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View Full Version : After all the rhetoric, how do we solve the problem of racism and police brutality?



John Smith
05-02-2015, 07:24 AM
I see a self fulfilling prophecy, so to speak. It's not a lot different, IMO, than with the black pilots in WWII. The white folk back in DC didn't think they could fly fighter planes, so they made sure they didn't see any enemy planes, then complained when they had no 'kills'. Set them up to fail, then when they fail, claim it proves your point.

It's my belief that many look at black neighborhoods and assume these kids can't succeed, give them no opportunity, then point to the lack of success as proof they were right.

A 60% unemployment rate is not a good thing. A high percentage of high school drop outs is not a good thing. Kids growing up to be afraid of law enforcement is not a good thing.

They don't seem to have even the hope of minimum wage jobs.

6 cops have been indicted. That does not mean they'll be convicted. But it is, IMO, a start, but only a small step.

The one thing this country promises, as I've said before, is opportunity. Guess the question is how do we look at places like Baltimore and keep that promise.

Nicholas Scheuer
05-02-2015, 07:38 AM
Fully agree, John. There are a great many instances where kids in "disadvantaged" communities across the USA have excelled academically and socially after having been offered decent opportunities.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 07:54 AM
Been thinking after looking at the map on another thread. I've witnessed "white flight" first hand. This is how we get segregated neighborhoods. At least, I'm sure, it contributes.

Back in Montclair, NJ. we had really poor black areas and really wealthy white areas. Eventually busing was ordered. My recollection is that the poor community wasn't getting its share of school resources. In an effort to make all the schools "equal" students got bused. That cost a lot more money than simply giving the poor neighborhood schools the proper resources, and the kids spent, some, long times on the buses.

We have ads running here for Philadelphia elections. One of the issues is that schools in Philadelphia don't get as much help from the state as other school districts do.

I think one problem is that, as a nation, good jobs have dried up. The "middle" class is hurting/disappearing. In recent elections across the country, we've seen teachers blamed, cops blamed, and firefighters blamed for the loss of private sector jobs. We see immigrants blamed. We see blacks blamed.

None of this works, IMO. I can't find a single private sector job lost because we have too many teachers. I do believe too few teachers makes for poorer teacher/student interaction.

My granddaughter had a black friend in elementary school. One school project required going to the Library. That little girl had no way to get there. Too far to walk. No family car. Not on a bus line. We took her.

We also have left far behind the one parent working and the mom staying at home. Many parents have not the time, the energy, or the knowledge to help kids with their homework.

All of this needs to be addressed. I've thought about a longer school day, so kids can stay and have teachers help them with homework. Then they run into busing problems.

I don't know where to start.

George Jung
05-02-2015, 08:07 AM
I would imagine it's a 'journey of a thousand steps', and it starts with the first. Electing officials promoting the general, rather than the 1%ers, interests is critical, and difficult. As we've seen, too many 99%ers voting against their own interests, and so disengaged, they're not even aware.

Warren Buffet/Berkshire Hathaway is having its annual meeting this weekend in Omaha. Most know he's declared most of his multi-billions will go to Gates Foundation, likely for overseas projects. That's all well and good - but I don't understand why folks with those kinds of resources, and a philanthropic intent, don't do more in their own neighborhoods. Buffet has donated funds to some of the local Universities; but could easily start/fund a business school that would impact the local economy for generations, not to mention raise the standards in the Midwest. It seems a no-brainer - and yet, nothing. BH has an extensive group of businesses; the only impediment to increasing manufacturing/jobs in the US is... big business. Buffet, and others like him, are certainly in a position to champion such a cause, but don't.

We can all do our part - but some are in a position to affect change much more than others.

Jim Mahan
05-02-2015, 09:18 AM
Use the one percenter's excess to subsidize their own domestic industries, indirectly, by paying employees a regular bonus based on their salary, on a sliding scale so the rich end of the middle class employee spectrum gets a smaller percentage than those with lower wages. Then make it a law that every employee of a company that provides benefits gets those benefits whether they work part-time or full-time, and make it a law that full-time is the default, it being the employee's option to work fewer hours according to their needs. Make a law restricting the pay of any individual of any organization to a multiple of the wage of the lowest earner at the company. Make it illegal to do business domestically using outsourced labor. Use a combination of tax incentives and criminal prosecution for non-compliance as incentive.

Get the oligarch's money out of all politics, and get the government's hand all over the onepercenter's businesses. Manually rebuild the middle class, while rebuilding the country, and undoing all the incestuous plutocratic regression we've all been suffering with and paying for, via the agri-petro-pharma-medica-military-industrial-penal-insurance-complex and Walmart. Make all state colleges and universities federally funded tuition-free education. Reward or incentivize students who opt for math and science, and the liberal arts over MBAs and JDs. Unprivatize education and prisons. Break up big banks and other near monopolies, the way Teddy Roosevelt broke up ma bell. Raise the minimum wage to twenty-five dollars an hour. Sign up and pay the premium for everyone between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-five, who make less than seventy-thousand a year, for a term life insurance policy with a face value (no loan value) of a quarter of a million bucks.

