Florida cops are clueless about the law

We’ve published several articles about the militarization of local police departments as well as cops who are simply out of control. Those are really two separate issues but both speak to a dangerous environment in local police departments around the nation.

Today we’re writing about cops in Florida who are simply clueless about the law with a really pathetic result.

Let’s be clear, being a cop isn’t an easy job. They are usually dealing with people in less than ideal situations, the job can be dangerous, and we’re going to write about this particular aspect of the job next week. No hints.

The problem with police departments is that they are forced to hire from that group in the general population known as “people”. That creates a problem because “people” can be more than a little erratic, without regard to their job. This creates an environment, like in any workplace, where some relatively small percentage of the workforce are very high performers loved by all, most of the workforce is reliable and gets their jobs done with a minimum of drama, and a small percentage of the workforce are, well, for lack of a better term, assholes.

That formula works very well in every group of employees where the number of workers is over two. Got three employees? We’d bet that one falls into each group. It’s called life.

Here’s where we have issues with police. It’s often referred to as “the thin blue line”. In other professions, virtually all other professions, those who are in category three are recognized for who they are very quickly and some form of remediation happens, as they are shunned by co-workers and eventually terminated by The Boss. They aren’t tolerated, and nobody makes excuses for them, in fact co-workers may just find other stuff to blame on them because, since everybody KNOWS they’re a jerk nobody questions their guilt. It’s all pretty Darwinian and works pretty well in society at large.

Then, there’s “the thin blue line”.

Cops tend to have an “us vs. them” attitude for reasons that should be obvious. The net effect of that attitude is quickly destroying the credibility of local police in the eyes of the citizens they “protect and serve”. As a matter of fact, it’s so bad in most metropolitan areas of the nation that “protect and serve” is increasingly regarded as a joke.

This particular incident is a prime example of an asshole at work.

This officer doesn’t realize that recording a police officer is absolutely legal. Everywhere. In an effort to intimidate this young lady, he tells her that recording an officer is a felony and notes that he knows more about the law than she does.

In fact both of those points are lies.

Here’s Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, who wrote an editorial about this subject. Reynolds is a law professor in Tennessee.

All over America, police have been arresting people for taking video or making sound recordings of them, even though such arrests are pretty clearly illegal. Usually, the charges are dropped once the case becomes public, and that’s the end of it.

[…]

In these cases, the courts and juries stood up for the obvious proposition that police officers, doing their jobs on the public dime, don’t have a privacy right against the citizens who pay their salaries. In an era when government feels free to record citizens whenever they’re out in public, this works both ways.

[…]

Some have proposed a federal civil-rights law specifically recognizing the right of citizens to record police, and including severe punishments for police and prosecutors who violate that right. Frankly, it seems like a pretty good idea. Until then, however, we need to educate both police and citizens that photography is not a crime, even when those who wield government power, ostensibly on behalf of the citizenry, would rather not be photographed.

Just to drive the point, a judge in New York City who ruled against the “stop, question, and frisk” policy in NYC penned a requirement that police wear personal recording gear and inform the people they’re interacting with that they’re being recorded. There have also been studies that have found when police are recording interactions cooler heads prevail on both sides almost every time.

The reaction of the local police department is the real problem here. They admit they have a policy on recording that clearly allows it. The officer in question is currently being defended by his peers. See employee classification #3 above.

This jerk should be terminated. He probably should be charged with assault and battery and unlawful arrest (he clearly didn’t know either the law or his department’s policies). He and the city should both be sued for enough to put her kids through college.

Note: if you’re a police officer and you’re offended by this article you need to consider how the employee #3s in your department are treated. If you’re not actively working to get them off the force, you’re the problem.

If you would like to rebut anything we’ve said here please feel free to use the contact form and write a post in rebuttal. We’ll publish it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

CurmudgeonCheckOut

Shortlink:

Posted by on February 22, 2014.
Filed under Culture.
Tagged with: .
Michael Becker is a long time activist and a businessman. He's been involved in the pro-life movement since 1976 and has been counseling addicts and ministering to prison inmates since 1980.Becker is a Curmudgeon. He has decades of experience as an operations executive in turnaround situations and in mortgage banking. He blogs regularly at The Right Curmudgeon, The Minority Report, Wizbang, Unified Patriots and Joe for America. He lives in Phoenix and is almost always armed.

