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by Peter Moskos

November 8, 2015

"The most disturbing thing I've seen"

Two (black) cops were criminally charged in the fatal shooting of a (white) six-year-old boy in Louisiana, who was in a car, I guess being chased.

I haven't seen the video, so what do I know? But Colonel Michael Edmonson, the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said footage of the incident was, "the most disturbing thing I've seen." Damn. "The two officers were arrested on Friday after body-camera footage taken from them was assessed."


john mosby said...

Prof, this made me clarify something that has been mentioned here, about how the police get treated differently from other professions.

I don't think a doctor would be arrested within a week of a bad surgery. We know who did the act, she has ties to the community and a professional license she depends on for her livelihood, the only issues in dispute are arcane matters of intent and professional standards, so no need to clap someone in irons before the facts are fully sorted.

Same thing here. No one disputes that these cops fired the shots, their livelihood depends on being cops, they have shown over their careers that they respect the legal process and will show up for court, the only matters in dispute are fine points of police procedure. So why perp-walk them just to satisfy the mob?

Even actual war criminals get treated better.


aNanyMouse said...

JSM: Just for starters, the renegade surgeon needs no perp walk, because neither she nor her pals (e.g. hospital brass) can be, or send out, armed recruiters, to draft people to become her next victims; she must wait for victims to volunteer themselves, e.g. by going to the hospital where she uses the operating room, one victim at a time.

A renegade cop can bring his equipment (with which he inflicts his damage) to wherever your 6 year old is, and force you and your kid to endure whatever mayhem he feels like INSTANTLY inflicting; he can do this to dozens of victims within hours, if not minutes.
If we don’t perp walk him, he’s liable to be popped (out of self-preservation) by the first citizen who sees him, and who knows of what he’d just done to this 6 year old.

Pretty damn simple, eh?
Please, guys, stop embarrassing yourselves with these bad analogies, which can only embolden those who hate us, to use your pushing of such analogies to present all of us as being insulting BSers.

john mosby said...

Well, except that cops are very often called to the scene by people asking for help. Not so in this case, to be sure, but there apparently was a warrant for dad's arrest. A warrant is an order from a judge. So it's not like these guys woke up in the morning and said 'hey let's shoot a 6-year-old.' They were going after the dad because a judge told them to lock up the dad. Just like the doc doesn't wake up and say 'hey let's give somebody a fatal dose of anesthesia.'

Also, i really doubt any doc who started by trying to perform a widely-accepted surgical procedure gets charged with second-degree murder, like these cops were. Second-degree murder requires a high level of specific intent to kill someone. The doc who's trying to perform a legal operation maybe gets charged with negligent homicide. These cops were trying to effect a lawful arrest and then tried to defend themselves when the thing went pear-shaped. Defective self-defense may be a lot of things, but it isn't murder.

I would respect the prosecution a lot more, and not see them the way that you apparently see cops, Mouse, if they really drilled down and charged appropriate to the facts of the case.

Also, why is no one talking about charging the dad for recklessly endangering his son by fleeing the police with a kid in the car?

Probably because the dad is in the hospital, isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and so we have time to figure out the facts of the case.

See how easy that is? Why not apply the same logic to the police?

I'm wondering if the PD and prosecutor are semi-accidentally-on-purpose rushing the prosecution of these cops so that there are lots of holes for them to crawl out thru....


Peter Moskos said...

Not knowing really any of the details, I'm hesitant to comment at all. But Tennessee v. Garner does jump to mind. Police are simply not allowed to shoot a fleeing felon (at least not without other exigent circumstances and the person being an imminent threat).

aNanyMouse said...

Holy Cow, JSM! When you write “I would respect the prosecution a lot more, and not see them the way that you apparently see cops, Mouse….”, you read WAY too much into my post, esp. about my view of cops.
My post had NOthing to do with my view of how many cops are good or bad, or whether the prosecution in this particular case was doing anything right; my post pertained ONLY to my critique of a poor analogy.

