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by Peter Moskos

December 31, 2009

Being a professor is a better job

"Most days I don't miss being a cop; being a professor is a better job." And so begins the thrilling story of Cop in the Hood.

Providing further evidence in support of this hypothesis, I'll be on vacation for the next three weeks in Thailand and Bali.

Happy New Year!

And of all nights to stay safe, tonight is the big one. Please don't get hit by any bullets, falling or otherwise.

December 30, 2009

And now you know... the rest of the story!

Fatal stabbing suspect Cyan Brown, 16, was the aggressor in Christmas Eve New York subway fracas, police say.

This happened in an area I go through a lot. The original reports said: poor girl "fondled" by group of bad men and stabbed one in self defense. The cop in me knew that wasn't the whole story (when will reporters ever learn?). The truth is never (or almost never) that simple. Now the real story seems to be coming out.

The account in the New York Daily News.

December 29, 2009

Murders down again in NYC

Illustrating once again that crime and the economy are not inherently linked. The story in the New York Times.

Taser shock in the courts!

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals (never known for its pro-police views) to be precise.

This perhaps landmark decision has been called, "The clearest and most complete statements yet from an appellate court about the limits of Taser use."

From the story by Hudson Sangree and Kim Minugh in the Sacramento Bee.
In the summer of 2005, Carl Bryan, 21, was pulled over for a seat-belt violation and did not follow an officer's order to stay in the car.
...
During his second traffic stop in Coronado, he got out of the car. He was "agitated … yelling gibberish and hitting his thighs, clad only in his boxer shorts and tennis shoes" but did not threaten the officer verbally or physically, the judges wrote.

That's when Coronado Police Officer Brian McPherson, who was standing about 20 feet away watching Bryan's "bizarre tantrum," fired his Taser, the court said.

Without a word of warning, he hit Bryan in the arm with two metal darts, delivering a 1,200-volt jolt.

Temporarily paralyzed and in intense pain, Bryan fell face-first on the pavement. The fall shattered four of his front teeth and left him with facial abrasions and swelling. Later, a doctor had to use a scalpel to remove one of the darts.
...
McPherson could have waited for backup or tried to talk the man down, the judges said. If Bryan was mentally ill, as the officer contended, then there was even more reason to use "less intrusive means," the judges said.

"Officer McPherson's desire to quickly and decisively end an unusual and tense situation is understandable," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the court. "His chosen method for doing so violated Bryan's constitutional right to be free from excessive force."

The court decision is here.

I think it's a very good decision, but I wish they had done so without hanging the officer out to dry. McPherson could end up in jail and lose his home. That's not right.

The court wrote:

If an officer’s use of force was “premised on a reasonable belief that such force was lawful,” the officer will be granted immunity from suit, notwithstanding the fact excessive force was deployed.
...
A reasonable officer in these circumstances would have known that it was unreasonable to deploy intermediate force.
...
Where an officer’s conduct so clearly offends an individual’s constitutional rights, we do not need to find closely analogous case law to show that a right is clearly established.
...
No reasonable officer confronting a situation where the need for force is at its lowest—where the target is a nonviolent, stationary misdemeanant twenty feet away—would have concluded that deploying intermediate force without warning was justified. We thus hold that Officer McPherson’s use of significant force in these circumstances does not constitute a “reasonable mistake” of either fact or law. ... Officer McPherson is therefore not entitled to qualified immunity for his use of the Taser X26 against Bryan.


Ouch.

How can the court say that "no reasonable officer" would conclude that force was justified? I’m reasonable (and against such Taser use) and I think what he did, prior to this decision, was legal! Given all the tasering incidents going on, it seems pretty obvious that many if not most officers would do exactly what McPherson did. Using a Taser in compliance situations has become standard operating procedure. That's what needs to change. This is a problem of policy and training, not one sadistic cop!

December 28, 2009

Terror Suspect

So what's the lesson with this guy? Seriously.

It's damn hard to stop people from doing harm if they're willing to kill themselves... but that's no real answer.

Here's one of many stories.

[poor Nigeria, their rep was bad enough with simply internet scams!]

[update:] Maybe it's this, from David Brooks' column in the New York Times.
At some point, it’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t the centralized system that stopped terrorism in this instance. As with the shoe bomber, as with the plane that went down in Shanksville, Pa., it was decentralized citizen action. The plot was foiled by nonexpert civilians who had the advantage of the concrete information right in front of them — and the spirit to take the initiative.