You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
  • cirby

    The first thing to do is scale way, waaay back on qualified immunity for police officers (and all other government employees). For a long time now, “I thought I was doing my job” has been a nearly ironclad defense for police who screw up or do something really bad.

    This needs to stop. When an officer (or a government official) steps outside of their job responsibilities and does something as stupid as the guy above, there should be immediate – and strong – penalties equivalent to the actions taken against any random citizen doing the same thing.

    Even if they can’t prove criminal actions, immediate dismissal for failure to know such obvious policies and laws should be first on the list.

    • Michael Becker

      You are absolutely right on the money cirby.

    • blujkts

      ” immediate dismissal for failure to know such obvious policies and laws should be first ” Come on guys, these are UNIONS, it will never happen.

    • J Calvert

      Police officers should be given the same leeway in violating the law in their job that I’m given in mine by state and federal prosecutors. None.

      Additionally, blatant violation of company policies would get me fired. The same standard should apply to these police officers.

  • cirby

    The first thing to do is scale way, waaay back on qualified immunity for police officers (and all other government employees). For a long time now, “I thought I was doing my job” has been a nearly ironclad defense for police who screw up or do something really bad.

    This needs to stop. When an officer (or a government official) steps outside of their job responsibilities and does something as stupid as the guy above, there should be immediate – and strong – penalties equivalent to the actions taken against any random citizen doing the same thing.

    Even if they can’t prove criminal actions, immediate dismissal for failure to know such obvious policies and laws should be first on the list.

  • Retired military

    “If you would like to rebut anything we’ve said here please feel free to use the contact form and write a post in rebuttal. We’ll publish it”
    Pray that Lawrence Westlake doesn’t take you up on the offer and writes a 2 page paragraph.

  • warnertoddhuston

    One of my ideas has been to eliminate every tiny podunk police force out there and enlarge the county sheriffs offices to cover the areas where the unprofessional, ill-trained, and down right anti-American little podunk forces used to patrol. This will eliminate some of this stuff (but not all of it, naturally). It will also make government cheaper as we won’t be funding these unnecessary police forces.

    • Walter_Cronanty

      Note that the storm trooper is, according to the news station, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy.

    • mistryla

      I live in a town with a little podunk police force, all 2 of them. They both grew up here and are far more polite than the county deputies. I’d much rather keep ours in town.

      Edited to correct a typo.

    • S H

      Don’t think it will help. In California the Sheriffs know the law but often work to not follow it. You take them to court and they loose and they just switch to a new trick to try to get around it.

    • DocRambo

      Good example is Euharlee, GA, where a female cop blew away a 17 y.o. who answered the door with a Wii controller in his hand. No warning, Just flat shot him as soon as door opened and then didn’t even try to put pressure on the wound and let him bleed out in front of his little sister who she also terrorized. Serving a warrant for a misdemeanor, she had no business having her gun out and pointed when the door opened. Reading the various police abuse websites has me rethinking my attitude towards LEO’s.

    • get2djnow

      I think that part of your idea has some merit (economies of scale), but the other part (local accountability) fails on the basis of merit. If the people of a city want to fire a police chief for the actions/inactions of his or her department, then that becomes much more difficult at the county level.

  • GarandFan

    First of all Michael, I’m not “offended” by the article; but I would like to make some observations. There are assholes in every profession. “Thin blue line”? Have you ever tried to find a doctor to testify against another doctor in a malpractice suit? Ever try to get a lawyer or the State Bar to go after another lawyer? During my 30 years as a cop, I helped put two of my fellow officers in state prison and got a third one fired. As you point out, cops are drawn from the public pool. At one time my department had a laundry list of qualifications that had to be met; physical, mental and educational. Over the years lawyers got involved because those standards “were too restrictive”. So we had to LOWER the standards. Nice,huh? And of course, no citizen would ever file a malicious complaint against an officer in order ‘to get even’. Right?