And buy everyone a decent car.

Free gas!

Now back to being serious for a moment. Try to imagine what would happen with regard to the biggest social problems we have, and the quality of life in general, if we did anything like what I mentioned above. What would Ferguson, or Detroit, or coal-mining West Virginia, look like if there were a major manufacturing plant, and maybe a university, nearby and the average worker was making thirty-five dollars an hour, and the unemployment rate was four percent and the lowest wage paid was sufficient for a single parent to have savings in a addition to day care, health care, decent schools for the kids, night classes, etc.

Regardless of the mechanics whereby the wealth would be shifted around to accomodate it, surely there is enough wealth in a healthy US of A to make such a shift, and still have a relentlessly wealthy, and finally appropriately restrained onepercenter class, as well. So it's not the money, it's the will. And from whence is all of the resistance to anything that would help do what we want to do in this country? And who keeps sucking up to them to keep it going? And whose head do we want on a pike in order to tip us over to start making those changes?

ron ll
05-02-2015, 09:41 AM
Early studies indicate everyone acts better when police wear body cams.
"Evidence indicates fewer incidents of use of force and fewer complaints when police officers turn on their cameras."
http://m.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/0501/Study-shows-that-with-police-body-cameras-everyone-behaves-better-video

Not a total solution, but perhaps one of the thousand steps.

Gerarddm
05-02-2015, 09:50 AM
None of the posts above address the question postulated in the OP, namely the conflation between racism and police brutality.

My main suggestion is to stop hiring marginal candidates, and especially to reduce the hiring of ex military people, who are trained to view the world from an adversarial viewpoint. A more nuanced worldview would help.

ron ll
05-02-2015, 09:54 AM
None of the posts above address the question postulated in the OP, namely the conflation between racism and police brutality.

My main suggestion is to stop hiring marginal candidates, and especially to reduce the hiring of ex military people, who are trained to view the world from an adversarial viewpoint. A more nuanced worldview would help.

Yes, and also quit giving police departments all this surplus military gear in the name of homeland security.

Dave Wright
05-02-2015, 11:34 AM
You might get more support if you supply numbers to demonstrate that your pathway is doable. Let me supply them for you:

Reasonable estimate of the wealth of the U.S. one percent = approximately $30 trillion

Reasonable estimate of the total of all U.S. federa annual spending = approximately $4 trillion

So, yes I'd say the numbers show that a confiscatory policy could get your program off and running - yes that's possible. Now follow through and tell me more. Thanks!


Use the one percenter's excess to subsidize their own domestic industries, indirectly, by paying employees a regular bonus based on their salary, on a sliding scale so the rich end of the middle class employee spectrum gets a smaller percentage than those with lower wages. Then make it a law that every employee of a company that provides benefits gets those benefits whether they work part-time or full-time, and make it a law that full-time is the default, it being the employee's option to work fewer hours according to their needs. Make a law restricting the pay of any individual of any organization to a multiple of the wage of the lowest earner at the company. Make it illegal to do business domestically using outsourced labor. Use a combination of tax incentives and criminal prosecution for non-compliance as incentive.

Get the oligarch's money out of all politics, and get the government's hand all over the onepercenter's businesses. Manually rebuild the middle class, while rebuilding the country, and undoing all the incestuous plutocratic regression we've all been suffering with and paying for, via the agri-petro-pharma-medica-military-industrial-penal-insurance-complex and Walmart. Make all state colleges and universities federally funded tuition-free education. Reward or incentivize students who opt for math and science, and the liberal arts over MBAs and JDs. Unprivatize education and prisons. Break up big banks and other near monopolies, the way Teddy Roosevelt broke up ma bell. Raise the minimum wage to twenty-five dollars an hour. Sign up and pay the premium for everyone between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-five, who make less than seventy-thousand a year, for a term life insurance policy with a face value (no loan value) of a quarter of a million bucks.

And buy everyone a decent car.

Free gas!

Now back to being serious for a moment. Try to imagine what would happen with regard to the biggest social problems we have, and the quality of life in general, if we did anything like what I mentioned above. What would Ferguson, or Detroit, or coal-mining West Virginia, look like if there were a major manufacturing plant, and maybe a university, nearby and the average worker was making thirty-five dollars an hour, and the unemployment rate was four percent and the lowest wage paid was sufficient for a single parent to have savings in a addition to day care, health care, decent schools for the kids, night classes, etc.