I really get discouraged by how common it is becoming for people to over-read what others write, instead of thinking carefully about EXACTLY what was written (or said).
Getting oneself in the habit of such careful thinking pays huge dividends, e.g. in avoiding pointless clashes (esp. with colleagues).
If your rep with colleagues is one of keeping your cool, and giving them a really FAIR but honest hearing (esp. when they’re venting), they’ll treasure your counsel (e.g. about their clashes with other colleagues, and brass); tell them, tactfully, what they need to hear, not what they want to hear!

{My career experience leads me to bet that the vast majority of cops really bust their asses trying to do right, when they’re not (esp. recently) egged on to press the envelope, by the handful (?) of colleagues whose bitterness at society moves this handful to push bad analogies. Please, JSM, don’t fall for this.}

aNanyMouse said...

Moreover, JSM, some cops can handle such bitterness, but some can't come clean to their families about ALL the crucial aspects of it (esp. about clashes with other colleagues and brass).
If these cops don't listen to colleagues who dare to tell them what they NEED to hear, they turn to the bottle, and eventually swallow their .38.

Peter Moskos said...

What cop even has a .38 to swallow these days?!

aNanyMouse said...

Sorry, I was being flip; I gather the piece of choice nowadays is a Glock.

john mosby said...

Mouse, you did refer to renegade cops who act as armed recruiters for their next victims. I think that is a bit of excess bitterness that can blind colleagues to the content of your message. For example, you could have phrased it as:

"Unlike the doctor, who treats patients who come to her voluntarily, the police have to proactively contact members of the general public who have no interest in dealing with the police. It's especially important, when there is a police shooting and probable cause of a police-committed crime exists, to treat the offending officers the way we would treat any other accused violent offender, so that the public understands these gentlemen are not only relieved of their duties, but restricted from public contact, until we can fully assess their culpability and dangerousness. The doctor is not going to roam the streets anesthetizing, amputating, etc, while awaiting trial; the cop may very well continue to interact with the general public in violent ways, with or without a badge."

Now I would still disagree with you, but I would have no doubt about your general attitude toward the police.


aNanyMouse said...

Fair enough, JSM, that would indeed have been a better way to put it.
(I was contrasting the situations of renegade cops vs. renegade surgeons, without in any way commenting on whether there are more or fewer renegade cops than renegade surgeons.)

aNanyMouse said...

More about social missteps, e.g. reading too much into what’s said, etc.:
If a colleague catches you doing stuff like that to him in key situations, he may move Heaven and Earth to set you up for a fall.

The dept. where I served for decades was renowned for its harsh office politics, but resentment of such missteps is part of human nature, and thus haunts all depts.
See Peter’s post on the “roadside domestic” between Encinia and Bland, esp.:
“And if you make your fellow officers race to your bullshit too often, well, after a while they're going to go really slow and stop at all the red lights. Safety first, after all.”

If you throw that kind of bullshit directly at YOUR colleagues, (instead of just at the public) your worries will be MUCH bigger than just them dogging it when you need them.

john mosby said...

So Mouse, it seems like you have a deep and complex view of the proper conduct of policing. In other words, you seem to view it as a profession. So why exactly do you have such a gut reaction to the idea of treating it like other professions?

I guess there are some doctors, architects, et al who feel so strongly about their professions that they think all members who fall short should just be thrown to the courts for judgment. This seems to be your position vis-a-vis cops.

But at the risk of another 4-comment-long castigation for jumping to conclusions, I'll just ask you: Do you think policing is a profession? Do you think cops are deserving of the same type of deference for mistakes that other professions commonly get? And/or do you even think these other professions are deserving of the deference they get?


john mosby said...

Also, as a general comment: where's Rev Al and JJSr to protect these young black officers from the judicial Emmett Tilling they're about to get just because a white baby was a victim of his own father's racist resistance to their lawful performance of duty?

Where's The Cochran Firm to file a 1983 lawsuit against the State of Louisiana for denying these officers the right to conduct government employment in a nondiscriminatory environment?

Is it 2015 or 1915 down there?

Sometimes the racism of this country sickens me....


bacchys said...

I'm shocked by the swiftness of the response. More common is months of "investigation" while the PD says they can't comment on an "investigation."

As for perp walks, those in other professions get perp-walked all the time. The monster abortion guy in PA was perp-walked and the police and prosecutors didn't seem to have any reticence in discussing that case before it went to trial.

aNanyMouse said...

