August 8, 2016

"We were wrong: Ending stop and frisk did not end stopping crime."

Say the editors of The Daily News.
The NYPD under Commissioner Ray Kelly used the lawful tactic of questioning suspicious individuals to deter crime before it happened. Many cops believed, for example, that the fear of getting stopped for questioning prompted would-be gun-toters to stop carrying their weapons.

As many readers will know, the Daily News Editorial Board supported the NYPD’s strategy as essential to public safety.  
But, since a federal judge ended the stop-and-frisk program, the shootings have dropped in NYC. The editors don't even attempt to guess why leaving people alone, perhaps to carry guns, would lead to fewer shootings.

At least consider the possibility that "An armed society is a polite society."

78 comments:

TreeJoe said...

This is totally the beginning plot line of a futuristic downtrodden sci-fi society:

"The NYPD under Commissioner... used the lawful tactic of questioning suspicious individuals to deter crime before it happened."

If it was Lawful, why did a judge end it?

What was the definition of suspicious? Probably not "probable cause", I'm guessing. Hmm?

mockturtle said...

The editors don't even attempt to guess why leaving people alone, perhaps to carry guns, would lead to fewer shootings.

By all means, let us jump to a 'cause and effect' correlation instead of what may be a mere association.

Hagar said...

It was not "lawful" because the police found "disproportionally" more young Black men looked suspicious to them.

Hagar said...

Bad English again. Something cannot be both "lawful" and unconstitutional.

Mick said...

ALL of the " mass shootings" (whether false flag , hoax or real) have occurred in "gun free zones".

Owen said...

I would hope that this natural experiment gets some responsible data-collection so we can try to figure out what's "really" going on. Bear in mind that today's populations are comprised of different individuals raised differently and facing different challenges, and so the confounding factors are enormous, thus we would probably want LOTS of data here. Yet the data from the older situation (stopped, frisked, weapon found and arrest made, no weapon found and no subsequent crime committed, etc) can't really be compared to the new situation (did not stop, did not frisk, no idea if weapon was present, subsequent crime did or didn't occur). We just have a general impression of more or less mayhem.

Not trying to be difficult here, but the social scientists should explain how we can rigorously interrogate the new circumstances. Why WOULD today's thugs be more peaceable, even if armed?

Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?

AReasonableMan said...

Several commenters have suggested that Althouse has given up serious commentary and is now just trolling in order to increase her click count. This post would be exhibit one for that theory.

Freder Frederson said...

At least consider the possibility that "An armed society is a polite society."

Of all the arguments supporting civilians carrying arms, this is the stupidest and scariest. It implies that people will not be polite unless they are under threat of deadly force. Worse, it implies that shooting someone (or at least threatening to shoot someone) for being impolite is somehow justified. Which of course it isn't, just ask the guy in Florida who shot and killed a kid because his music was too loud. There are few things more impolite than threatening someone with a gun.

Mick said...

AReasonableMan said...
"Several commenters have suggested that Althouse has given up serious commentary and is now just trolling in order to increase her click count. This post would be exhibit one for that theory".

Really? why is that.

FleetUSA said...

The bad guys don't know who has a gun. Therefore, they are less likely to tempt their own fate. They'll satisfy themselves with low hanging fruit if they can find it.

Freder Frederson said...

It must piss off carry advocates to no end that the city that has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country also has one of the lowest crime rates, especially considering how far New York has come (from 2,000 plus murders in the mid-eighties to 332 last year).

Freder Frederson said...

The bad guys don't know who has a gun.

Almost by definition, if you are a civilian carrying a gun in NYC, you are a bad guy. Carry permits are few and far between.

Robert Cook said...

"What was the definition of suspicious?"

Walking the streets while of a dark hue.

Brando said...