Regardless of the mechanics whereby the wealth would be shifted around to accomodate it, surely there is enough wealth in a healthy US of A to make such a shift, and still have a relentlessly wealthy, and finally appropriately restrained onepercenter class, as well. So it's not the money, it's the will. And from whence is all of the resistance to anything that would help do what we want to do in this country? And who keeps sucking up to them to keep it going? And whose head do we want on a pike in order to tip us over to start making those changes?

CWSmith
05-02-2015, 11:57 AM
...reduce the hiring of ex military people, who are trained to view the world from an adversarial viewpoint.

I'm not convinced this is the problem. A fiend of mine is a cop in a town south of here and former Coast Guard. He's a lovely man - compassionate, generous, everything you want in an officer. It's about attitude and attitudes change. It's about core values and it's about how the community treats the police. There is an adversarial culture that needs to be eliminated. Police need to be and to view themselves as part of the community.

Phillip Allen
05-02-2015, 12:13 PM
I can't find it now but I remember reading that extra smart cop applicants and regularly turned down. the thinking is that they won't stay. the result is less intelligence on the force

perhaps someone with better search skills can find it

George Jung
05-02-2015, 12:23 PM
Bingo. This idea that 'all a soldier knows how to do is kill' is such a no-starter. Military training, is just that; what's behind the curtain?

I'd agree on the bodycams - keeps both the officers, and the public, more honest. No more 'he said/she said'; they can watch the recorded encounter.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 01:17 PM
It's interesting to note Baltimore has paid out a lot of money to settle suits behind police misconduct. What I have not heard in conjunction with this is the individual cops whose behavior caused the lawsuit have been disciplined in any way.

I think a lot of people do things the wouldn't do if they had some skin in the game. If I won a grievance that resulted in back pay, NOTHING happened to the Postmaster who failed to settle in the office. Corporations may get fined for doing things they get caught doing, but corporations don't make decisions; people in them do. With rare exception, as far as I can tell, the company pays a fine, but the person who made the decision pays no penalty. Cops have, obviously, gotten away with a lot. The city pays the lawsuit, but do the cops who caused it get disciplined?

The 1% can hide behind the corporation and/or a team of very expensive lawyers. Most of us can't hide behind anything. Even if innocent, strong likelihood of conviction.

Phillip Allen
05-02-2015, 01:24 PM
It's interesting to note Baltimore has paid out a lot of money to settle suits behind police misconduct. What I have not heard in conjunction with this is the individual cops whose behavior caused the lawsuit have been disciplined in any way.

I think a lot of people do things the wouldn't do if they had some skin in the game. If I won a grievance that resulted in back pay, NOTHING happened to the Postmaster who failed to settle in the office. Corporations may get fined for doing things they get caught doing, but corporations don't make decisions; people in them do. With rare exception, as far as I can tell, the company pays a fine, but the person who made the decision pays no penalty. Cops have, obviously, gotten away with a lot. The city pays the lawsuit, but do the cops who caused it get disciplined?

The 1% can hide behind the corporation and/or a team of very expensive lawyers. Most of us can't hide behind anything. Even if innocent, strong likelihood of conviction.
lj argues that we all have equal access to the courts/law

George Jung
05-02-2015, 01:32 PM
And he would be correct.

What we don't have is 'equal access to funds'.

john welsford
05-02-2015, 02:28 PM
Just an observation. Where there is the perception by the have nots, that the haves, are much advantaged then there is a major societal stressor, one that has historically lead to civil war. The have nots will do whatever they think they have to to live, and the haves will do whatever they think they have to do to defend their families, posessions and positions. The divide grows wider until that difference is addressed.
What is happening today with the police, being funded principally by the haves, and being required to defend the haves from the have nots, is somewhat understandable.

I believe too that the system of each jurisdiction hiring and maintaining its own police force is an issue, many of the smaller ones cannot afford good training, good motivated people, and are dependent upon the revenue generated by fines to keep themselves employed. That latter is a serious conflict of interest, one that does not happen in most western countries where the police are funded from the countries government, and are deployed where circumstances require. A National police force, rather than a local one. Fines go back to the governments consolidated fund, in our country even speeding fines do that.
( not parking fines though but thats about the only exception).

John Welsford

Canoeyawl
05-02-2015, 03:06 PM
There is a small town next to me where the local police have a reputation not for brutality but for ruthless revenue. (Police hovering near parking meters and hiding at stop signs is the norm. It is a tame little town with an undiversified white population, several shopping malls and automobile dealerships leading to high sales tax based revenue) They do not want educated people for police as the salaries would be too high. For many it is their first job and they only stay for a couple of years then move on to someplace that pays better, where they can afford a home. A police salary can not buy a home in this town and they have no vested interest in the community.
The Ca. Highway patrol has a minimum college education requirement, with a good salary, and I think this contributes to a far more intelligent force, with an individual able to make a compassionate snap decision rather than just falling back on military training. Off duty these guys are are Boy Scout leaders and other similar examples of pillars in the community.