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill; “Never has so much been asked of so few, by so many.” You call and you want a marriage counselor, juvenile counselor, first aid specialist, crime scene analyst, traffic investigator, psychiatrist, martial arms expert, firearms expert…..and every year the public wants you proficient in some new skill set. Not to mention that on the 1st of every year, get ready to “know” all the new laws now in effect, as well as provisions of previous ones which have now been changed.

    What’s the solution? Whatever it is, it won’t be as simple as “you screw up, you’re FIRED!” Although they’ve made the news frequently, the problem is not endemic to Florida. I’ve a friend who lives in New Mexico. He tells me that their State Police are not particularly looked on with favor by the general public.

    Here in The People’s Republik of Kalifornia (specifically, San Diego) there’s a big deal going on right now with male SDPD officers sexually harassing women with whom they come into contact. One cop is now in state prison. Just recently complaints have been filed against a second cop. People are coming out of the woodwork to DEMAND that the Chief be fired because of “this culture of corruption”. Just the other day, another woman came out to file a complaint. She alleges that this 2nd officer also molested her over a year ago, after she’d been arrested and taken to jail for auto theft. Turns out, this 2nd officer was not the one who transported her to jail. Hmmmmm…..you don’t think she might be jumping on the bandwagon hoping for a cash settlement, do you? After all, one women just settled her sexual harassment suit with former San Diego Mayor Filthy Bob Filner for only $250,000.

    • http://www.harlemghost.blogspot.com/ HarlemGhost

      its always amazing that the “new” laws the police manage to never learn about are usually the ones designed to protect the rights of regular citizens … any new law that gives the police new powers seems to be studied carefully and implemented as soon as is possible …
      yes, it a hard job … so what … we should expect 100% and when they fail look very hard at the officer in question to determine his/her future in law enforcement …

      • GarandFan

        Newsflash: In any given year, our benevolent state legislators write about 1,000+ new laws and/or change sections of existing laws.

        • cirby

          So, since there are so many new laws and changes, it’s now okay for police officers to make up completely new ones on the spur of the moment to add to the list? You might note that the vast majority of those “1000+ laws” are changes in things that police officers don’t even enforce – stuff like inheritance and tax and real estate law.

          Any officer who claims they never heard about the video/recording rules is either lying or stupid – maybe both. Any department that is not training their officers on this issue is deeply broken. There have been enough court cases for every police department to have noticed, just from the standpoint of “we’ll get sued if we claim this.” Yes, even the little podunk towns in the middle of nowhere.

          This is not a subtle or obscure issue – it’s the sort of thing that should be repeated incessantly to every police officer on the street. “No, you can’t stop people from recording you, stop trying to arrest people for it or you will be fired.”

        • jim_m

          In a given year the public are expected to know, understand and obey all 1000+ of those laws.

          How ridiculous is it for you to demand that the public know all this and yet you make excuses for the police violating our rights and basically just making shit up to harass, assault and arrest innocent civilians?

          The law is the police’s job. That they do not know it is simply excusing them for doing a crap job. I understand that it isn’t easy.

          If you think that the creation of new laws is out of control (it certainly is) then don’t sit here making excuses and asking for a pass on incompetence and criminality, do something to stop the idiots from making new laws. Last time I checked the police get to vote too and they even have unions that can spend huge sums of money to get their issues heard.

        • Michael Becker

          That doesn’t change the fact that his department had put out specific training bulletins on this very thing – citizens recording police. You’re throwing up a straw-man and not doing it very well.

          • GarandFan

            I’m not making excuses for anyone. Keeping current is not as easy as it sounds. As Field Ops Sgt, one of my duties was to put out monthly training bulletins. They were always given out during daily briefings. Yet there was always some clown who claimed they never got the word or didn’t remember hearing about it.

          • Michael Becker

            You’re making excuses.

            I’ve worked in two industries that are heavily regulated by the Feds. There are strict compliance issues in both. If my company puts out a new compliance bulletin one of two things happens. I get an email with a training link and I there is online training on the issue and it’s recorded that I’ve completed the training. There is always a basic quiz on the training before it’s completed. The other option is face-to-face training with a manager or trainer. In that instance, we sign off on an attendance sheet that acknowledges the training.

            In either case, if somebody commits a compliance violation after training they”re walked out the door.