Has "stop and frisk" really ended, or just changed its form somewhat? The police can still frisk you on "reasonable suspicion" which is about a low and subjective a standard as it gets--in the past, they said "I'll stop about five young men in this neighborhood today and chances are I'll find something" and now they can say "I'll stop about five young men in this neighborhood today, at least if they look a bit nervous or have their hands in their pockets or are wearing a jacket when it's hot out or bear some resemblance to a perp I saw once".

Also, deterrence isn't the only reason crime rates may be down. In New York's case at least, it could have a lot more to do with the city becoming wealthier with more lawful inhabitants in the city core, reducing the opportunities for the sorts of street crimes that the city was once famous for.

Brando said...

"Walking the streets while of a dark hue."

Dark hued streets are the best for muggings, it's harder to be identified that way.

Brando said...

"Almost by definition, if you are a civilian carrying a gun in NYC, you are a bad guy. Carry permits are few and far between."

Or you might be a misunderstood vigilante . . . who was pushed too far.

TreeJoe said...

Freder federson

Over and over again we have seen that the hidden threat of consequence or lack thereof alters behavior accordingly. It's not about overt threats it's about the knowledge that poor actions will almost certainly be responded to by equal or greater force.

Brando said...

"It must piss off carry advocates to no end that the city that has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country also has one of the lowest crime rates, especially considering how far New York has come (from 2,000 plus murders in the mid-eighties to 332 last year)."

It also had a very high crime rate at a time when it still had very strict gun control, and a lot of other things have changed in NYC during the past couple decades that could explain the drop in crime. I think if it was as simple as "tough gun control equals low crime!" we'd be seeing cities like Chicago, Baltimore, etc. with far lower crime rates than the rest of the country.

Freder Frederson said...

Or you might be a misunderstood vigilante . . . who was pushed too far.

By definition, vigilantes are bad guys. They have no place in a society that claims to honor the rule of law, let alone believes in justice.

Freder Frederson said...

I think if it was as simple as "tough gun control equals low crime!" we'd be seeing cities like Chicago, Baltimore, etc. with far lower crime rates than the rest of the country.

Yet the simplistic argument on the other side is "More Guns, Less Crime", in fact there is a bestselling book that has that exact title.

Freder Frederson said...

It's not about overt threats it's about the knowledge that poor actions will almost certainly be responded to by equal or greater force.

Can you provide an example where you would feel justified shooting someone for merely being impolite?

Curious George said...

"Freder Frederson said...
At least consider the possibility that "An armed society is a polite society."

Of all the arguments supporting civilians carrying arms, this is the stupidest and scariest. It implies that people will not be polite unless they are under threat of deadly force. Worse, it implies that shooting someone (or at least threatening to shoot someone) for being impolite is somehow justified. Which of course it isn't, just ask the guy in Florida who shot and killed a kid because his music was too loud. There are few things more impolite than threatening someone with a gun."

Of all your posts, this is one of the stupidest and scariest.

1) It doesn't imply ALL people won't be polite, just some.
2) It doesn't imply that all impoliteness allows justifies use of force, just some.

buwaya said...

"It implies that people will not be polite unless they are under threat of deadly force."

"Polite" is a euphemism. Of course.
The rest of the comment is an absurd literal reading.
Let us say that civic order requires a certain sort of socialization. The effectiveness of this varies, in place and time.
For some people, badly socialized, or in a certain sort of society, this requirement of the threat of retaliation is broadly true.
Some experience in the wide world may be necessary to demonstrate the merits of this point.

AReasonableMan said...

Brando said...
Or you might be a misunderstood vigilante . . . who was pushed too far.


Perhaps surprisingly, Curtis Sliwa doesn't carry.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Freder Frederson said...It implies that people will not be polite unless they are under threat of deadly force. Worse, it implies that shooting someone (or at least threatening to shoot someone) for being impolite is somehow justified.

No it doesn't, and no it doesn't. Did you intentionally make a very basic error of logic here, Freder?

In case it was inadvertent, allow me to assist: Wiki: Affirming the Consequent

Freder Frederson said...

