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by Peter Moskos

June 10, 2010

Cops Cuff Cop at Mets Game

Cops arrest an off-duty cop for being drunk and obnoxious at the ballpark.

This doesn't surprise me. But I mention it for those who talk too much of the Blue Wall of Silence and some secret code of brotherhood and that cops never arrest another cop unless they have to and somebody is hurt.

Now I'm sure (and would hope) that the drunk cop in this case was given a chance to behave maturely. And perhaps one extra chance that a non-cop wouldn't get. That is professional courtesy.

But then they slapped the cuffs on and arrested the schmuck. And they didn't let him go and all laugh and have a drink together as soon as they were out of public view.


Anonymous said...

Speaking for myself, I don't think the Blue Wall Of Silence is that big of a problem for actual crimes committed off duty for activities not related to catching alleged bad guys.

Policemen on police boards love to point out policemen arrested for assault or pedophilia or drunk driving or whatever, and put it forward as evidence that the Blue Wall does not exist.

This approach fundamentally misunderstands what people are talking about when they speak of the Blue Wall. At least to me, the Blue Wall is about protecting police from crimes they do in the line of duty. Blue Wall is alive and well (and growing) as far as that sort of thing goes. This is an example of police not listening well enough to complaints from regcits.

PCM said...

But I can tell you as a former cop that cops do not commit crimes on duty.

Now I'm not saying it never happens. But am I saying I didn't and it didn't happen in front of me.

And I know what you're thinking... And no, they weren't acting differently in front of me. But even if they were, then I'm proud to say it takes but one clean cop to keep a whole squad, nay, a whole district clean.

This in entirely different than saying there are no dirty cops. But the police culture (at least in Baltimore) is clean.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

You were and are part of the Blue Wall. If you saw police commit on duty crimes, you would be in denial that there were crimes. If you had been present at something like the Michael Mineo sodomization, you would have simply said that you didn't see it and there was no crime.

With other crimes (like say the probable spoliation of the surveillance video of the Tshamba shooting), you simply wouldn't have been privvy to that kind of sensitive operation. Your role in the Blue Wall for something like that would be more passive -- to assure the public that the police would never erase* surveillance footage.


* actually the police statement on surveillance footage of the Tshamba shooting that the surveillance cameras "probably" were not operation. This means that they are still deciding whether to erase it or release it. The idea that tere may or may not be footage and the police don't know for sure is patently dishonest and that dishonesty is part of why any reasonable person would suspect that they have footage, but plan to erase it before the bullet-riddled Marine's family can get their hands on it. The fact that you can't and won't see any problem with the police saying that they "probably" have footage is the Blue Wall that has been placed in your own mind by your training and experience. It is irrational form of trust and it is very deeply conditioned into your mind.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

"probably" have footage"


"probably" don't have footage

PCM said...

Christallmighty you're still hung up about Mineo?

So let me get this straight... You weren't there. I wasn't there there. You don't live here. I do. People I know investigated the case. You know nobody. I was a cop and think I know police culture pretty well. You, well I have no idea why you think you know anything about police. The case went to trial and a jury agreed with, dare I say, the truth.

And yet you still think there was some great coverup and the guy was sodomized. Listen to yourself! Why is it inconceivable that it simply did not happen? Couldn't the police be lying covering-up bastards in general and yet this incident still didn't happen? They're not mutually exclusive.

I guess what I find so amazing isn't your attitude toward police in general, it is shared by many. It's that you see conspiracy and cover-up in every single case!

I see a lot of problems with police. I post about many of them here (I believe you're even read some of them).

If *I'm* part of the Blue Wall of Silence, well, what kind wall is that. I wrote a damn book!

And no, I don't think any thing in Baltimore works. I've been there. I've worked there. I've lived there.

Right now Baltimore cops are trying to keep their pensions from being illegally raided by city. There is no money. Nothing works!

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

I don't think everything you say is wrong.

I don't think everything the police do is dishonest or a cover up.

