:31 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

If you read one single post on this site you would realize I am most certainly not a neocon - perhaps I'm a twit, can't speak to that.

Look, maybe there were crimes committed at Ruby Ridge, but not the killing of Weaver's wife. I think Roberts would agree that if there's no intent to commit a crime, there's no crime. The sniper clearly had no intention of committing a crime - what would be his motive to assassinate a woman holding an infant? He was told to do a job, and absent clear evidence we have to assume he did his job in good faith.

And I definitely think our policing is out of control, but that is a matter of policy - it's not the fault of the cops. A cop who believes his life is in danger is going to fire at his target - he's not going to think twice about it - he's not going to consider the ramifications. You can't deter it by throwing guys in prison who make honest mistakes. Maybe there's other ways to figure out who's better at these kinds of judgments than others. It would be nice if we could get rid of SWAT teams and assaults on homes - unfortunately, that seems pretty unlikely to happen any time soon. But in the meantime, I don't think we should blame individual cops for the mess we have.

April 26, 2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rules of engagement were altered at Ruby Ridge. The new rules of engagement: shoot first, ask questions later. This was a violation of due process as it denies the target the right to a trial. Some FBI agents at the scene specifically told their subordinates not to follow the new rules of engagement.
The FBI sniper who shot Mrs. Weaver was trying to kill Randy Weaver. Randy Weaver at that distance was not an immediate threat. So had the sniper succeeded in killing Randy Weaver, he would have violated Weaver's right to trial. I hold the sniper's actions to be a crime because cops should not have as POLICY "kill first, trial later."

April 26, 2008 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Go fuck yourself, you neocon twit.

Good job Tom- nice to hear from you. The Anger mgt Association has their own website.
Ziel, you are a gentleman for even responding to Mr Deep thinker

April 27, 2008 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember reading a blog post regarding this case in which it was suggested that it's a bad idea to use black officers in this type of undercover work. A white cop in street clothes pulling a gun on black suspects in a black neighborhood would cause less confusion. The suspects could understandably mistake the black undercover officer for being a neighborhood thug. Was it you who suggested this? Brian

April 27, 2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ruby Ridge atrocity was a deliberately planned outrage that started at the top and included entrapment and abuse of the judicial process.

This course of events continued to Waco and seemed to have been ended only by the worse atrocity at Oklahoma City. Sadly force only responds to force in a degraded society. The tough guys bash the weak, submissive, and law-abiding until someone snaps and hits back.

April 27, 2008 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ziel wrote:

"But when it occurs in the course of official conduct and involves judgment calls, it's not a crime"

I remember a case in Knoxville years ago where a cop pulled a guy over and shot him. He claimed that the guy was reaching for a gun. There was no gun. The 17 minutes or so of recording that the camera in the grill of his cruiser had of the incident was "mysteriously" missing. In my opinion, when the recordings are missing or tampered with...............Im going to assume guilt.

That being said, I have no idea about the latest New York Shooting. The fifty bullets seems excessive, but Ive not looked into the story. Believe me when I say this however, I lived with a cop, and they can be overbearing aggressive, very confrontational-hoping-something-happens-so-they-can-break-your-life-with-a-baton-or-taser-assholes par excellance. Ive heard them laugh and joke (we all drank together) about "whippin' some ass" and "testiLYING". In fact, more than one has told me "testiLYING is the cornerstone of all good law enforcement".

The moral to the story is not to find yourself in places that you could be in contention with the police if you can avoid it, and if you are (a protest rally or some such) make sure plenty of folks are around videotaping the incident with "feeds" back to the home computers or whatnot (so even if they take your recording device away, they know the "evidence" isn't at their disposal). If pulled over at a traffic stop, "kill'em with kindness", even being a parody of a uber polite citizen if you have to. You can always file a complaint later. There is no reason to risk their ire.

I keep in mind that police officers have to deal with scum about 90% of the time, so it takes a few minutes for them to switch gears and deal with respectful citizens. They instinctively pull the authoritarian voice and physical presence routine when interacting with someone new just like you do when training a dog or something. They want to project force to dissuade any notions you have of them harboring fear of you. Off duty alot of these guys were awfully nice. However I remember a couple in particular who used to hang with us (one out of the military) that made me shudder at the thought of them being given a gun and told to keep the peace out there.

April 27, 2008 1:16 PM  

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