John, all things considered, your last para of questions is actually rather well done, so, for now, I’ll restrict myself to addressing only them.

My short answers are, all of those discussed in this thread are professions (architects less so?), and all too many members within them are BECOMING less and less deserving of the deference they get, and this breaks my heart, esp. seeing it from my fellow cops.
Roughly since Waco, Feds, cops, teachers, politicians, and (esp.?) journalists, all INCREASINGLY seem to be effectively blowing off their fiduciary responsibility (to the public), which is the hallmark of a Profession. (See my posts on Peter’s “Cops on Comey” page last week.)

As for cops deserving of the same type of deference for mistakes, that’s a helluva tall subject; since the contexts of each Profession are SO different (esp. in the different WAYS that members can fall short), I lean toward saying that none of them deserve the same TYPE of deference as any of the others. But I’ll have to sleep on that!

aNanyMouse said...

Where I write above that “Feds, cops, teachers, politicians, and (esp.?) journalists, all INCREASINGLY seem to be effectively blowing off their fiduciary responsibility”, I should have written SEEM; I’ll bet that many or most Feds, cops, etc., are troubled by the stances taken by their (e.g. union) leaders, and famous (self-anointed) “spokesmen”.

aNanyMouse said...

More on Professions, “deserving of the same type of deference”, etc.:
the contexts of each Profession are so VERY different, and, in at least one way, this makes things tougher for cops than e.g. for journalists.

Let me explain: the public is increasingly suspicious that ALL Professions nowadays are failing in their fiduciary responsibility to “clean their (respective) houses”. And, when a cop seems to have phuqued up (e.g. with death of a kid), the public attention to the deed is so great that other cops’ defenses (often from FOP brass) of such a deed sometimes become front page news, and the public, sometimes understandably, smells a rat.
However, when journalists phuque up, the results are NOWHERE near as (immediately) dramatic, so there aren’t screaming headlines about those phuque-ups, or about subsequent defenses of them by shills for the journalist Profession. (If only media outlets were more prone to publicize their competitors’ phuque-ups!)

As troubling as the worst cop phuque-ups are, I fear that the (subtler) journalists’ phuque-ups are, if anything, more dangerous to society in the long run; but that’s a whole separate, rather-long story, and I’ll bet that Peter would object to anyone hogging his blog with an essay of the length needed to really explain this last claim.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

According to recent sources "While initial reports claimed that the officers were attempting to arrest Few on an outstanding warrant, Edmonson said that was not the case and it remains unclear why the chase began."


In fact: "Edmonson and District Attorney Charles Riddle III both said they were unaware of any outstanding warrants for Few’s arrest. Records in both Marksville city court and the area district court show several traffic violations and a recent DWI conviction but no outstanding warrants or ongoing criminal cases."


Also, the suggestion raised in some quarters that Few was attempting to run over the officers seems to also be untrue. "Mayeaux, the coroner, said the bullets appeared to all have been fired from outside through the driver’s side of the vehicle. What exactly prompted the officers to open fire remains unclear."


Given that this arrest was prompted, not by public protests, but by the commanding officer being appalled by what he saw on the body cam footage, I think this story is going to get a lot worse. But it is at least a good reminder that police abuses of civilians are not always white-on-black.

aNanyMouse said...

Yet more on Professionals, “deserving of the same type of deference”, etc. (Peter, I hope I’m not being a pain with so many posts):

Whenever ANY professionals (cops, teachers, etc.) are critiqued for their conduct, you are rather within your rights to reply to this critic with “OK (smartypants), what should he (the cop or teacher) have done?”
If she answers in a clear and relevant manner, you owe it to this critic (and, indeed, to yourself!) to give her response a really fair hearing, to ONLY what she actually said [all the more so, if you’d included the (usually unwise) part about “smartypants”].
Suppose that she responds to your question with “he should’ve acted according to the Use of Force Model”, or
(as in the Bland case) with “Encinia should have let Bland vent, AS LONG AS she kept the venting short of blatant disrespect (e.g. ‘fuck you!’)”;
such responses by critics are good enough to deserve forthcoming responses in turn.