Recent rhetoric about our overseas conflicts being "police actions" is horse poop, a term crafted to appease the public, leaving many to think soldiers are automatically qualified for "police work". They are trained for war, with little conscience for their individual actions. In fact, much of military training removes conscience from the thought process.

Phillip Allen
05-02-2015, 03:10 PM
And he would be correct.

What we don't have is 'equal access to funds'.

somewhat misleading, donchathink?

Flying Orca
05-02-2015, 03:17 PM
Perhaps a change of emphasis is needed, such that police officers are trained to keep the peace rather than enforce the law at all costs.

Also, body cams at all times - two suspicious failures and you're out of a job.

elf
05-02-2015, 03:45 PM
How do we solve it? Demilitarize the police. Birth control for free to everyone. Unwhite the cultural norms. Pay a living wage. Reduce class size. Treat mental illness as mental illness and not as criminal. Break up the big banks and get them out of the business of making money. Legalize and decriminalize drugs.

In short, spend lots of money to repair all the ills.

Not gonna happen. Sorry.

The rising ocean will occur before that happens.

Canoeyawl
05-02-2015, 04:58 PM
We tend to talk about "training" as if these men were dogs. At some point they have to make a decision about lethal force and the dogs are trained to use their own discretion at that precise moment.
By example, police dogs are repeatedly trained to decide for themselves who the "bad guy" is. Training sessions are set up with "children" and "bystanders" with the actual "bad guy" hidden in their midst. Ultimately even after the command is given, the dog has to decide which person to "bite". The dogs don't always get it right, but the bad ones or dumb ones (emphasis on dumb ones) are usually weeded out by the process.

I think some examples of police brutality and killings are premeditated, and the cop knew exactly how they were going to treat the "perp" before they ever came close to conflict, to the point of instigating the conflict. More focus, much more, should be on psychological profiling before police are hired, and random re-examination should be done. I don't think this will happen until the cost of defending, prosecuting, and compensation for the victims becomes prohibitive to the cities. Perhaps in light of recent events and the backlash by the public at large some changes will be made, but it will take years to reverse the situation. The LA police dept. changed dramatically after the Rodney King event. A healthy fear of public scrutiny can be a good thing.

My fear is that the big lesson taken from Vietnam, keep the cameras and reporters away from the action, only scripted productions allowed, will be the winner. And that will depend on the courts, and the laws concerning cameras and surveillance. If we had reporters at large in Iraq that war would have been over before it started.

Waddie
05-02-2015, 05:05 PM
I spent a large part of my teaching career in inner city schools. 90% of those kids were just fine, there to be educated. Many of them had good, involved, parents, even the single mothers. But that 10% did their best to make life miserable for everyone, black and white. Over and over again. I think that applies to our police departments. Most officers are good employees, and follow the rules. But that 10% makes life miserable for everybody they come in contact with. And I don't think that 10% is simply racist. The are equal opportunity abusers. They gave Gray a "rough ride" and it cost him his life. But they give "rough rides" to whites they consider thugs as well. Most of that 10% was very adept at hiding their true natures during the application, screening, and training process, and they are now adept at hiding it from their superiors.....until something like this happens.

It's easy to say "pay more, hire better people ". That's easier said than done. It's not a money issue. Most well educated people, especially of color, have no desire to police the ghetto, for any amount of money. So think about what type of person would find that job attractive...........
I believe police departments hire the best people available; problem is quality people don't want any part of it.

I also don't believe racism is as big a problem as most make it out to be. It just isn't there in the younger generation. And even in the older generation it's weaker than ever. We have made progress. But once again that 10% keeps the flame alive. They're nasty and they're vocal. They do their best to make everybody miserable, black and white. Too bad quite a few of them see policing the ghetto as an attractive job.

So what happened? Why do we even have ghetto neighborhoods? If you go back a couple of generations black families were fairly stable. Black kids went to black schools; and they were, in general, good schools, without undue discipline problems. And there were jobs in the 'hood. So what happened? Sometimes the best of intentions have unintended consequences. The fair housing acts meant that black teachers, police officers, businessmen, firemen, were no longer required to live in "black only" neighborhoods. ( They might still be required to live within the city limits, but no longer in the "black" section of the city). THIS LAW WAS THE MORAL THING TO DO, but it's wasn't a positive for the majority left behind. The 'hood lost it's leadership, it's role models, the mentors, and it's businesses. Black professionals fled to the suburbs, and that's where they are today.

Mr. Brown didn't understand why his daughter had to attend the "black" school several miles away when there was a perfectly good white school nearby. But the Supreme Court saw it differently. Nobody asked the average black parent; many, if not most of them liked their schools, and didn't feel their child needed to sit next to a white kid in order to get a good education. What they wanted was control ot their schools (out from under the thumb of all white school boards), and the money distributed equally. The last thing they wanted was their children bused all over town. And it wasn't lost on them that it was usually only the black children (90%) being bused out of their neighborhoods. Black parents weren't given the option of keeping all black schools. THOSE were considered patently inferior. Historically, black churches and schools were the hub of black community life. Gone; at least the schools.

