Category Archive 'Police Misbehavior'
02 Sep 2007

Ben Stein on the Minneapolis Police Entrapment of Larry Craig

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Ben Stein had some sensible remarks, which I quite agree with, on Fox News with Neil Cavuto. The clip is, unfortunately, derisively linked by the left, so please ignore the monkey noises and watch out for thrown feces as you approach the cage.

01 Sep 2007

Larry Craig Should Not Resign

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I know a black sheep old-time member of the Conservative Movement, who would often complain lugubriously over his cups (in relation to the unhappy consequences to his conservative career of his own pecadillos) that “the Conservative Movement does not know how to tend its wounded or bury its dead.”

I was tempted to apply that observation to the behavior of Republicans in the case of Senator Larry Craig, but listening to the 8:23 Minneapolis police tape (NY Times transcript) it isn’t even obvious to me that Senator Craig was genuinely wounded.

In the first place, it is perfectly clear that no sex, not even any explicit sexual proposition, ever actually occurred. It is also clear that the covert signals Senator Craig supposedly made were in dispute between himself and Sergeant Karsnia, the arresting officer, and that Karsnia’s version features at least one very major implausibility. Karsnia claims that, as a signal, Craig reached below the divider between his bathroom stall and the stall to his right, with his left hand palm down, and rubbed the bottom of the divider. How could anyone possibly physically do that in the cramped confines of a typical public bathroom stall?

It is also quite apparent, listening to the tape, that Karsnia is artfully and intensely manipulating Craig. He is continuing to sell Craig on the plea deal, and he is also doing his level best to persuade Craig to assent to his own preferred version of the facts. The tape does not contain the whole of their conversation, and the portion released was clearly made in order to support the guilty plea which had been previously negotiated.

Common sense tells us that Karsnia must have threatened Craig with far more serious charges, charges involving the possibility of felony convictions, life-time sex offender status, public scandal and personal ruin, then offered a deal. In Karsnia’s deal, Craig would plead guilty only to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. It would be like a speeding ticket. Craig would simply plead guilty to disorderly conduct, pay $575 in fine and court fees, and walk away a free man. He would even be able to catch his original flight. And, best of all, there would be no publicity, no scandal, no ruinous sexual charges.

We can see just how well the Minneapolis Police Department kept its side of that plea bargain. So why should we believe one of its members’ allegations of about intrinsically ambiguous signals?

Just how plausible is it that a married 62-year-old Senator is in the habit of passing the time between changing planes by finding himself some sort of awkward and unseemly sexual encounter featuring heaven-only-knows whatever precise activity which may be conducted beneath the divider between two lavatory stalls?

As Eric at Classical Values observes, that this is the second major national sex scandal involving a Congressional Republican with no actual sex.

The problem is not one of Republicans not knowing how to tend their wounded. The problem is that Republicans don’t know how to handle scandals, either defensively or offensively.

The Administration’s opponents leak the highest level National Security secrets to the Press, and only one single Intelligence Community official is ever accused, no trial ever takes place. There are no convictions and no punishments. On the other hand, the mere identification of Ambassador Wilson’s wife’s role in assisting his trying to impeach British Intelligence reports of Saddam’s efforts to secure uranium (for a second time) from Niger, in democrat hands, shook the Bush Administration right down to its timid and quivering foundations.

Barney Frank survived a gay prostitution ring being run from his Washington apartment by a gay prostitute he himself had previously hired. But, in the case of a Republican, it only takes a mere accusation for the Party leadership to run for cover, our own editorialists to demand summary execution, and the accused to slink away, his career permanently destroyed.

Bill Clinton sexually exploited a 22-year-old White house intern, and the democrats persuaded a substantial portion of the public that it was downright evil of Republicans to pry into the President’s private sex life.

Republicans need to develop the capacity both to take the heat of the unfair accusations of their adversaries without flinching and to fight back.

Larry Craig has one of the best voting records in the Congress. I don’t personally care if he has a habit of enjoying relations with Idaho sheep by the light of the full moon, and I’m skeptical that he is guilty of anything in Minneapolis. I hope that he will tough it out, and not resign.

23 Apr 2007

A Very Questionable Shooting

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A man and a woman were killed at a luxury oceanfront resort when police fired into their bungalow after they refused to drop a handgun, authorities said.

Is that so?

The story says there was an affluent couple, a domestic dispute, a naked woman, and two people pointing the gun at the police in turn.

They can’t really both have been pointing the gun at the police at the same time, now can they? So why did these cops need to shoot both of them? For that matter, since the police story does not include anyone actually firing at the police, why was it necessary to shoot anybody.

The last few decades have featured the ill-advised militarization of American police; a virtually infinite increase in police paranoia, cowardice, and incompetence; and the vanishing of common sense from police work. There are federal sources of training, operational standards, and philosophy behind these developments which badly need to be stopped.

29 Nov 2006

Jury Verdict Impossible to Understand

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The Morning Call reports:

Five Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) police officers used excessive force to restrain a man high on crack cocaine who killed a drug dealer with a samurai sword and set him on fire, a federal jury ruled Tuesday night.