If a Professional gets a rep as being either an easy mark, or a badge-heavy prick, such stuff will, somehow, likely catch up to him, maybe in a huge way; trying to get the balance right is well worth much thought and practice.

john mosby said...

Mouse, I'm really focusing more on legal standards and policy decisions vis-à-vis professionals, not public discussion standards.

Case law and the accumulated charging decisions of generations of prosecutors show that professions usually get judged by their own standards.

Keep in mind what a 'professional' is - someone who can devise solutions based on training, experience, and an accumulated body of knowledge, where no clear solution is visible.

If the solution is a simple matter of applying "if a then b" rules, then the professional isn't needed - the skilled craftsman is sufficient. Or even a machine.

What the professional does is go thru the process: "this situation is kinda like this other situation, but also like this third situation. My solution is somewhere between the solutions used to resolve those prior situations. Another professional may have another solution to the same fact pattern. And neither of our solutions is guaranteed to work." (and btw, the cop goes thru this thought process in less than a second, sometimes!)

And the professional is usually judged, not solely on whether his solution worked, but also on whether it was within the spectrum of reasonable solutions that a reasonable member of the profession would propose.

Lawyers (because they run the legal system) get this standard applied to them in court. Doctors for the most part as well. Military officers in this country have managed to achieve total regulatory capture, because they get tried by courts-martial with military officers as judge and jury; all the civilian authorities can do is reverse a conviction, and tinker around the edges via the appellate courts.

Cops don't seem to get judged by the 'reasonable cop' standard. Instead, they get judged by a weird hybrid of the 'reasonable man' standard with a 'you of all people shoulda known better' standard. This ignores that the cop, by the very nature of her employment, must put herself into situations that no reasonable person would go anywhere near. The highest point of this absurdity is when gun enhancements get applied to police sentences - it's like applying a 'scalpel enhancement' to a doctor's sentence!

The only thing similar is maybe product liability case law, where the very difficult decisions of how to achieve a compromise between safety, low consumer price, and high producer profit are not often appreciated, and juries tend to go for outrage and deep pockets.

In both there seems to be a certain amount of schadenfreude and class revenge: "FelderCorp doesn't need all that money," or "See how that cop feels checking the felon box on every job application the rest of her life." What the prosecutor and jury forget is that FelderCorp employs people and gives dividends to shareholders, most of which are working peoples' pension funds. Likewise, they forget the chilling effect a cop conviction has on other cops' civil right to hold and exercise public office, not to mention protect ordinary people.


aNanyMouse said...

Interesting stuff, John; pardon me for posting only a very preliminary reaction.

Building a 'reasonable cop' standard in today’s conditions would be a helluva project, partly for reasons stemming from (Peter’s beef vs.) cops being pushed to be tax collectors, but also owing to the Wars on Drugs and Guns.
I’ll bet that much of the public would be more open to what you propose, if it was tied to major changes on the rules for traffic stops; I’ll bet that the slack the courts give cops on such stops would have outraged the Founding Fathers.

When Georgie Wash and Martha were riding in their carriage, I’ll bet that they’d have resented any Redcoat stop and frisk of the carriage every bit as much as they’d have resented a Redcoat bashing of the door of Mt. Vernon.
Of course, carriages didn’t move nearly as fast as autos do now, and were rarely so densely packed as are many expressways etc.; so I’m not denying that speeding etc. stops have legit purpose.
Nonetheless, the Wars on Drugs and Guns lead to searches having nothing to do with whether Georgie and Martha were speeding.

And the Wars on Drugs and Guns effect not only traffic stops, but also “Mt. Vernon” itself, as when the Feds attacked Koresh’s pad, because he was converting M-16s into auto, despite the locals (brass) having no fear of these autos; likewise with swat team attacks on “Mt. Vernon” crack dens etc., justified by the War on Drugs.
Orwell would’ve felt quite vindicated by this shit, altho he maybe should have called it 1993, not 1984.

Making cops into tax collectors is bad enough; making them into Big Bro babysitters (“we can’t risk letting you possibly accidentally shoot, or OD, your kid”) paints bullseyes on cops’ backs, in the minds of tens of millions of citizens, of all races etc.

You know, John Adams actually defended the shooters in the Boston Massacre, since they reacted as normal guys would, but in the service of shit policies pushed, not by them, but by King George etc., to (guess what?) collect taxes!