            There is no excuse for this crap and you’re making excuses. Obviously, in your house there’s no penalty for missing training and the chain-of-command doesn’t care. Specifically, YOU don’t care. Your statement is an outright admission that the training bulletins are a nuisance.

          • GarandFan

            I’m not making excuses. If you’ve worked for heavily regulated industries, then you should be well aware that there is always someone who claims they didn’t get the word.

            “Your statement is an outright admission that the training bulletins are a nuisance.”

            Large ASSumption on your part. Again.

          • Michael Becker

            Read my lips. Make a compliance error after you’ve signed off on training and you’re gone.

            As far as your incompetence, that’s not an assumption on my part, that’s a statement on your part. You say you’re in charge. You say you train people and they say you didn’t. You obviously either do not have records proving they attended training or they signed off and you just don’t give a damn.

          • GarandFan

            “Read my lips. Make a compliance error after you’ve signed off on training and you’re gone.”

            Again with the ABSOLUTE. My response – all depends. What was the error? “You’re gone”? Did someone staple page 2 before page 1? So your company spends how much training and paying a person – they make some MINOR error, they’re gone? You either have one hell of a lot of paranoid employees or one hell of a hiring/training budget.

            “You say you train people and they say you didn’t. You obviously either do not have records proving they attended training or they signed off and you just don’t give a damn.”

            I wrote that there will always be someone who said they didn’t get the word. Again Mikey, more ASSumption on your part.

            Now Mikey, none of the above words are very large. You should be able to comprehend them.

          • Michael Becker

            Snark doesn’t off well for you GF, you’re quite obviously not bright enough to handle it. It’s obvious that you’re very likely a government employee.

            Stapling paper incorrectly is not a compliance violation. Compliance is not a minor violation, it’s a matter that can result in serious fines or legal action. And yes, we train ‘em and if they violate compliance we fire ‘em. A lot cheaper than fines and lawsuits.

            Kind of like making the idiot in the video attend and sign off on training related to video. A whole lot cheaper than the lawsuits they’re going to be paying off.

            With respect to your stupidity “there will always be someone …”, that is precisely why you train on important matters and keep records. Not that you’d be able to figure that one out.

            You may now give your wife/GF/SO or boy butt buddy back the laptop, wipe the screen off first. I’ve wasted all the time I’m wasting on you, you’re not teachable because you don’t have the capability of understanding even simple concepts.

          • GarandFan

            Translation: “I’m a VICTIM!”

            “It’s obvious that you’re very likely a government employee.”

            I already told you I was a cop for 30 years. So much for reading retention.

            Any yes, I have been wasting my time. I look forward to your next opus.

          • Brucehenry

            We see here the level of respect that a long time commenter here, one who has always been pretty reasonable and pretty respectful of others, gets at the hands of the butthurt “authors” who have been writing here lately.

          • jim_m

            You’re a long time commenter here. No one respects you.

          • Brucehenry

            That’s not so. I almost always, or anyways pretty often, have my comments upvoted by “1 Guest Vote.” So there.

          • jim_m

            LOL. Very well. No one will admit to it then.

          • Michael Becker

            Log out, vote, log back in. :)

          • jim_m

            just what I was thinking

          • Brucehenry

            If I was gonna do that I’d have 15 or 20 guest votes every comment, genius.

          • john mcginnis

            If the person in question did not take a recorded test they don’t KNOW THE WORD. I a civie can be dismissed with cause for not fulfilling my continual training requirements.

          • jim_m

            I have to disagree. I have worked in heavily regulated industries. Making a mistake is not cause for dismissal unless it is really egregious. However, deliberate deviation from or disregard of the regs is cause for dismissal and that will happen every time.

          • Michael Becker

            I’ve worked in mortgage banking and in education. Banking was a whole lot stricter because I ran the bank. We had very structured rules regarding compliance and disclosures and we took no prisoners. If an originator didn’t follow the rules, which were very clear, they were gone.

            Education is somewhat looser. It typically takes multiple compliance violations, but three will get you walked, and they can be minor. It’s a matter of losing accreditation or Title 4 funding and that’s not messed with.