Economic disparity. Yep; it's getting worse. Why? Why not, a Capitalist would ask. I saw a recent post that claimed competition is a bad thing. What a stupid comment coming from an educated individual. Competition is ALWAYS a good thing. It is the job of government to rein it in, keep it healthy, set the rules. But government has no leverage anymore. When I saw the Berlin Wall fall, I knew we were in for a rough ride. Why do you think FDR was able to put into play all those social programs? Politicians got religion all of a sudden? No. There was a competing ideology out there, and it was gaining ground. It scared the hell out of the people in power. Socialism/Communism was the perfect foil to Capitalism. It was the real deal; it could happen. Prominent people were Communists. Country after country was falling to Communism or installing socialist governments. So it was far better to cut the masses in on the deal than starve them out. All those programs were essentially an act of self-preservation on the part of the 1%. All through the 50's and 60's the threat of Communism and Socialism were real.

But today they are dead, except in small corners. Capitalism has won, hands down. Every major economy is now Capitalist, including China and Russia, once the paragons of the movement. Capitalism now has a monopoly. And what ALWAYS happens in a monopoly? EXCESS....... who cares about the masses...where they gonna go?

regards,
Waddie

Memphis Mike
05-02-2015, 05:11 PM
Gee I dunno. Instead of all the rhetoric, why don't you get hobby, like building a boat?? Build a boat with a poor black kid, if you will...

Nicholas Scheuer
05-02-2015, 05:19 PM
I drove a school bus through inner city neighborhoods for 5 yrs. It was about 5% of the kids who prompted all the behavior problems on my bus. I had two teenage girls from different inner city neighborhoods tell me I was either "the best bus driver ever", or "(their) favorite bus driver". I never regretted not having routes that concentrated on "nicer" neighborhoods, because when I occasionally drove some of those routes as a relief driver, they had the 5%, too.

Two kids illustrate opposite ends of the spectrum; an inner-city Kindergartener who could not tell me his name (so I could check my manifest for his drop-off location), and an adolescent 6th grader who would tutor a second grader on her reading skills on the way to school each morning. We once passed a home not far from hers which she termed "strange". When I told her it was an example of "the International Style", and that there are a few throughout our city, she said "I see, I'll have to remember that".

Driving a school is a challenge, but overall, I enjoyed my five-year stint.

Phil Y
05-02-2015, 05:45 PM
It's a small thing, but at some stage, I'm not sure when, South Australia changed the name of the Police from The Police Force, to the Police Service. I suspect a whole lot of cultural change training and initiatives went along with that. I think such things can have a significant impact. I don't think you have to solve the problem of minority poverty to at least largely overcome the problem of extreme police prejudice and brutality.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:49 PM
lj argues that we all have equal access to the courts/law

Part of the solar lease contract I would have had to sign waived my rights to the court system; arbitration would be the only available recourse in a dispute. More and more of us sign things of this nature without realizing it.

Access to the courts is one thing, but a fair trial is something different altogether. In my book I suggested that the jury need not know the gender, color, etc. of the defendant. Maybe that would help make the courts more fair.

I argued before the judge when I was called for grand jury that I will not convict anyone until the rich and powerful are brought to trial. I also won't believe the prosecution, as the only way I see how we convict so many innocent people is the prosecution lies.

Equal justice is a nice concept. But it is only a concept.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:50 PM
Just an observation. Where there is the perception by the have nots, that the haves, are much advantaged then there is a major societal stressor, one that has historically lead to civil war. The have nots will do whatever they think they have to to live, and the haves will do whatever they think they have to do to defend their families, posessions and positions. The divide grows wider until that difference is addressed.
What is happening today with the police, being funded principally by the haves, and being required to defend the haves from the have nots, is somewhat understandable.

I believe too that the system of each jurisdiction hiring and maintaining its own police force is an issue, many of the smaller ones cannot afford good training, good motivated people, and are dependent upon the revenue generated by fines to keep themselves employed. That latter is a serious conflict of interest, one that does not happen in most western countries where the police are funded from the countries government, and are deployed where circumstances require. A National police force, rather than a local one. Fines go back to the governments consolidated fund, in our country even speeding fines do that.
( not parking fines though but thats about the only exception).