I’ll bet most citizens would be rather open to having a 'reasonable cop' standard, if cops weren’t (pushed into) doing the bidding of Big Bro.
But I would like your view of my proposal (posted on Peter’s Cops on Comey page) about Brit cops’ domination of the sort of Professional Panels which, I gather, you urge; indeed, I wish I knew about whether the Brits are using (or have ever tried) anything like your 'reasonable cop' standard.

Andrew Laurence said...

Last I checked, only doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants (CPAs in the US), and university professors were considered "professionals." Every other occupation is an occupation, not a profession.

If I were facing second degree murder charges, I might be tempted to leave the area permanently, cop or not (I'm not). The facts are generally sorted out after arrest, not before, regardless of the person's status in the community. At least that's how it should work.

Doctors are rarely criminally charged when a surgery results in the death of the patient, so the original analogy falls somewhat flat. A person suspected of a crime should be arrested as soon as possible after that suspicion is raised. If s/he is a doctor, his/her medical license should be suspended at the same time. If s/he is a police officer, her/his gun, badge, and paycheck should be taken away at the time of arrest, with pack pay and possible reinstatement of policing privileges, at the discretion of the officers' superiors, upon lack of conviction.

john mosby said...

Mouse, i agree with you on the proliferation of laws leading to resentment of the police, leading to a Little Guy's Revenge syndrome when cops become defendants.

When the police are primarily seen as instruments of the nanny state or revenue-collectors, they become Rodney Dangerfield (no respect).

Contrast the original Terry stop, which was of a guy getting ready to do an armed robbery of a jewelry store. The average citizen would say "of course the police should stop a crime before it starts! And if they get it wrong once in a while - if Terry turns out to be the jewelry store owner's bodyguard or something - they should not be punished for trying to do the right thing, or they'll stop trying!" When the doctrine is stretched to include drug couriers or gun-carriers with no indication of imminent violence, then there's less than universal support, and pretty soon you have a juror or mayor with a cousin or brother-in-law that fell afoul of this stuff, and Officer Dangerfield is sweating and loosening his collar.

Same thing with carriage stops - everyone agrees that the police should be able to stop people who are actually driving dangerously. But when the BAC levels and speed limits get lowered to the point that someone driving well below the road's rated capacity with an extra wine glass in his tummy can get his life turned upside down, again, we're on the road to no respect.

Something similar happens when the medical profession demeans itself with elective cosmetic procedures, or when the legal profession demeans itself with bus-bench ads. "My butt is still sagging and that DWI is still on my record - you want me to be a juror in a malpractice case? Great!"


aNanyMouse said...

John, well done! If more cops’ Spokesmen were publicly screaming at their politician bosses about this babysitting shit, at least these jurors would be less likely to assume that most cops are delighted at being ordered to be busybodies.
Instead, when NYPD had the work slowdown to hit Blasio in the wallet, they committed a Freudian Slip, as they inadvertently showed the BS status of the laws they’d stopped enforcing.

Trouble is, their rhetoric about this slowdown was (to my knowledge) all about THEIR rage at Blasio for his rhetoric about cops’ treatment of Garner, not about sympathy with the PUBLIC’s disgust that cops are ordered to interdict bootlegging of untaxed cigs, with a fervor akin to that which we’d expect from them when chasing dealers in suitcase nukes!
Suppose FOP had said:
“We’d have been fine with letting Garner WALK, but we’ve got Blasio etc. pushing us to bring in revenue, as if that’s more important than stopping massacres! We ALSO mourn Garner’s death, but we’re pressured into enforcing this shit; you're real beef is with City Hall!”;
FOP statements along that line would’ve earned NYPD a slew more public support than they got with the tack they took.

When spokesmen for Professionals (cops, teachers, etc.) seem to be obsessed ONLY with their colleagues' best interests, this image becomes a recruiting poster for gangs like Black Lives Matter, and risks producing juries FULL of folks who assume that the defendant they're judging is just one more Dangerfield. It's heartbreaking.

aNanyMouse said...

FOP (publicly) to Blasio: “You should start a new agency, restricted to the job of raising your precious dollars; while you’re at it, have its personnel wear Redcoats!”

john mosby said...