I think Mineo was a cover up because of the evidence:

- a policeman witness testified to the sodomy

- not arresting Mineo after the chase and beatdown

- video released that shows something unfavorable to Mineo, but none that shows the actual event

My own experiences with the police give me a feeling for the frequency of their lies. Specifically, all of my experiences with police making factual assertions have been in the context of traffic stops. In the large majority of times I have been in a vehicle that was stopped, the policeman has been honest -- and that includes every time I was the driver. However, I have also been in the vehicle for two stops where the policeman did lie. Once the lie was a minor one and once it was a more substantial lie. Neither of those lies ended up in a ticket for the driver or any criminal charges, but those lies were lies and I know they were lies. So, yeah, I know that policemen lie from personal experience.

My mother and brother both served on juries in the last couple of years. In both cases the jury acquitted because the jury believed (for good reasons) that the policemen were lying. btw, in both cases the jury believed that the defendant did the crime, but had reasonable doubt because they believed that things could not have happened as the policemen testified. So, I have a pretty good idea that policemen lie from hearing credible and detailed stories from family members I trust.

Policemen don't usually lie, but they do lie sometimes and much, much more often than they should lie. If someone works for the police and comes out thinking that policemen don't lie -- that is simply not credible.

In the past couple of years I have seen policemen commit traffic infractions. I have seen two policemen run red lights for no good reason. I have seen one almost cause an accident with an illegal and reckless turn into traffic (a couple cars had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the idiot). Then there is the police speeding which probably (but not definitely) was unjustified by any emergency. About a month ago I saw one casually yakking on his cel phone as he was driving along in his unmarked. Almost all of the really bad driving I have seen in the past couple years has been police cars! Police do these things because they can. Because they know that no other policeman will say that another policeman committed a crime in the line of duty. This is what the Blue Wall is all about. I have only personally glimpsed small pieces of it, but I have seen enough to know that when police in news stories seem to be lying, they probably are.

PCM said...

But you fully understand why I might want to believe my own 1st-hand experience more than what you heard somebody say about something they didn't see, right?

Anonymous said...

Are your anti-police feelings based mostly on the things you've mentioned in this thread, or is there more to this?

PCM said...

I suspect they run deeper.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

I am not anti=police. I am anti-bad-police, with the badness that I am concerned about being primarily badness in the form of dishonesty.

These feelings have been partially out of the encounters I described above, but, more so from reading news stories and court opinions for a long time and seeing some bad patterns.

Other than what I describe on this thread, the only other experiences I have had with police have been where they are helping me, or trying to help victims of crimes I witnessed, or at least trying to help. These helping experiences have been decidedly mixed, but more good and neutral than bad.

My feelings about the nature and frequency about dishonest policemen did not really develop until I was somewhat into my 30s and I have had almost no interactions with police since then. In other words, the key factor has been reading news stories and court cases (and more recently police boards).

The fundamental problem is that since 9/11, most people are willing to forgive/deny policeman obvious lies (unless they are documented on clear and complete video (which is very rare)). More recently, following cop boards and blogs (not really this one, which is different than the standard cop blog, but others) has opened my eyes even more to the frequency and severity of police dishonesty.

The lies happened before 9/11 (I know from personal experience), but they have gotten much more brazen and serious and institutionalized. Regcits also seem too willing to sweep these lies under the rug since 9/11.

The good news is that the pendulum is swinging back. Because of youtube and the new ubiquity of small, good quality vid cams. This is going to be a big adjustment to policemen and to people who teach policemen. Fortunately, the Internet gives us a great place to discuss these issues so that policemen can be reminded that some people (more and more) see through the lies, and the lies need to stop. This is good because change needs to be incremental and gradual. 9/11 made everybody lose their minds in the US for 10 years precisely because it was so sudden. By establishing a dialogue over time, policemen can be gently introduced to the idea that many of the things they do really are dishonest and need to stop.

To answer your question a different way: the only crimes I have ever been stopped for are: speeding (a couple times), illegal left (once), seatbelt (once) and running a red light (once). The most recent was the running a red in 2002, but I was let off with a verbal warning because the traffic light was a new, temporary (?) light which had been placed so that it was badly obscured by an overpass over the road I was on. Cleanville is no criminal if that is what was being implied.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

I guess since I am coming clean, there was a small amount of contraband substance in a house I rented in 2008, but we did not know about it because it was in a compartment whose door was stuck shut for most of the year I rented. When we discovered the contraband, we disposed of it without ingesting.