John Welsford

That's worth giving some thought to.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:51 PM
There is a small town next to me where the local police have a reputation not for brutality but for ruthless revenue. (Police hovering near parking meters and hiding at stop signs is the norm. It is a tame little town with an undiversified white population, several shopping malls and automobile dealerships leading to high sales tax based revenue) They do not want educated people for police as the salaries would be too high. For many it is their first job and they only stay for a couple of years then move on to someplace that pays better, where they can afford a home. A police salary can not buy a home in this town and they have no vested interest in the community.
The Ca. Highway patrol has a minimum college education requirement, with a good salary, and I think this contributes to a far more intelligent force, with an individual able to make a compassionate snap decision rather than just falling back on military training. Off duty these guys are are Boy Scout leaders and other similar examples of pillars in the community.

Recent rhetoric about our overseas conflicts being "police actions" is horse poop, a term crafted to appease the public, leaving many to think soldiers are automatically qualified for "police work". They are trained for war, with little conscience for their individual actions. In fact, much of military training removes conscience from the thought process.

Also worth considering.

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:52 PM
Perhaps a change of emphasis is needed, such that police officers are trained to keep the peace rather than enforce the law at all costs.

Also, body cams at all times - two suspicious failures and you're out of a job.

Like Sheriff Taylor as opposed to Deputy Fife?

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:54 PM
How do we solve it? Demilitarize the police. Birth control for free to everyone. Unwhite the cultural norms. Pay a living wage. Reduce class size. Treat mental illness as mental illness and not as criminal. Break up the big banks and get them out of the business of making money. Legalize and decriminalize drugs.

In short, spend lots of money to repair all the ills.

Not gonna happen. Sorry.

The rising ocean will occur before that happens.

I agree with all those things. I used to tell people I was running for president. When they asked me how I'd cut down on crime I replied, "Make less things illegal."

John Smith
05-02-2015, 05:56 PM
We tend to talk about "training" as if these men were dogs. At some point they have to make a decision about lethal force and the dogs are trained to use their own discretion at that precise moment.
By example, police dogs are repeatedly trained to decide for themselves who the "bad guy" is. Training sessions are set up with "children" and "bystanders" with the actual "bad guy" hidden in their midst. Ultimately even after the command is given, the dog has to decide which person to "bite". The dogs don't always get it right, but the bad ones or dumb ones (emphasis on dumb ones) are usually weeded out by the process.

I think some examples of police brutality and killings are premeditated, and the cop knew exactly how they were going to treat the "perp" before they ever came close to conflict, to the point of instigating the conflict. More focus, much more, should be on psychological profiling before police are hired, and random re-examination should be done. I don't think this will happen until the cost of defending, prosecuting, and compensation for the victims becomes prohibitive to the cities. Perhaps in light of recent events and the backlash by the public at large some changes will be made, but it will take years to reverse the situation. The LA police dept. changed dramatically after the Rodney King event. A healthy fear of public scrutiny can be a good thing.

My fear is that the big lesson taken from Vietnam, keep the cameras and reporters away from the action, only scripted productions allowed, will be the winner. And that will depend on the courts, and the laws concerning cameras and surveillance. If we had reporters at large in Iraq that war would have been over before it started.

Perhaps such camera will be among the other questions candidates will have to take a position on. Remember when Geraldo was drawing a map in the sand?

John Smith
05-02-2015, 06:02 PM
I spent a large part of my teaching career in inner city schools. 90% of those kids were just fine, there to be educated. Many of them had good, involved, parents, even the single mothers. But that 10% did their best to make life miserable for everyone, black and white. Over and over again. I think that applies to our police departments. Most officers are good employees, and follow the rules. But that 10% makes life miserable for everybody they come in contact with. And I don't think that 10% is simply racist. The are equal opportunity abusers. They gave Gray a "rough ride" and it cost him his life. But they give "rough rides" to whites they consider thugs as well. Most of that 10% was very adept at hiding their true natures during the application, screening, and training process, and they are now adept at hiding it from their superiors.....until something like this happens.

It's easy to say "pay more, hire better people ". That's easier said than done. It's not a money issue. Most well educated people, especially of color, have no desire to police the ghetto, for any amount of money. So think about what type of person would find that job attractive...........
I believe police departments hire the best people available; problem is quality people don't want any part of it.

I also don't believe racism is as big a problem as most make it out to be. It just isn't there in the younger generation. And even in the older generation it's weaker than ever. We have made progress. But once again that 10% keeps the flame alive. They're nasty and they're vocal. They do their best to make everybody miserable, black and white. Too bad quite a few of them see policing the ghetto as an attractive job.

So what happened? Why do we even have ghetto neighborhoods? If you go back a couple of generations black families were fairly stable. Black kids went to black schools; and they were, in general, good schools, without undue discipline problems. And there were jobs in the 'hood. So what happened? Sometimes the best of intentions have unintended consequences. The fair housing acts meant that black teachers, police officers, businessmen, firemen, were no longer required to live in "black only" neighborhoods. ( They might still be required to live within the city limits, but no longer in the "black" section of the city). THIS LAW WAS THE MORAL THING TO DO, but it's wasn't a positive for the majority left behind. The 'hood lost it's leadership, it's role models, the mentors, and it's businesses. Black professionals fled to the suburbs, and that's where they are today.