I would quibble with you a little, Mouse, on Garner. The citizenry as a whole has a right to a sidewalk that hasn't been turned into a store, whether it's a loosie cigarette or loosie Lego store. The average guy's right to walk relatively peaceably thru the city trumps the entrepreneur's right to conduct business. This is why I hate Boltbus - their price is low because they've outsourced (literally!) their bus-station function to the taxpayer/pedestrian/motorists inconvenienced by the lost lane of traffic while the bus loads-unloads.

And by the way, most of the revenue-generating tickets and arrests aren't done to Garner types who are already poor - they're done to middle-class people who are trying not to be poor. They're the ones who actually pay their fines so that they don't miss work or get charged even more fines.

So the real victim in loosie-cigarette selling is the legitimate tobacconist who has to pay confiscatory sin taxes on his product, as well as rent, insurance, heat/light, etc, for his store.

But of course the real 'perp' is the nanny state that's decided to simultaneously discourage smoking while relying on it as a source of revenue - so I guess in the end we sort of agree in principle on Garner.


aNanyMouse said...

Fair enough, John: if Garner was hogging the sidewalk to the point of blocking pedestrians, the cops were utterly right to demand his evacuation.
How about something like
“Hey, Garner, what if we don’t happen to see when you put signs (saying, ‘cheap cigs in first alley to the North’) on walls, lightposts, etc.? Capiche?”

When, additionally, they jump on guys like him for peddling loosies, it smacks of busybody harassment.
Cops are best off getting such shitstorms farmed out to other (more avid) bagholders for City Hall; indeed, if Garner is up for playing ball (e.g. singing on gangbangers), the cops might “discourage” these bagholders (Redcoats) from touching Garner’s signs!
All such stuff is negotiable, you know; if Garner is too obtuse to see his best interests, well, the cops did their best.
Things like this used to be called “holding Court right there”.

(As an aside) seeing that middle-class people are being squeezed by all sorts of things, incl. taxes like these, no wonder they rally to causes like that for Garner.

aNanyMouse said...

I have to wonder if cops nowadays are being so micromanaged, that they so fear getting heat if they are caught “holding Court right there”, regardless of how much this informal approach is in the broad public interest. If only Peter would feel right about commenting in detail on this!

john mosby said...

I think the Prof has talked from time to time about the loss of discretion in patrol. He mentioned this issue in his Baltimore patrol flashbacks a few weeks ago, for example.

And I think you are exactly on point, Mouse: cops do fear exercising discretion. In some PDs they are basically forbidden from exercising discretion. Why? Because discretion literally means discrimination, in the sense of discriminating between one situation and another (because that's what professionals do!). Unfortunately, too many people are ready to see it as the other type of discrimination. So many cities just prohibit any type of discretion or judgment, for good or ill.

We see this in the all-to-frequent conflating of "broken windows" with "zero tolerance." You can do broken-windows without fixing every single window.

Now I would not go as far as winking at deliberate window-breaking in my presence, which I think is kind of what you are suggesting with your Gardner hypothetical....


aNanyMouse said...

John, for the most part, very, very good!
But I wasn’t IMPLYING discretion about broken windows. However, maybe I should have!
If winking at a broken window ends up with us nailing a murderer, I’ll take the heat for practicing “discrimination”.
I’d really be horrified, if today’s leashes on cops’ discretion is so harsh as to require that every Encinia rag every Bland for every omission of a turn signal.

Yes, I recall Peter occasionally commenting on this, but not on if he went into much detail, esp. on if he agrees that it should apply to “major” crimes like broken windows (vs. just petty ones, e.g. cig tax evasion).

aNanyMouse said...

In light of our discussion today, let me summarize my view: What FOP should’ve said was,
“We really feel for Garner’s family etc. Let’s learn from this.
If cops can get back the powers of discretion that they once had, guys like Garner won’t die.
If our getting back these powers requires us to give on some other issues, let’s talk.
We can imagine that one such issue might be the public’s distrust of the thin blue line’s (alleged) tendency to defend almost all cops, regardless of circumstances; we’re prepared to haggle in good faith about how such distrust might be plausibly addressed” (rather than by trying to bulldoze Blasio into crumbling on this issue, which is pretty much what FOP did).