It doesn't imply that all impoliteness allows justifies use of force, just some.

Can you provide an example of such impoliteness?

Owen said...

Freder Frederson @ 11:55: "...By definition, vigilantes are bad guys." Interesting. Vigilantes arise when the old bargain breaks down. Ordinarily in civilized society we outsource the violence to a professional class. But when the services provided by that class are completely detached from the situation we citizens and taxpayers face, we are entitled to terminate the contract. Yes, it's messy and the costs are often much higher than we expected. But it's Plan B.

You are wrong to say that vigilantes are bad guys. THEY certainly don't think they are. And to the extent they are lucky and accurate --able to protect the widow and her lunch money from the predations of the young thug, WITHOUT killing anyone-- they are actually great. In practice they will get a mixed score, but you can't condemn them all out of hand.

You might want to think a little harder about the underlying pathology that they, and the police, are trying to address.

Freder Frederson said...

allow me to assist: Wiki: Affirming the Consequent

So in other words, you are saying that an armed society and politeness are not connected. Which renders the phrase meaningless.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Frder Frederson said...So in other words, you are saying that an armed society and politeness are not connected. Which renders the phrase meaningless

No, Freder, that's not it at all. Read the Wikipedia entry again. The standard form of this fallacy is:

1. If P, then Q.
2. Q.
3. Therefore, P.

Pointing out that your reasoning is fallacious (for this specific reason) is not at all the same thing as proving or arguing that P and Q "are not connected."

harrogate said...

As Robert Heinlein well knew, Somalia is a super polite society, yes?

And it's funny. The USA is an armed society and it's not quite known for its politeness. Neither was the Old West.

But let's treat the Sci Fi guy from the "Golden Age" as a sociocultural seer.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Curious George said...2) It doesn't imply that all impoliteness allows justifies use of force, just some.

I disagree, George; it'd doesn't imply that any impoliteness justifies use of force, at all.

It does imply that raising the possible cost of acting badly will act as a deterrent for acting badly (and being impolite is one small category of "acting badly"). It does imply that the widely-known possibility that people may be armed will act as a deterrent against people taking actions that may escalate to the point where arms may be used.

It's perfectly fine to disagree with the real-world/empirical reality of any of those "mays" of course.

Freder Frederson said...

1. If P, then Q.
2. Q.
3. Therefore, P.


1. If the society is armed, then it is polite.
2. Society is Polite.
3. Therefore it is armed.

That is not what I am arguing at all.

Brando said...

"By definition, vigilantes are bad guys. They have no place in a society that claims to honor the rule of law, let alone believes in justice."

Not if they're misunderstood vigilantes! Maybe they're the sane ones, and it's the world that pushed them too far.

"Yet the simplistic argument on the other side is "More Guns, Less Crime", in fact there is a bestselling book that has that exact title."

Both are just theories. There are too many other factors at play in determining crime rates to really state for certain that armed citizens or much greater difficulty in being armed will make a city safer.

I prefer allowing citizens to be armed regardless--the odds of a law abiding citizen being irresponsible with their gun is outweighed by the needs of the responsible citizens to protect themselves.

SukieTawdry said...

I recall that after Florida passed its concealed carry law, incidents of muggings dropped like rocks. Don't know where things stand today.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

harrogate got in there with the first mention of Somalia, guys, everyone pay up.

It is odd, I admit, to see people who love Big Government *and support the idea Big Government regulations & rules ordering society) arguing that the threat of force does not act as a deterrent for bad behavior. What force do all those laws and regulations you so dearly love have absent the threat of force behind them? What power do you imagine a law would have if that law wasn't backed up by the threat that breaking it will involve imprisonment, fines, etc?

Do you think laws backed by stiffer fines, longer prison sentences, etc, have more deterrent power than those with less? I'm pretty sure you do. Why then would it striket you as odd that the threat of a possible armed response (from the potential victim of a crime) has more of a deterrent effect (on the potential criminal) than its absence would have? It's a very similar assertion.

mockturtle said...