Mr. Brown didn't understand why his daughter had to attend the "black" school several miles away when there was a perfectly good white school nearby. But the Supreme Court saw it differently. Nobody asked the average black parent; many, if not most of them liked their schools, and didn't feel their child needed to sit next to a white kid in order to get a good education. What they wanted was control ot their schools (out from under the thumb of all white school boards), and the money distributed equally. The last thing they wanted was their children bused all over town. And it wasn't lost on them that it was usually only the black children (90%) being bused out of their neighborhoods. Black parents weren't given the option of keeping all black schools. THOSE were considered patently inferior. Historically, black churches and schools were the hub of black community life. Gone; at least the schools.

Economic disparity. Yep; it's getting worse. Why? Why not, a Capitalist would ask. I saw a recent post that claimed competition is a bad thing. What a stupid comment coming from an educated individual. Competition is ALWAYS a good thing. It is the job of government to rein it in, keep it healthy, set the rules. But government has no leverage anymore. When I saw the Berlin Wall fall, I knew we were in for a rough ride. Why do you think FDR was able to put into play all those social programs? Politicians got religion all of a sudden? No. There was a competing ideology out there, and it was gaining ground. It scared the hell out of the people in power. Socialism/Communism was the perfect foil to Capitalism. It was the real deal; it could happen. Prominent people were Communists. Country after country was falling to Communism or installing socialist governments. So it was far better to cut the masses in on the deal than starve them out. All those programs were essentially an act of self-preservation on the part of the 1%. All through the 50's and 60's the threat of Communism and Socialism were real.

But today they are dead, except in small corners. Capitalism has won, hands down. Every major economy is now Capitalist, including China and Russia, once the paragons of the movement. Capitalism now has a monopoly. And what ALWAYS happens in a monopoly? EXCESS....... who cares about the masses...where they gonna go?

regards,
Waddie

I agree with most of that. The problem with the 10% bad cops is the 90% that covers up for them. There's also a history of jury verdicts. The jury did not convict the cops who beat Rodney King. The jury did not convict Zimmerman. The jury did not convict the cops who put dozens of bullets into the black teenager in NY who was standing on his porch. the list goes on.

Maybe the school system needs the resources to put the 10% disruptive students into another school.

Montclair had busing; federally mandated, but not funds came with the mandate. The cost of busing is enormous. It prevents other things the schools offer students. Montclair had marvelous shops. I knew students who finished high school BECAUSE of those shops. Budget problems killed the shops. I believe that was a consequence of the cost of busing.

skuthorp
05-03-2015, 04:38 AM
None of the posts above address the question postulated in the OP, namely the conflation between racism and police brutality.

My main suggestion is to stop hiring marginal candidates, and especially to reduce the hiring of ex military people, who are trained to view the world from an adversarial viewpoint. A more nuanced worldview would help.

Seconded, and stop electing lawyers for the same reason.

Osborne Russell
05-03-2015, 03:17 PM
How, "after the rhetoric", whatever that means? Follow the money. End the war on drugs, particularly in its manifestations of padding the stats, cooking the books to prop up the propaganda meme of "taking back the streets". People want quantity, not quality, from the police, and they want it now.


Probable cause from a Baltimore police officer has always been a tenuous thing. Its a tenuous thing anywhere, but in Baltimore, in these high crime, heavily policed areas, it was even worse. When I came on, there were jokes about, You know what probable cause is on Edmondson Avenue? You roll by in your radio car and the guy looks at you for two seconds too long. Probable cause was whatever you thought you could safely lie about when you got into district court.

Then at some point when cocaine hit and the city lost control of a lot of corners and the violence was ratcheted up, there was a real panic on the part of the government. And they basically decided that even that loose idea of what the Fourth Amendment was supposed to mean on a street level, even that was too much. Now all bets were off. Now you didn't even need probable cause. The city council actually passed an ordinance that declared a certain amount of real estate to be drug-free zones. They literally declared maybe a quarter to a third of inner city Baltimore off-limits to its residents, and said that if you were loitering in those areas you were subject to arrest and search. Think about that for a moment: It was a permission for the police to become truly random and arbitrary and to clear streets any way they damn well wanted.

---

How do you reward cops? Two ways: promotion and cash. That's what rewards a cop. If you want to pay overtime pay for having police fill the jails with loitering arrests or simple drug possession or failure to yield, if you want to spend your municipal treasure rewarding that, well the cop whos going to court 7 or 8 days a month and court is always overtime pay you're going to damn near double your salary every month. On the other hand, the guy who actually goes to his post and investigates who's burglarizing the homes, at the end of the month maybe hes made one arrest. It may be the right arrest and one that makes his post safer, but he's going to court one day and he's out in two hours. So you fail to reward the cop who actually does police work. But worse, its time to make new sergeants or lieutenants, and so you look at the computer and say: Who's doing the most work?