          • john mcginnis

            Bulletins don’t cut it. They can get tossed, ignored or worse. If you are not being tested for it, sign off on it under penalty of dismissal and hand it to the powers that be, then it really did not happen. Doctors, dentists, even beauticians have to take continuing education credits in my state. If they do not comply they lose their license to practice. Yet most police depts do not require the same for their officers.

            You stand on weak ground.

          • jim_m

            I believe the appropriate response here is that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

            You wouldn’t cut a civilian a break, why should police get a break?

          • Governor Squid

            Why is that clown still working in your department, after the second time such an excuse is offered? Cops who lie about stuff like training materials are cops who lie on reports, and in testimony, and are not the sort of people who should be carrying a badge and enjoying the protection of the Blue Brotherhood gang.

    • jim_m

      I think why people get so upset about the police is that unlike a doctor or just about any other job description, the police can forcibly intrude into your life and use the force of the law to destroy you and they can physically assault you and then criminally charge you.

      The ability of the police to abuse their office is far greater than just about anyone else, and we are increasingly being confronted with these transgressions. [and I would say that to a large degree we see these now because it is so much easier to disseminate information that it was just a few years ago, but then all that means is that the police were getting away with it before]

    • Michael Becker

      I hope she gets a huge cash settlement.

      One very positive step with regard to cops is eliminate on-the-job immunity when they violate policy or break the law. Put their net worth on the line.

      I’m well aware the problem isn’t confined to FL, it’s virtually every police department in the US. Jim addressed the stupidity of the “doctor” comparison so I won’t bother.

      Equally stupid is the Churchill quote applied to cops.

      Sorry, but you got your head stuck where the sun doesn’t shine.

      • GarandFan

        “I hope she gets a huge cash settlement.”

        The ‘victim’ waits a year to complain? She then files a complaint because she ‘believes’ the guy currently under investigation is the one who transported her?

        So we take her word for it. He’s a cop. Obviously guilty. What happens if she’s shown a line-up and can’t pick out the cop who transported her? Still guilty, right?

        Yeah Michael, SOMEONE does have their head up their ass.

        “Equally stupid is the Churchill quote applied to cops.”

        Really? Ever heard, “Why didn’t they; they could have; didn’t they know;……” Thanks to the County Board of Supervisors, the local PD Academy has a two day course on horses. How to corral a loose one, how to put a halter on them, and how to humanely kill one if it’s badly injured. Why? Because one Supervisor is a horse owner and loose horse got killed because a city cop “didn’t know”.

        “…eliminate on-the-job immunity when they violate policy or break the law.”

        That’s already the law, IIRC phrased as ‘performing actions outside the scope and duty of the law’.

        • cirby

          No, the victim didn’t wait a year to complain. She started complaining right there in the recording.

          It’s proceeding like it always does – cops screw up, arrest someone, the courts let the victim go, the victim hires a lawyer to sue the city (or state), the lawyer gets stonewalled for several months by the government’s lawyers, and it finally gets to court a half-year, a year, or several years down the road. For someone who claims to know so much about the legal system, you sure don’t seem to have a handle on how long it can take.

          If the local police academy has a two day course on how to restrain horses, they should have at least a short one on “it’s not illegal to record you, stop trying to arrest people for it, and especially don’t make up imaginary ‘felonies’ when you get caught doing something stupid.”

          • GarandFan

            Perhaps cirby, you should read what I wrote from the beginning. Either that, or your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired. The woman in question lives in San Diego and has NOTHING to do with the video. Feel free to remove your foot from your mouth at your convenience.

          • cirby

            With the multiple levels of the thread going on, I mixed them up. But the principle is the same. Sorry you can’t figure that out.

            The woman in San Diego has everything to do with the issue – police who do wrong, and need to get caught, as well as scammers. Recording the cops who do wrong will help stop both sides of the abuse – the cops and the bad guys.

        • jim_m

          The ‘victim’ waits a year to complain?

          So by that rationale we should not be prosecuting people for crimes more than a year old even though the statute of limitations has not expired.

          Perhaps we should reduce the statute of limitations for all crimes (including murder) to 12 months. After all, if the government really had evidence of wrongdoing they would have proceeded with prosecution straight away.