For better or worse, over the past 50 years we have concentrated authority in centralized agencies and reduced the role of decentralized citizen action.

December 26, 2009

Tooting Other People's Horns

Two of the best police books out there are little read. Too little read.

And top-quality and much more action packed than my book.

I've written about both these books before, but it can't hurt writing about them again.

Beyond Hope? by Michael East is about policing in Saginaw, Michigan. Unless you live in Saginaw, you probably won't find it in book stores, but you can buy it here. Beyond Hope? is one of those few books written by an active police officer under his real name. But East doesn't pull any punches.

The other is another book about the Eastern District. But his experience was very different from mine. Badges, Bullets, & Bars by Danny Shanahan.

They're both great books. I haven't met either of the authors. But both know more about policing than I do. And they write well. What more could you ask for?

Calls for Drug Legalization in Mexico

From the Wall Street Journal:
Growing numbers of Mexican and U.S. officials say—at least privately—that the biggest step in hurting the business operations of Mexican cartels would be simply to legalize their main product: marijuana. Long the world's most popular illegal drug, marijuana accounts for more than half the revenues of Mexican cartels.

"Economically, there is no argument or solution other than legalization, at least of marijuana," said the top Mexican official matter-of-factly. The official said such a move would likely shift marijuana production entirely to places like California, where the drug can be grown more efficiently and closer to consumers. "Mexico's objective should be to make the U.S. self-sufficient in marijuana," he added with a grin.

He is not alone in his views. Earlier this year, three former Latin American presidents known for their free-market and conservative credentials--Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil--said governments should seriously consider legalizing marijuana as an effective tool against murderous drug gangs.

December 24, 2009

Ethnography Bashing

I don't mind a mixed review of my book (Contemporary Sociology), but it does bother me when a reviewer calls my participant-observation research a "major flaw." It's like a man who doesn't like olive oil, fish, and lamb bashing a Greek restaurant for being too "Mediterranean." If you don't like the concept, don't review it.

Basically, goes the tired old sociological argument, because I was a cop, I can't see police objectively. This is called "going native." Like all sociology majors, I learned this in college (in my case as a Princeton sophomore in Professor Howard Taylor's most excellent "Introductory Research Methods in African American Studies"--the class that made me a sociologist!).

While going native certainly is a possibility. Given the sum of my book and writing, to say I did so is a bit absurd.

The reviewer writes:
This raises the possibility that [Moskos] was not privy to some of the more sensitive issues and events that may have happened. He states categorically that he witnessed no instances of illegal police behavior while on the Baltimore Police Department which suggests that he failed to encounter them either because he was shielded from such events or he did not define them as illegal because he had adopted the police view that such activities were necessary to get the job done.
Actually, I stated categorically I saw no instances of police corruption. I wrote a bit about illegal behavior: "High-arrest officers push the boundaries of consent searches and turn pickets inside-out. Illegal (and legal) searches are almost always motivated by a desire to find drugs." So much for a thorough reading.

I did write this (p. 78):
I policed what is arguably the worst shift in the worst district in Baltimore and saw no police corruption. ... Incidents do happen, but the police culture is not corrupt. Though overall police integrity is very high, some will never be convinced. But out of personal virtue, internal investigation stings, or monetary calculations, the majority--the vast majority--of police officers are clean.
Sometimes reality causes cognitive dissonance to people with strong prejudices. I guess the idea that most cops are clean (cleaner than professors, I like to add) is just too shocking for some in academe. Rather than face up to one's own anti-police biases, I guess it's easier just to bash ethnography.

The snowball heard round the web

Everybody is talking about it...



...so here's my two-cents:

For a cop, having a gun out isn't such a big deal. Pointing a gun at someone is a big deal. Waving it around would be a big deal (and would also show a lack of professional training). I understand others may see any display of a gun as a shocking development. But this is D.C. and this is a police officer. The streets are dangerous.

Simply having your gun out means there's a threat. Having your hand on your holster means there might be a threat. This officer has lived through a lot of threats and I don't begrudge him for feeling threatened by a large crowd. And from what I can tell he holstered up pretty quickly.

To me the question is why the guy got out his Hummer in the first place? That's the mistake. He could have just kept on driving.

[Though I should point out, because I haven't heard anyone else do so, that all the uniformed officers handled the scene very well.]

When you're in your vehicle, snowballs are not a threat to anything but your manhood. The only potential threat to the officer was created by the officer when he made a choice to exit his vehicle to initiate a useless confrontation with a large group of people. Christ, if you feel so threatened while driving your Hummer, what's the point of owning a Hummer in the first place!?