And they say, man, this guy had 80 arrests last month, and this other guys only got one. Who do you think gets made sergeant?

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/29/david-simon-on-baltimore-s-anguish

CWSmith
05-03-2015, 03:34 PM
There is a famous old line you see in movies and TV: "If you have nothing to hide, why don't you let us look..." or something like that. In view of that, I find it more than amusing that some police resist body cameras.

skuthorp
05-03-2015, 04:06 PM
I can understand to a point in general CWSmith. Properly done it's a difficult job, obeying the law and all the rules whilst most of those you deal with do not. The other thing to remember is that since the French revolution gave the English aristocracy nightmares the police were there primarily for civil control. And that continues and frames an attitude. But then, as I said, it's a difficult job.
Which does not excuse abuse of the laws, the system or the procedures.

CWSmith
05-03-2015, 04:24 PM
I do think that being a cop is a tough job. I also think that much of what we are saying here underestimates the full extent of the problem.

Where I live there is relatively little crime and the police are friendly. They consider themselves a part of society. I've turned to them when I had a problem without fear of risk to myself. You don't have to go too far to find a much tougher town, more violent crime, greater risk to cops, and a more isolated cop mentality. We really do need to look at both sides of the problem.

That said, the body cameras can only attest to the truth. It may provide minor loopholes to those on trial, but it greatly reduces the idea and opportunity that the police can be a justice system unto themselves. We put them into patrol cars for the same reason. It's just the logical extension.

John Smith
05-03-2015, 05:49 PM
I don't know. I recall when I was young driving home around midnight. We took a short cut through Essex Fells. We got stopped. I asked if I was speeding or committed some other violation. Officers (two) replied I had not been, but they wanted to look in my trunk.

Thinking I had nothing to hide, I opened it. I had a couple of baseball bats in there. On this particular night they suddenly became concealed weapons. I pointed out we also have balls and gloves. I can only imagine how this would have worked out if I were a black youth.

Michael D. Storey
05-04-2015, 09:33 AM
I see a self fulfilling prophecy, so to speak. It's not a lot different, IMO, than with the black pilots in WWII. The white folk back in DC didn't think they could fly fighter planes, so they made sure they didn't see any enemy planes, then complained when they had no 'kills'. Set them up to fail, then when they fail, claim it proves your point.

It's my belief that many look at black neighborhoods and assume these kids can't succeed, give them no opportunity, then point to the lack of success as proof they were right.

A 60% unemployment rate is not a good thing. A high percentage of high school drop outs is not a good thing. Kids growing up to be afraid of law enforcement is not a good thing.

They don't seem to have even the hope of minimum wage jobs.

6 cops have been indicted. That does not mean they'll be convicted. But it is, IMO, a start, but only a small step.

The one thing this country promises, as I've said before, is opportunity. Guess the question is how do we look at places like Baltimore and keep that promise.
Good, here.
I would add that the fact is that to succeed, you need an education. It is true that there are rich drop outs, and also that an education does not guarantee you anything, but your chances are much better with than without.
However, part of this crisis lies with the fact that for generations, the education that was being offered does not result in anything even marginally better than what is available without. The result is that there is no push from the previous generation to apply oneself, and to the young perspective, worldly goods are often in the hands of those who are uneducated.
Example: Nobel Elementary School in Detroit has a library of books in boxes in the cellar, because, if they were in the hands of children, the books would not come back to school.
This backwards logic reinforces the notion that education is without value, except to employ teachers and administrators.
Once, it was illegal to teach some Americans to read. In many cases, it is still not being done.
I offer this as one example. There are tons of other examples, from diet to housing to neighborhood safety that also work against escaping. That is why it is a multigenerational problem, with no hope for the future.
We all know that neighborhood that have greater signs of wealth and employment are in better condition, on all counts, than those that do not, even though it is the same municipal budget that finances their public up keep, from roads to safety to schools

John Smith
05-04-2015, 11:50 AM
I think it is part of the human spirit to NEED something to look forward to. I guess that's kind of the same as having some realistic 'hope' for the future.

In the real world, many have nothing to look forward to; no reason to believe tomorrow will be better.

Michael D. Storey
05-04-2015, 12:17 PM
Early studies indicate everyone acts better when police wear body cams.
"Evidence indicates fewer incidents of use of force and fewer complaints when police officers turn on their cameras."
http://m.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/0501/Study-shows-that-with-police-body-cameras-everyone-behaves-better-video

Not a total solution, but perhaps one of the thousand steps.



I would like to think that if I were a copper, I would welcome a body cam. Then, I would be able to prove that things did indeed happen as I said that they did.