          • GarandFan

            See my comment to cirby.

          • jim_m

            I was addressing your specific dismissal of the complaint because it is a year after the event.

            If you do not wish to clarify or revise that criticism it is your right.

          • GarandFan

            According to Mr Becker we should pay her. I think the ‘complaint’ is suspect. She waited a year, then when 6 complaints against one officer showed up in a short period of time, she says ‘he did it to me too!’ Only problem …. the officer who transported her was not the one involved in the other 6 complaints. But as I said, Becker says ‘cut her a check’. Bullshit! The second officer has now been suspended while the accusation against him is investigated.

    • SaraB55

      During my 30 years as a cop, I helped put two of my fellow officers in state prison and got a third one fired.

      Yes, but you are a very rare exception among cops. I’ve worked in law enforcement (as a radio dispatcher), and I know first-hand that the great majority of cops would never, ever “rat” on a fellow officer. There is most assuredly a “blue wall of silence” among police.

  • 914

    Send him to the federal pen.

    • jim_m

      Nope. State or county jail would be more appropriate. Sure, he might run into old friends he helped put away. Sauce for the goose.

  • LiberalNightmare

    This officer doesn’t realize that recording a police officer is absolutely legal. Everywhere.
    >>

    The officers job is to know the law.

    Not only does he have a professional duty to know the law, but the police dept he works for has a responsibility to make sure that he knows the law.

    Its ridiculous to assume that he doesn’t know that he is violating this persons rights.

    There is a concentrated effort by police dept’s to resist allowing citizens to record them.

    The officer needs to sued.
    The police dept needs to be sued.

    Only when cities are faced with going broke to pay settlements will the police depts fall into line.

  • stan25

    I am sure that police departments are mandated to follow Federal guidelines, if they want any taxpayer dollars from the Fed. I’ll also bet a dollar to a donut that these federal guidelines, include departments toe the federal line when it comes to enforcing the law.

    Now we all know that there are federal agencies that want to control how everything in this country works. That includes law enforcement. These same federal agencies want a Police State; where everyone is guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. Particularly, with the current Administration and more specifically the current DoJ.

  • jim_m

    Police officers (like the one in the video) are not held responsible for actually knowing the law. In this case the officer does not know the law, yet he asserts that he does and uses his position of authority to first threaten the woman and then to assault her and ultimately to violate her civil rights. And he does this with the confidence that he has nothing to lose. Even if he is wrong (which he was) he knows that the government will back him up, the department will back him up and his union will back him up. He won’t have to spent a penny on his defense. He further knows that no prosecutor will seek any criminal charges against him.

    As Cirby points out, the age when police should be afforded any sort of immunity is over. It used to be that police needed immunity because people would make up slanders and false accusations. But today, with the ubiquity of video cameras, neither the police nor the public can hide from the truth. Immunity is unnecessary because it is easy to establish what really happened.

  • SteveCrickmore075

    For an American policeman, being ‘clueless about the law’ may inspire confidence in his superiors, that the officer in question, has the ‘right stuff’ to last in his profession. Having ‘too many clues about the law’ could be grounds for dismissal or being ruled out from being hired in the first place. If you think I am kidding, read Connecticut police department says applicant is ‘too smart’ to be a cop.

    The New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training and be more intelligent than his commanding officers. Solving complicated murders also is obviously not too high in pólice priorities. Most Cops Just Above Normal The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average.

  • Vagabond661

    How often have we heard “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

  • blujkts

    I think cops do know the law, but they can use obstruction of justice for anything they choose…”ma’am, put the cell phone down, put it away, turn it off” and if you dont comply with any of their commands, youre arrested for Obstruction.

    • M_Becker

      Those arrests are getting tossed wholesale by courts and are costing cities lots of money.

  • Guest

    Great piece Especially giving her compensation. A single mother and very hot babe!

  • D. I. Genes

    Great article. Compensation is indeed due her. A single mother and very hot babe!

  • Lawman45

    “Note: if you’re a police officer and you’re offended by this article you need to consider how the employee #3s in your department are treated. If you’re not actively working to get them off the force, you’re the problem.”