It's not new, but is it fair?

I wasn't even going to link to this story because I don't want to repeat myself more than necessary.

Here's the point: black New Yorkers are seven times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. For a moment, let's put aside the actually story (not that we should). For the sake of debate, let's accept the seven times figure (as we should). Let's also accept that whites smoke just as much weed as blacks (that's also true). Let's ignore that fact (not that we should) that these arrests happen even though personal marijuana possession in New York State is decriminalized. And let's also not concern ourselves with the cost of $53 million to $88 million annually for these arrests. Let's not worry that these arrests may play an important part in a general "broken windows" approach to crime prevention. And finally, let's assume that everybody arrested is guilty as charged.

Here's my question: Does it matter that blacks are seven times more likely than whites to get caught for this drug crime? Perhaps not. I mean, all you have to do to not be arrested in not commit a crime, right?

Is simple guilt all that is needed to give moral justification to our criminal justice system? Remember, this seven-times discrepancy is not due to the facts that blacks are more likely to commit this drug crime. We're just talking about the odds of getting caught.

I mean, what if cops only gave traffic tickets to women. Women who speed and run red lights. But what if basically men were given a pass when it comes to traffic violations. Does it matter? Would this be fair? Perhaps.... since all the tickets were given to guilty women. But for traffic enforcement to be fair, shouldn't men get tickets, too?

At some level, I think the very notion of justice--at least justice with any moral legitimacy--depends on the idea that everybody has an equal (or at least somewhat equal) chance of getting caught.

What do you think?

December 23, 2009

Stocking stuffers of the century!

And the century has just barely begun.

How come nobody is buying Cop in the Hood for Christmas? My Amazon sales rank is rapidly approaching infinity. Not good. Last I checked, more than 200,000 book were selling better than my book. That's a lot of books being bought that aren't mine.

I can't think of a better present in the holiday spirit than a scintillating story of blood, drugs, and arrest discretion!

Oh wait, I can. There's Forking Fantastic, the best cookbook ever. It's even got a recipe by me (though that's not what makes it the best cookbook ever).

Two great last-minute Christmas presents. You can still get them shipped in time for Christmas. Or go to your local bookstore. I'm just sayin'...

December 22, 2009

They are most definitely not playing

Only hours after the grieving family had finished burying [Ensign Melquisedet Angulo C√≥rdova, a Special Forces sailor killed last week during the government’s most successful raid on a top drug lord in years] in his hometown, gunmen burst into the family’s house and sprayed the rooms with gunfire, killing his mother and three other relatives, officials said Tuesday.
More violence. More victory!

The story by Elisabeth Malkin in the New York Times.

December 21, 2009

Read it for the writing (don't peek at the pictures!)

"A pre-Christmas 2003 "Code Orange" terror alert that had police standing guard in heavy assault gear on the streets of Manhattan was the result of a scam by a man named Dennis Montgomery." From Playboy.

CopCams in San Jose

To record interactions with the public. The story in the Mercury News.

Check out my dope suspenders!

I know you think it's cool to be chillin' with your pants hanging low, but funny things happen when your pants don't stay up. For one, if you're running and I'm chasing you and you've got one hand holding your pants up, I will actually catch you. Two, if you're like Hector Quinones of the Bronx and kill three people and wound one more, you've got problems. "A fifth relative managed to escape only when Mr. Quinones lost his balance after his pants had fallen down." Next thing you know, the po-po are coming and you make to leave out the window and fall to your death.

The story by Michael Schmidt in the New York Times.

December 19, 2009

Jackpot!

Problems in Baltimore Internal Affairs? I'm shocked. Shocked!

Neither, I suppose, is Justin Fenton. Here is his story in the Sun.

Remember the whole Staples affair from my era? "Stolen" confidential police files that then showed up in a Dunkin Donuts dumpster? You can't make this stuff up.

And you wonder why cops don't trust the system...

Ayers killing "justified"

Indeed, you read it here first (many thanks to my anonymous tipster).

Here's the story by Stephen Gurr in the Gainesville Times.

Of course regardless of this decision and any lack of criminal conviction, the Ayers' family will get a lot of money in some civil case. But no amount of money will bring Jonathan Ayers back. The whole situation--up to and including the shooting death of Ayers--this was bad policing.

December 18, 2009

The killing of Jonathan Ayers judged "good"

I have just received word over the virtual transom (as of yet still unconfirmed word [update: now confirmed]) that this morning the grand jury decided not to bring criminal charges against the officers who killed Jonathan Ayers.

