Recently in Policing Category

Legalizing marijuana saves bushels of money because we no longer have to spend a dime on marijuana enforcement, right?  Um, not quite.  KCRA, Sacramento, reports:

The Sacramento City Council approved funding Tuesday night to enforce new marijuana laws set to take effect on Jan 1.

Sacramento police will get $850,000 for the first six months of 2018 in order to crack down on illegal marijuana grows in homes and neighborhoods.

That money would cover three sergeants, 12 officers and a city employee responsible for getting rid of the seized marijuana and cultivation equipment.

Sorry  --  April fools!  As this piece from the NYT, of all outlets, shows, the notion that police were brutalizing citizens simply because they wouldn't be seen doing it has now been shown to be false.

Indeed, the article goes so far as to suggest that the expense of bodycams isn't worth the candle, because the supposed police attitude of "I-can-do-it-because-you-won't-see-it" was a myth from the getgo.

Imagine that!  Still, I tend to favor bodycams, because legal outcomes should be based on truth, and bodycams  --  even when they don't catch much misbehavior by the police  --  are sure to capture a boatload by arrestees.

The Chokehold Issue

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Barry Latzer has this article in City Journal on the Eric Garner case.

This is a classic situation of the law as written versus the law as applied. Legally speaking, to hold Panataleo accountable for a chokehold smacks of an ex post facto law (or its due-process equivalent): punishment for acts not clearly prohibited at the time that they occurred. Or, to use a sports analogy, penalizing Pantaleo for this offense would be moving the goalposts. Because the Garner case, tragically, led to a death, and because it was racially charged and heavily covered in the media, Pantaleo faces sanctions for conduct that has not been seriously punished in the last two and a half decades. And that's simply unfair.

Early NY Cops

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Clark Whelton has this book review in the City Journal of Law and Disorder: the Chaotic Birth of the NYPD, by Bruce Chadwick.  The lesson for today that Whelton draws at the end has some resonance with my post of Wednesday.

Teaching Kids to Hate Cops

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LifeZette posts this mind-boggling story:

The Chicago Public School system is introducing a new curriculum for eighth- and 10th-grade students....

As part of a 2015 reparations deal, Chicago public school students will be [exposed] to a new six-lesson curriculum "about Jon Burge, a former CPD detective accused of using torture, primarily on black men in his custody between the 1970s and 1990s, to force confessions to crimes," reported The Columbia Chronicle.

Burge was allegedly responsible for torturing over 200 suspects in police custody between 1972 and 1991. The Chronicle makes it clear, however, that the true motivation behind the new course of study is not to educate Chicago's youth about Burge as much as to teach the myth of systemic racism in law enforcement.

"The first lesson calls for students to discuss opinions or experiences with racism and police brutality. This precedes discussion of Burge's human-rights abuses and the police officers whose actions helped him hide his crimes," reported The Chronicle.

It doesn't get any better.
Kent noted two weeks ago an article showing that the conclusions of the academic "experts"called criminologists tend to be skewed by their leftist tendencies.  One could hardly imagine a better example than the "report" noted this morning here at Sentencing Law and Polcy. The title of the entry is, "Jeff Sessions's evidence-free crime strategy." It's by John Jay College Professor David Kennedy.

I won't try to gussy it up:  Jeff Sessions should be flattered to be criticized by an article so thoroughly truth-free as this

PC and Effective Policing Don't Mix

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The always noteworthy online magazine LifeZette tells us about the predictable effects of shutting away inconvenient facts in the hope of offending no one about anything. See, e.g., this story about how the Portland, Oregon Police Department has stopped tracking gangs because gang membership tends to be concentrated among minority rather than white populations.  Tracking gang membership might thus be viewed as "insensitive" and, in some bizarre sense "discriminatory," notwithstanding that the records are true, legal and useful in suppressing crime, particularly in stressed neighborhoods.   

Heather MacDonald and I agree, as we often do, that going willfully blind  --  in the teeth of spiking violence, much of it from drug gangs  --  is not the path toward better policing or safer, more peaceful minority communities.

An Officer Doing His Job

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Barry Latzer, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has this article at City Journal.

The case against Pantaleo rests on the supposed chokehold that he used to make the arrest. He never sought to choke Garner to death, or even injure him. He was doing his job, taking a resisting man to the ground, as NYPD regulations provide. Had Garner been cooperative, as the officers requested, the confrontation would never have happened. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way," Pantaleo's partner had told him.
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Police should not be afraid to carry out their duties. The Pantaleo case tells cops that, even if they're just doing their job, they can't count on institutional support if the incident becomes a media sensation. New York City's safety, like that of any city, depends on police feeling secure in performing their duties. It's time to end Officer Pantaleo's ordeal. NYPD chief James O'Neill and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step up to the plate and dismiss the unwarranted charges against him.

Political Points vs. Public Safety

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The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs has this post with the above title.

Efforts by state and local politicians in California to direct local law enforcement to not cooperate with the federal government may score points in the world of politics. In the real world, public safety is going to suffer.
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A more immediate consequence of refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement may be a decrease in funding, personnel, and equipment provided by federal authorities to local task forces which enforce California state laws. These task forces, including those led by the Sheriff's Department in Los Angeles and others across the state, combat a myriad of state crimes that include human trafficking, gangs, drugs, auto/cargo theft, hate crimes, and environmental crimes. Political decisions to end cooperation with federal authorities on their law enforcement priorities may result in the federal Department of Justice deciding to remove these resources and direct them to states not antagonistic to federal law enforcement. Such a move would diminish public safety in Los Angeles and across California, where local law enforcement is already understaffed and underfunded.