The verdict, after four hours of deliberation, stunned officers Matthew Crenko, Matthew Lazur, David Strawn, William Kissner and Louis Csaszar, and surprised Senior U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam, who called it ”remarkable.”

Sonny Thomas claimed he didn’t resist police efforts to handcuff him, but jurors found the officers violated his constitutional rights when they punched and kicked him that night in January 2005.

Thomas, 50, who testified he suffered bruises and recurring migraine headaches as a result of the violent scuffle, sought $35 million in damages but was awarded $1.

The jury found that five other officers named in the suit — Jeremy Alleshouse, John Iatarola, Mark DiLuzio, Moses Miller and Ronald Brazinski — did not use aggressive force or violate Thomas’ Fourth, Fifth and 15th Amendment rights of due process and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

It’s impossible to sympathize with the defendant’s claims of “bruises and recurring migraine headaches.” And the judge’s comment on the jury’s verdict (“remarkable”) seems to indicate that he disagreed with their decision.

But they awarded the defendant a mere $1, which has to be interpreted as indicating that they believed the police behaved improperly, and felt obliged to rule accordingly, but had no inclination to do anything meaningful for the defendant whatsoever. I would say that Mr. Birkbeck has misreported the story completely. He immediately arouses our indignation at the defendant’s actions, supplies no information supporting the jury’s decision, and simply treats the whole affair as a “man bites dog” bizarre incident. But there was clearly a bit more going on here.

27 Nov 2006

New York Bachelor Party Shooting

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Sean Bell, the unfortunate groom-to-be, shot by undercover NY police in the aftermath of his bachelor party at the Kalua Cabaret strip club in Queens made a serious mistake, according to this FOXNews report.

(One) undercover (officer), thinking there was about to be a drive-by shooting in front of the club involving Bell’s group, followed Guzman, Bell and two others to their car.

“It’s getting hot! Something’s going to happen! Something’s going down!” the undercover radioed to his backup.

He hurried to the front of Bell’s Altima, which was parked on the side of a nearby street, and jumped in front of it.

That’s when the undercover put his right leg up on the hood of the Altima and began screaming that he was a cop, the sources said.

The cop was leaning over the hood of the car to try to see the hands of the people inside and make sure they didn’t have any guns, they said. But Bell floored the gas pedal and headed for the cop, the sources said, striking him and badly cutting his knee.

One of the Altima’s passengers — who possibly had a gun — jumped out of the back of the car, the sources said.

Around the same time, an unmarked Toyota Camry driven by a plainclothes police lieutenant and another cop behind him pulled up, but overshot Bell’s car. A police van with an officer and the narcotics detective then managed to block Bell’s car in.

Bell’s Altima first struck the police van in the driver’s desperate bid to escape, then backed up and struck the roll-down metal doors of a commercial building behind him. He then revved his car again toward the undercover — which prompted the cop to scream, “He’s got a gun!” and start firing, according to the sources, with the bullets passing through Bell’s car.

“The undercover thought they had more than one gun. He thought they would do anything to get away. He was yelling, ‘Let me see your hands!'” one source said.

The other cops, thinking they were under attack, started firing at the car, too.

Unfortunate, and doubtless a classic example of poor police marksmanship and gun-handling, but one is forced to face the fact that choosing to attempt to run down a police officer was a very bad decision on Mr. Bell’s part, resulting in Mr. Bell himself bearing the primary responsibility for subsequent unfortunate events.

One could not help reflect that if only the unfortunate shooting victim had previously viewed this helpful Chris Rock video: How Not To Get Your Ass Kicked By Police, he might have avoided making that particular fatal mistake.

22 Nov 2006

Atlanta Police Kill 92 Year Old Woman in Drug Raid

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Another atrocity produced by our absurd drug laws. It sounds like the lady died bravely defending her home.

Houston Chronicle:

ATLANTA — Police who shot and killed a 92-year-old woman after she wounded three officers were looking for a man who sold drugs to undercover agents at her home earlier that day, authorities said Wednesday.

The agents got a search warrant after buying drugs Tuesday afternoon from a man in Kathryn Johnston’s home, Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher said.

Johnston’s niece, Sarah Dozier, said her aunt likely had reason to shoot the three plainclothes investigators as they stormed her house.

“My aunt was in good health. I’m sure she panicked when they kicked that door down,” Dozier told WAGA-TV, adding that there were no drugs in the house. “There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog.”

Police insisted the officers did everything right before entering the home, despite suggestions from the woman’s neighbors and relatives that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Johnston was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years, Dreher said. The officers “knocked and announced” before they forced open the door and were justified in shooting once fired upon, he said.

Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights activist and spokesman for the family, said he could understand why Johnston would have a gun because she lived in a high-crime area. “She was afraid,” Hutchins said. “This is a horrifying situation in a neighborhood where crime happens often. This incident is a result of a mix-up.”

As the officers approached the house around 7 p.m., a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

One was hit in the arm, another in a the leg and the third in the leg, face and chest, with the chest shot striking a bullet-resistant vest. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were expected to recover, police said.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office is conducting its own independent investigation into the shooting, but said a preliminary review shows the officers had a legal right to search the home.

Hutchins said he would try to meet with Police Chief Richard Pennington and would meet with lawyers.

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