I would have loved to have heard the facts as they were presented because knowing what I do know, the police-involved shooting seems very wrong. Certainly wrong enough to let a jury decide.

If this is true, the officers had best be buying a very sympathetic prosecutor a nice Christmas present since, as the saying goes, you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

Here's a no brainer: Clean needles

Clean needles save lives. Clean needles make policing less dangerous because 1) it limits the spread of HIV and and hepatitis, and 2) which would you prefer to get stuck with? So logically, police are big supports of clean needles and needle exchange (oh, wait, I just made that last part up).

There have been countless studies on the matter. There's really no doubt that giving out clean needles saves lives and does not increase drug use. So the feds have finally repealed a 21-year-old ban on federal funds going to clean needle programs.

Here's the story in the S.F. Chronicle.
Robert Martinez, chief of drug policy under President George H.W. Bush, said government funding for clean needles "undercuts the credibility of society's message that drug use is illegal and morally wrong."
If only I could get a clean needle, I'd shoot up my Christmas smack!

Ohhh, that makes me so mad. Nothing like death to send the right message. Nothing like bastard political flunkies preaching about morality. Nothing like admitted illegal drug use from the past three presidents to send the right message.

December 17, 2009

Handcuffed man gets tased, dies

Despite my strong opposition to the taser as a compliance tool (I much prefer old-fashioned force), this is a tricky case because the guy was handcuffed. He got squirrelly and started fighting.

[Hey, once I was rolling on the ground with a handcuffed man. What could I do? He already had his hands tied behind his back and I still couldn't get him back under control.]

If you strike a handcuffed man, you're begging for a lawsuit and assumptions of police brutality. That's why departments love tasers. It makes it seem more legit. But if they just hit the guy, he's still be alive. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

Murder is Good

Sgt T sent me this, related to the previous post: "Metro Atlanta may get a little bloodier. Call it a sign of success."
They use a bastard version the same retarded thought process here in the states. Early last year the head fed in Atlanta was crowing about how their success in the war on drugs was driving up street violence. To which we could only offer a hearty, "Thanks for the help, assholes!' Ten years in patrol and I can count one hand, with fingers left over, how many times the feds were willing to help on a major case. But, as we used to say, some people just investigate for a living and some people actually police.

"The rising death toll is a sign the drug gangs are weakening"

Of coooourse.
Washington says the rising death toll is a sign the drug gangs are weakening under President Calderon's military crackdown, which has seen some 49,000 extra troops deploy across Mexico.
You see the rising death toll in Mexico is always a sign that the drug gangs are weakening because, well, when the gangs are weak, they lash and kill lots of people. And when the gangs are strong, then they don't kill anybody. So we want to attack the drug gangs so they become weak and kill more more people, which is how how we know we're winning the war on drugs. Or something like that.

Logic like that makes my head hurt.

I do know we're not winning the drug war. In Mexico 14,000 people have died in drug-prohibition violence in the past four years. You know, ever since President Calderon started his military crackdown to win the war on drugs. And they must be winning, because a whole lot of people are getting killed.

Anyway, one of Mexico's bad guys, a most wanted, a "boss of bosses," he was killed by the good guys. Another stirring victory. Keep up the good work. Drive safely. Sleep well. Tip your waitstaff. War is Peace! Ignorance is Strength!

And there's another sure sign the drug gangs are weakening:
Separately, the severed heads of six policemen were found near a church in the north of the country, police said.


[Update: And more about prohibition murder in Mexico, if you needed it.]

December 16, 2009

Five years in jail before trial

And then you're found not-guilty. After being behind bars for five years.

Now granted, as the guy's lawyer says, "Ikoli was carrying an unloaded gun" and "there's an awful lot to not like about what he did." But he was not guilty of murder and acquitted by a jury. His friend, who he was with, plead guilty at the start of the trial and is serving a six-year sentence. So I guess he'll get out any day.

Innocent or guilty, good or bad, there is no excuse for a trial to take five years to get started. What ever happened to the 6th Amendment's right to a speedy trial?

The story in the Daily News.

You know what would make me really happy? Is if, five years from now, he isn't with his friend in prison.

Cops shoot bad guys with guns

Mostly I just like the headline.