If society wants cops to come clean on big issues (e.g. broomsticks up suspects’ asses), society should be willing to pay the price of giving cops MUCH more discretion, vs. the current micromanagement of smaller issues, e.g. broken windows.

If only we could marginalize loudmouths like Sharpton and Limbaugh, we might be able to talk about this stuff with more mutual respect.
Don't hold your breath.

aNanyMouse said...

Hey Peter
I’ve gotten a fair amount out of your great blog, esp. recently in my exchanges with John M., whom I trust has also gotten much out of our exchanges.

Seeing that your page calls M. Prieb’s blog one of the best, I’m really curious about any reaction you may have to the gripping, detailed, contentious exchange about Mr. Prieb, John Burge, D. Protess, A. Porter, Alstory Simon, etc., at the site HELD TO ANSWER, last March.
This debate, between site-host, ex-reporter Pam Fitzsimmons, and a clearly well-read California youngster, Ryan Moore, is at http://www.heldtoanswer.com/2015/03/narrative-without-moral/ .

Moore charges Mr. Prieb with being a Burge shill, and she charges Moore with being a cop-hater.
Seeing how, one way or the other, this whole Burge-Protess “saga” is clearly a seminal episode in cops-media relations, if not in U.S. cops history, I’ll bet that others beside myself would find ANY comments from you to be of utmost interest.

Peter Moskos said...

Sorry to sound so snippy. But there *were* a couple of very good police blogs. They all stopped writing because, well, they could get in trouble.

I will link to *any* police blog that posts once in a while and passes some arbitrary but not-too-high level of literary worth. There have been some. I loved them all. But they don't last. I understand why they don't. But still, what a shame.
I don't call Prieb's blog "one of the best." I call it a "blog." And I actually separate the category from "links I like." If I read it more, I might like I more. I don't know. Maybe it is one of the best. I honestly don't know. I read his book. If I remember correctly (and I may not) I some had issues. But fuck my issues. He's a cop who writes. God bless him. Prieb: Write more.

And I did just the other day go through the list to delete dead links. There were many. His wasn't.

Also, it's the PBA and not the FOP in NYC.

aNanyMouse said...

Peter, thanx for extensive response.
My reference to your page’s reference to your view of Mr. Prieb’s blog should’ve been more precise: "like", not "best".
Likewise, I should’ve checked the name of the NY “equivalent” of the FOP.

One great thing about your blog is that your moderation of it, such as it is, shows no hint of the heavy hand which haunts so many others.
Here, there’s authentic, serious debating, a great example for youngsters.

Andrew Laurence said...

Even if a "no discretion" rule requires a cop to stop every motorist he sees not using a turn signal, unless another cop or supervisor sees him not doing that, no one knows he's violated that rule.

aNanyMouse said...

True, Andrew, but the job is gnawing enough without cops' also having to fear that busybodies will sing on their violations of that rule.

To return to your comment on professionals: cops, teachers of minors, nurses, and others, may not be professionals in the strictest sense, but they are Pros in, for me, the most important sense. Their superior power over citizens, kids, patients etc., imparts upon these Pros a fiduciary responsibility to substantially stifle themselves, instead of avidly exploiting the weaknesses of those under their care.

A key difference between cops and the others is that, only cops are empowered/ called upon to ROUTINELY administer “tough love” to those “under their care”.
This extra empowerment is part of what moves the public to put cops under such extra scrutiny.

aNanyMouse said...

When cops’ defenders talk as if they’re unaware of this last point (see above), they risk devastating harm to their cred with the public, ESP. when they get in people’s faces with arguments like this!

aNanyMouse said...

In my post above, I meant to advise against getting in people’s face in any way, but I wasn’t implying that just making that argument is getting in people’s face.
Rather, it’s getting in people’s face while making any argument (esp. a weak one) that hurts the cause.

In light of John’s conduct over this thread’s course, I’ll bet the ranch that (near this thread’s top) John didn’t mean to get into my face, with his over-reading of my words.
But I hope that he, and others (esp. cops) reading this thread, will thereby take more seriously how easily such conduct can send things south, possibly ruining their cred.