    With the exception of Frank Serpico, ALL cops are accompliaces of the bad ones. They see other officers breaking Law and dept. policy everyday but, like the criminals they are, they won’t snitch. The “thin and crooked blue line” spends at least 1/2 its effort in various cover ups.

    This is why the POLICE can never clean up themselves, they are all dirty.

  • Mike55_Mahoney

    It’s a blunt object weapon, but grand juries need to recover and exercise thier powers of independence to investigate and indict where official or prosecutorial misconduct is reported. Then petit juries need to exercise their power to decide both law and fact.

  • Michael Darrin Chaney

    It’s interesting how “ignorance of the law is no excuse” unless you’re in a profession that’s supposed to know and enforce “the law”. The proper thing to do is scale back qualified immunity to only cover those things that are part of a police officer’s job. If he is running after a thief and he damages your flowers then he shouldn’t be held responsible, for instance. But if he’s enforcing non-existent laws, well, sorry, it’s never part of his duty to enforce laws that don’t exist. So drop the immunity BS and charge him as a criminal. Since these are felonies he can’t carry a gun or be a police officer anymore if convicted, so firing him should be automatic.

  • laughnow

    Sounds like this same tactic occurs everywhere. People are arrested in Town of Cary, NC like this frequently, by the local Gestapo.

    • Brucehenry

      I live in Garner and work in Cary but I’m not familiar with any similar cases. Could you provide a link please?

      • jim_m

        Why? Are you looking to join the Gestapo?

        • Brucehenry

          As far as I know any cases where people have been arrested by Cary Police for filming officers has gone unreported by local media, even the local, decidedly lefty, “Indy” paper.

          Now, I AM familiar with the case of Jesus Huerta, a Durham, NC teen who “shot himself,” while his hands were cuffed behind his back, in the back of a Durham police car, according to Durham police. But not to worry, the police chief assures us that everything’s on the up-and-up.

          I’d like to know about these alleged Cary cases because I work there. In the past, I’ve always found the Cary PD to be professional and efficient, with quick response time etc. Cary is known as one of the safest cities of its size in America. Of course, “safe” is not synonymous with “free,” I understand that.

  • boyd2

    ” the job can be dangerous, and we’re going to write about this particular aspect of the job next week. No hints.”

    Police work does not make anyone’s list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs. That is easy to look up. Hint. Hint.

    • M_Becker

      Yep. Same for firefighters.

    • dwpittelli

      It’s a straw man argument to equate “job can be dangerous” and “top 10 most dangerous jobs.”

      • boyd2

        It’s only a strawman if you don’t think degree matters. But if degree does not matter then the busboy down at my local cafe has the toughest job around.

        • dwpittelli

          There are many jobs in America. To deny that the 11th most dangerous job is a dangerous job is to deny reality. BTW, I see cops ranked at #10 on this list: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/11/12/the-15-most-dangerous-jobs-in-america/

          • boyd2

            “To deny that the 11th most dangerous job is a dangerous job …” Ok, now THERE is a strawman.

          • dwpittelli

            Not a strawman. Your condescendingly made (and false) claim that “Police work does not make anyone’s list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs” was an attempt to refute the notion that “the job can be dangerous.” Own up to it and admit to making a mistake — we all do sometimes.

  • larryj8

    No cop is any better than the worst cop he/she allows to remain in the force. If you have a dirty cop in your department and look the other way, you’re just as dirty. If you have a “bully with a badge” cop who abuses people and you do nothing, you’re just as guilty. To the honest cops out there who do a vital, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job who want to regain your community’s trust – clean up your departments. Trust, once lost, is very difficult to ever regain. Trust is impossible to regain if the abuses continue. If you don’t care about that, then don’t be surprised when some ballot initiative that would benefit the police department gets voted down.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

    Congratulations on your Installanche Michael…

  • Mike Smith

    Ignorance of the law is only an excuse if you are in law enforcement.

  • LouAnnWatson

    reminds me of what chief bryant said to deckard in the movie blade runner, “Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. If you’re not cop, you’re little people!”