This did not become a police matter, but it certainly did make me reflect on how easy it would be for policeman to destroy my life without me meaning to do anything wrong. For most of that year, a small lie about policeman exigent circumstances could have destroyed my drug free life with a drug charge.

I don't really count this as a crime because I did not intend to have pot in my dwelling and it is clear that some of the previous occupants left it there. Most policemen would probably disagree and say that this does make me a criminal because intent and knowledge are not required for a posession charge. Ultimately, I don't know the answer on this.

What I do know is that I want policemen out of my house (unless invited), and I get very angry when I hear that a policeman has lied to search someplace he should not be searching.

Anonymous said...

Cops letting other cops get away scot free with an offenase is NOt professional courtesy, it is a shame and stain upon all cops.

What OTHER ' profession ' allows for bad conduct and law breaking to be dismissed as a sort of good old boys joke? If a doctor or lawyer or architect said: Oops! I made a mistake so let it go as a ' courtesy' so I will escape justice".

If a doctor operating on one of your loved ones screwed up and botched a procedure, would you want the others present to make sure it was dealt with according to the rules, or accept a coverup as acceptable because of PC ( professional courtesy )?

cops had better wak up and realize that they are not ABOVE the law, and every instance of letting a fellow cop go free from a crime is a sure sign: It is NOT professional..it is the mark of a clique, a gang, and unworthy of the title professional.

Cops want a double standard...everyone else obey the law...but if you are a cop its Ok because we will cover it up for you. Awful and disgusting mindset...no wonder cops are so hated by most average citizens today...and the ones that do not hate fear them, and that is terrible as well.

For a ' profession ' so mired in perjury and coerced consents and abuses documented daily across the nation, cops have a lot of nerve laughing off an offense for a cop that would land a non-cop in jail over. Shame on any cop that ignores the law to help a pal..it is illegal and wrong.

College Cop said...

"These feelings have been partially out of the encounters I described above, but, more so from reading news stories and court opinions for a long time and seeing some bad patterns."

To quote one of my favorite bloggers (Bruce Schneier, in a cnn article about the uselessness of cctv): "our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data".

This is universally the case with people who have a problem with the police (or any group of people). They have a pre-concieved bias based on very narrow context information. Then something appears on the news that supports their initial bias and blam, that bias is made stronger, usually to the point where it becomes unmovable even by anecdotes that point in other directions. Imagine a white nationalist veiwing a news account of a raping-murdering black man (and the conculsions he'd draw from that) and you get the picture.

I personally am fasenated by bias (as a campus cop, and as a black man) in all forms. It's my laymen belief that bias is a corrupted form of a natural human defense Mechanism (the one that makes us group things by type in our minds).

But I Digress lol.

College Cop said...

About the comment directly above mine about cops letting cops off, let me ask you a question.

Do you really think bad cops are stupid enough to do something in front of other cops? I've known a few cops who ended up in trouble (like one guy who got arrested for sexual assault), and I didn't see it coming.

And yet people think we all sit around watching other cops do evil stuff and then choose to do nothing about it. We never get the benifit of the doubt that maybe, MAYBE we didn't see anything bad go down in the 1st place.

Here we see another plank of bias against an outside group (you can't get more "outside group" than police, except maybe lawyers lol). The belief that the other group must be CONSPIRING to hide the truth, rather than simply being as ignorant of the wrong-doing as everyone else is.

PCM said...

Interesting, College Cop.

Somewhere recently I heard a line I liked about biases and prejudices and racism: If OK if you observe and then judge. It's not OK to judge and then observe.

I'm sure that the ability to categorize (which can become prejudice and bias) are rooted deep in us. Just imagine how crazy we would go if we couldn't categorize and had to judge from scratch every single person we passed on the street? "Why is that man behind the case register!? Oh, he works there.... Why is that woman lying on the street!? Oh, she's homeless.... Why are these people coming to my door? Oh, they're Mormons." We wouldn't be able to face the day.

Anonymous said...

with ideo surveillance and camera phone/vids everywhere,its surprising these videos keeps popping up,,guess n the heat of the moment,,no one thinks video