But as usual, Peter Hermann has interesting things to say. Particularly about suspended sentences. That's the crazy concept where you do a crime, get caught, get convicted, get sentenced, and then don't serve time. Not even in theory.
Guest, when was 15, he shot another youth in the head and pleaded guilty, but spent just under five years in prison. Guest [now 32] died later at a hospital [after being shot by police].

Guest had a convoluted series of prison stints. In 1994, a judge delayed imposing a 13 year sentence for the murder and instead put him away for three years for a handgun violation to give him a break. He served one year for the gun but in 1999 he got arrested on a drug distribution charge. Another judge then reimposed the 13 year sentence for the killing and folded an 8 year term for the drugs into that. The judge suspended four years, meaning Guest's total sentence was nine years. He got out after serving 4 and a half years because of credits earned while incarcerated. Later, he got sentenced to another three years on a drug conviction but was out in one.

December 15, 2009

Really?

I'm not too hard to reach. But if you're going to prank call me, please be sober enough so I can understand you!

The only really strange thing is that the caller ID comes back as a not-in-service number: (212) 237-2546. I'm not quite certain how you do that...

video

Here's the transcription, best I figure out:
Caller: [garbled] Please leave a message. Peter Mosko was never a police officer. He was a homo to begin with. All right. Poisoning the minds of little students over at John Jay.

Probably slobbers his bosses' knob for police [?].

But does he think that equal rights for gay because [garbled] can do it, too [unintelligable].

Fucking butthead.
Of course my wife's first thought was that it was one of my friends from Baltimore, but she noticed this sounded a little creepier. And his voice is strangely deep, which makes me think he's altering it.

Oh, he just called back from a different (718) number. I answered and talked to him a bit. He insisted it's nothing personal (uh, really?).

He claims he read my book (doubtful) and implied he had been a student of mine (no way). But in the end said I wasn't such a bad teacher.

Seems like he's just your average run-of-the-mill racist (he calls himself a "realist") idiot who doesn't like liberals or professors at John Jay. Particularly those who say that "Black people are never wrong and all that liberal-biased bullshit." It seems he has a particular problem with me and one other professor mentioned by name at John Jay.

You know, I had a listed phone number as a cop in Baltimore (not many people knew this) and never got a strange or prank phone call. But write one lousy book...

December 14, 2009

Prisons of Our Own Making

Crediting prisons and not mentioning police for the crime drop is a bit misguided, but there are still some very good points in Ross Douthat's New York Times column.

December 12, 2009

Pay police more?

Stilgar, in a comment, raises some excellent questions:
Claims about the quality of pay are irrelevant without context. Rather than shout past each other, it might be worthwhile to ask:

1. Based on the backgrounds of the cops you have worked with, would you say that many of them were well-paid in policing compared to what they could have made in other jobs?

2. If you believe that police should be well-paid, it makes sense that a lot of people will be paid less than cops. Who? Mental hospital orderlies don't get shot at, but they do get spat on and attacked as much as many cops, and they have to spend time looking up junkies' asses. Most of them also don't have sweet pension plans. That, of course, is just one of many possible examples.

3. Peter, in your book you try to demythologize police work: pointing out that most cops don't get shot at, that the job is usually boring, and that the majority of people of average intelligence, temperament and physical ability can do the job competently. Given that you don't seem to think policing requires specialized skills or extensive previous education, why should cops be paid more? (I know you haven't made that point in this conversation, but it's your blog, I figure I should make a question just for you- though others are certainly welcome to answer).

4. Okay, another in response to something Peter has said. You've written that you believe cops should be paid better in order to attract better candidates. But given the budget situation in most American cities, the fact that most people here will argue that most current cops do their jobs just fine, and the law of diminishing returns, isn't this throwing money down a hole?
I have thoughts but really need to grade papers. In the meantime, I'm curious what others have to say. What do you think?

December 11, 2009

Balto City and Police reach tentative deal

It includes 5 days of furlough and 2 more days of paid vacation. I would have liked that. I suspect most police do not.

Comp time (at 1.5 : 1) instead of overtime for court? The number of arrests will plummet!

Given that most police want to work more hours, not fewer, and this contract is designed to give police less money, it won't go over well.

One nice change is the "officers will no longer be forced to work six-day weeks." Six on and two off was just about the worst conceivable way to work 40 hours/week. What's the new system?

And a Kansas City police-involved shooting

Also good police work.

Good (but not for tourism)

Here's to Sgt Kelly and his good Times Square shooting!

The man was carrying a card that said: "I feel sorry for a cop if he think I’m getting into his paddy wagon.”