At the end of the day, refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement may be a winning political strategy; it is not a winning public safety strategy.

Harmonizing with Only One Note

Ed Kozak in his Lifezette article yesterday notes that one prominent crowdfunding site turned its back on police officers targeted for murder because the lawsuit they aim to file does not promote "harmony:"

The website YouCaring, which describes itself as a company fostering "compassionate crowdfunding," has sent a loud and clear message to law enforcement officers across the country: It finds pro-police causes to be too "controversial" to host.

On Sunday the crowdfunding site removed donation pages set up by Donna Grodner, a lawyer who is suing Black Lives Matter and its leaders. Their legal action is on behalf of Baton Rouge police officers who were targeted for assassination by assailants inspired by Black Lives Matter rhetoric.

"In alignment with our mission, we removed this fundraiser because it was not within our community guidelines around promoting harmony," YouCaring chief marketing officer Maly Ly told PBS in an email. "We are not the right platform to air grievances, or engage in contentious disputes or controversial public opinion."

As you might expect, there is more to this story.

Jim Norman reports for Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Overall confidence in the police has risen slightly in the past two years, with 57% of Americans now saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in law enforcement -- matching the overall average for the 25-year Gallup trend.
The reversion to the mean is good news, but there are some disturbing trends in the crosstabs.

Though the overall numbers have rebounded, the years of national turmoil have only deepened the divide in the confidence that Americans of different ages, ethnicities and political beliefs say they have in the police. The loss of confidence is most apparent among Hispanics, liberals and those younger than age 35.
Over half a century after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the divisions by race and ethnicity should have diminished, but race-baiting by "activists" whose careers depend on division make things worse instead of better.  In addition, our young are attending educational institutions that have become more uniformly left wing over the years.  I believe this produces a Reverse Kingsfield Effect where young people enter college with some degree of common sense and walk out "with a skull full of mush."

Is the Klan Running Baltimore?

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Baltimore is a model liberal city, progressive all the way.  Not a Republican in sight. When a small-time drug dealer, Freddie Gray, died under suspicious circumstances in police custody, the six officers involved were forthwith charged with numerous crimes, up to and including murder (none was convicted of anything, however).

The prosecutor, black radical Marilyn Mosby, held a campaign-style rally when charges were brought to announce that "our time is now," never quite defining who "our" referred to.  She has been quieter since fumbling away the entire case.

The mayor, at the time Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, famously declared that the Freddie Gray rioters and arsonists needed "space to destroy."  Her desires saw more success than Ms. Mosby's, as the rioters took her up and torched a nice chunk of the city.

Then just in January there was the last gasp of Loretta Lynch's DOJ, engineering a stifling police consent decree with a half-clueless and half-complicit city.

So now what do we have?
The U.S. Supreme Court has once again unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on a criminal justice issue.  This time it was the Notorious Ninth's evasion of Supreme Court jurisprudence on police liability for allegedly excessive force.  In this case, police reasonably fired their weapons when a person in a shack they were searching pointed a gun at them.  It turned out to be a BB gun, but the officers did not know that at the time.

If law enforcement officers make a "seizure" of a person using force that is judged to be reasonable based on a consideration of the circumstances relevant to that determination, may the officers nevertheless be held liable for injuries caused by the seizure on the ground that they committed a separate Fourth Amendment violation that contributed to their need to use force? The Ninth Circuit has adopted a "provocation rule" that imposes liability in such a situation.

We hold that the Fourth Amendment provides no basis for such a rule. A different Fourth Amendment violation cannot transform a later, reasonable use of force into an unreasonable seizure.

A Welcome Change

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs has this post with the above title:

As the nation gets ready for Memorial Day, a day to remember the people who died while serving in the nation's armed forces, the past week signaled a welcome change in attitude towards law enforcement from the highest leadership in the nation. From the symbolic act of lighting the White House in blue during that week to an executive action directing a review of federal law that could lead to legislation making it a federal crime to attack law enforcement officers, there has been a sea of change in support for law enforcement.
Under the prior administration, law enforcement was often in the crosshairs of a rush to judgment. The pattern that started from the first days with the knee jerk condemnation of Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley for "acting stupidly," and continued non-stop with the invitation to the White House of a rapper who had a song dedicated to a fugitive cop killer, or using a police memorial service to defend anti-police protestors and lecture on criminal justice "reform" and gun control. 
Kent noted that an unrepentant terrorist will be honored in this year's NYC Puerto Rico Day parade (with Mayor de Blasio proudly marching in step).

Along those same lines, and also from the "you-can't-make-this-up" department, it now seems that Sydney plans to honor Black Lives Matter with a "peace" prize.

The Black Lives Matter movement will receive the Sydney Peace Prize, an award given by the Sydney Peace Foundation -- part of the University of Sydney -- and be honored at an event in the city in November, the foundation announced this week.

Black Lives Matter was chosen for allegedly "building a powerful movement for racial equality, courageously reigniting a global conversation around state violence and racism. And for harnessing the potential of new platforms and power of people to inspire a bold movement for change at a time when peace is threatened by growing inequality and injustice," the foundation's website states.

I registered my dissent.

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