  • anarchyst

    Here are “police” practices that deserve to be exposed:

    #1. During a traffic stop, the police officer will touch the back of your car. The reason for this “touch” is that, quite often, the police officer will have a small quantity of narcotics (marijuana or cocaine) on him (in his hand) that he will rub on the car in order to help “justify a search”. When the dog is brought in, it will react to the drug on the vehicle and help “justify a search”. This tactic is mostly used against young people. The drug can also be “planted” on a “suspect”.

    #2. Most (if not all) cops possess a “throwdown” weapon. This “helper” obtained from a criminal who is then “let go” without his weapon and is always used to justify a questionable police situation and to “sanitize” a “crime scene and criminal police behavior.

    #3. If you are in the back of a police car, LIE DOWN on the seat. Police use the concept of “screening” to abuse their unwilling “passenger”. This involves, driving at high rates of speed, violent turns and other antics to get the passenger to “hit the screen” separating the front from the back with the face. Hence the act of “screening”.

    #4. If you are being handcuffed, quite often the police officer will wrench you arm behind you, forcing you to “turn around”. The officer will then add a charge of “assault” to whatever other charges they concoct against you (just for being forced to turn around). They “pile on” charges, hoping you will plead guilty to at least one.

    Remember–NEVER CONSENT TO SEARCH . . . You must be polite, but firm in your refusal. You can state that “you NEVER consent to searches” as well as using these “magic” words–”am I free to go?” The police officer MUST answer your question . . . If you are being detained and an illegal search takes place, you have legal recourse.

    Remember–police are not your friends . . .

  • anarchyst

    …wait till the TSA thugs start to “inspect” at bus and train stations and vehicle “checkpoints”. “Mission creep” is alive and well…not only with the FBI, but with ALL federal agencies…we already have a “Department of Defense”. What do we need a “Homeland Security” department for?? The “Department of Homeland Security” is the equivalent of the former East German Stasi or the Russian KGB.

  • anarchyst

    There are two things that could be done to reign in questionable behavior by police and other public officials.
    1. Eliminate “qualified immunity” for ALL public officials. If public officials (yes, this includes police officers and their administrators, firefighters, prosecutors, court officials and all other “public servants”). If they knew that they could be sued personally (and possibly lose everything they own), they would tend to behave themselves.
    2. Establish and enforce an “video audit trail” whenever there is interaction by any public official with the public. In the case of police and firefighters, no “video audit trail” would mean the inadmissability of “evidence” as well as censure and possible dismissal of public officials’ failure to assure that this “video audit trail” is present. A “video audit trail” would do much to eliminate the possibility of frivolous lawsuits by the public against public officials as well as assure that public officials “behave themselves”. This is especially true in police interrogation rooms where police-coerced “false confessions” occur with alarming frequency.
    These two changes would put the public on an equal footing with our “leaders” (who are actually supposed to be subordinate to us citizens).
    There have been many cases where people who have been legally recording police (mis)behavior have been harassed by police, their equipment damaged or destroyed, and charges brought against them. This police misconduct must stop! Severe punishment should be meted out to those public officials who interfere with lawful recording by citizens.

  • anarchyst

    Qualified immunity should be eliminated for firefighters as well . . .
    I include firefighters in the elimination of “qualified immunity” because despite being very rarely a dangerous profession, their arrogance has caused misery for many innocent people.
    Regarding firefighter arrogance, there are two cases that come to mind.
    One, is that of a suburban Detroit-area plating plant that experienced an out-of-control fire. When the fire department arrived on-scene, they pushed the owners of the facility out-of-the-way and REFUSED to utilize the established “fire plan” (which included turning off all utilities) that would have mitigated much damage. The building burned to the ground.
    Second, is the case of a Michigan firefighter who claimed to have an “arson dog” that could detect “accelerants”. This “firefighter” was instrumental in ruining many lives as his “results” were used to deny insurance claims (insurance companies LOVED this guy) as well as imprison innocent people for arson. Finally, one honest citizen had enough and (despite claims by the “arson dog’s” handler’s claim of “qualified immunity”) was able to get this “arson dog” tested. It turns out that this dog had no special abilities, but was acting on “cues” from its owner (no different than police “drug dogs”). Many innocent lives were ruined. Of course, this “firefighter” was protected by “qualified immunity” and could not be sued. The only satisfaction was that his career as an “arson investigator” was over.