December 8, 2009

Perjury

It's not unusually for to hear people lie in court. What is unusual is for somebody to be charged for it. Of course in this case it took an innocent man going to prison for a rape that wasn't.

Would be 10 years now...

December 6, 1999, was my official D.O.E. in the Baltimore Police Department (even though I was already two-months into an academy class). Had I stayed on the job, I would now have ten years on, with ten more to go.

December 7, 2009

Just Get New Fingers

The problems with security that used biometric data (like fingerprints) are 1) we have too much faith in it, and 2) it doesn't "fail" well.

If you lose your driver's license, you get a new one. What do you do if somebody steals your fingerprint?

Here's a case from Japan of fingerprint alteration.

December 5, 2009

In Memory of Marcellus Ward

Ward was killed 25 years ago. His assassination and last dying breaths were caught on tape and haunted the memory of many Baltimore police officers, some of whom I worked with.

At a memorial, held where Ward was killed, Commissioner Bealefeld said that it is "not for us to judge the results of his sacrifice." And certainly a memorial to a slain officer is not the time and place for that.

But at some point we need to ask. Why are we risking our lives? What are we getting in return? If we don't ask these questions, more good men and women will die.

The block Ward give his life to protect has long since died. Like too much of Baltimore, it's vacant, boarded up, and abandoned. Here's the 1800 block of Frederick, odd side. Ward was killed upstairs in the Formstone house in the center with the potential window display:


By risking his life to protect others, Ward died a hero. That I do not doubt or forget. But it's hard to imagine that Baltimore or Frederick Avenue would be any worse off today if Ward had simply called in sick that day. And the world would certainly be a better place if Ward and other officers killed in the drug war were still with us. I've said this before (to the consternation of some). I don't want to see any other officers killed for a war we are not winning and cannot win.

When I put my life on the line every night for the men and women of the Eastern, I would often think about the fallen officers pictured on the walls. Ward always stood out for some reason. (I'm not making it up that his picture hangs in the Eastern, am I?) From what I heard he was a good guy. And from his picture, he just seemed more human than most other cops pictured.

Police Commissioner Bealefeld is a good man and the best commissioner Baltimore City has seen in a long while, certainly better than the previous five commissioners (I'll only vouch for worse commissioners as far back to and including Frazier). Maybe Bealefeld even gets it when he talks about the war on drugs and the "seemingly impossible task" of winning it? Who knows. But the war isn't his to call off.

Here is Peter Hermann's take and his story in the Sun with the sad headline: "At memorial, a new vow to wage war on drugs."

Uh, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here?

"Party is over, guys...."

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to invite the neighborhood drug dealers to your place to watch the game.

The guests staying for three days, sold drugs out of his living room, and bound and tortured the guy by pouring boiling water and pennies over his naked body.

Boiling pennies?! Where do they think of these things?

December 4, 2009

Ha!

From the Washington Post:
Correction

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

December 2, 2009

In Defense of Huckabee

I like his Moxie. Seriously:
“If he were a white kid from an upper middle class family he would have gotten a lawyer and some counseling,” Huckabee said. “But because he was a young black kid he got 108 years.”

Huckabee said the sentence was “far disproportionate from any other punishment in Arkansas at the time for a similar crime.”

December 1, 2009

Maurice Clemmons shot dead

Good shooting. Good riddance. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper has a good analysis:
Clemmons, nursing a two-day old bullet wound to the stomach, having killed four cops already and facing at least life in prison, frantically searching for a way out of the state if not the country, and packing one of the dead officers' sidearms, would have beyond a shadow of doubt murdered again. There and then.

He was denied that chance. Whether Clemmons was seeking cover to pull the gun and fire, or about to flee, the officer did precisely the right thing. It was not a "cold-blooded murder," as at least one reader has asserted. It was a courageous and necessary act.

Mayor Dixon Convicted of One Misdemeanor

She was acquitted of more serious charges. The jury deliberated 7 days.

A bunch of stories in the Sun.

"Dupe" badges

Seems like everybody in the NYPD is doing it.

And so what? The whole concept is strange to this former Baltimore police officer. So is the language.

I had three real badges when I was cop. They give you one, for your shirt or jacket. You need to pay for others. One other you need, for the wallet. I also got one more, one suitable for framing, a so-called plaque badge. The wallet badge is also a plaque badge (flat) with the pins cut and filed off. When I quit, I turned one of them in. You do the math.

But cops know that the badge isn't the big deal. It's the "credentials" that matter. I had but one of those. And I turned it in like a good boy.