Here's an example of poor derivation of data.
Fact: Women who get prenatal care have healthier babies than those who don't.

False assumption: Prenatal care leads to healthier babies.

Correct assumption: There is a correlation between prenatal care and healthier babies.

There are many factors involved in whether or not a woman gets prenatal care during pregnancy, e.g., racial, socioeconomic, drug use. A woman on meth is unlikely to seek prenatal care but would likely have an unhealthier baby even with prenatal care. When doing sound research, one must factor out all other variables.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Freder - you are arguing that the phrase implies that an armed society is NECESSARY to have a polite society. The statement does not imply that; it implies at most that an armed society is SUFFICIENT to have a polite society.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"the number of stops reported by cops fell 97% from a high of 685,700 in 2011 to 22,900 in 2015."

Perhaps the time the NYPD was spending on stop and frisk is now being more productively spent. Or perhaps things were trending better to the point the tactic was no longer productive and the judge noticed before the police.

Brando said...

"There are many factors involved in whether or not a woman gets prenatal care during pregnancy, e.g., racial, socioeconomic, drug use. A woman on meth is unlikely to seek prenatal care but would likely have an unhealthier baby even with prenatal care. When doing sound research, one must factor out all other variables."

The other example I saw was "households with a lot of books raise smarter kids" which turns out that it's not the books that help, but rather being raised by the kind of people who keep books in the house.

Crime nationally (and in a lot of big, formerly murderous cities) started dropping steadily in the early '90s. Theories as to why this is include eradication of lead paint, more unwanted kids aborted starting in 1973 (when abortion rates started going up a lot), new policing strategies (though the new strategies varied from city to city), wealthier residents reclaiming previously abandoned neighborhoods which became less amenable to street crime (too many witnesses)--and probably a lot of other factors I left out. Stop and frisk was just one of those police tactics, and as I noted above I'm not so sure it has been meaningfully abandoned and not replaced with something equally effective.

Brando said...

"the number of stops reported by cops fell 97% from a high of 685,700 in 2011 to 22,900 in 2015."

Well, so much for my theory that they were just switching to a different form of stop and frisk.

mockturtle said...

The other example I saw was "households with a lot of books raise smarter kids" which turns out that it's not the books that help, but rather being raised by the kind of people who keep books in the house.

Exactly. Having worked in research, I cringe when I hear these 'findings'.

gadfly said...

New York City pistol licencing discourages registration within the city. There are less than 100,000 handgun permits on file and the six to eight month bureaucratic wait plus the two fees - $340.00 and $89.75 are automatic turnoffs for tax-averse New Yorkers. The point is that nobody has any idea how many handguns are in possession of the citizenry of the Big Apple.

Yancey Ward said...

I wouldn't just assume the stops actually decreased. The reporting on stops has probably changed in a way to mask the actions. I would guess the reported delta isn't legitimate.

In addition, I would also argue that the stops probably aren't that effective anyway, even at the levels reported previously- the odds of getting stopped were low, even if black.

Fernandinande said...

Brando said...
The other example I saw was "households with a lot of books raise smarter kids" which turns out that it's not the books that help, but rather being raised by the kind of people who keep books in the house.


Closer, but still wrong. Inheriting the genes of the kind of people who keep books in the house is what matters.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

The entire editorial is based on a lie. Did it strike no one as odd that they compared 2015 to 2010. They used 2010 because it was a high year. If we look at the homicide stats they are actually going up since S&F was done away with. As a NYC resident (outer boro) I can tell you that crime is up. Nothing like the 80's when literally every person I knew had been a victim of some type of crime. But tales of phones being snatched and cars broken into are becoming a routine part of the conversation again.

2009 - 471 homicides
2010 - 536 homicides. Note this unexplained jump occurs before stop & frisk is banned.
2011 - 515
2012 - 414
2013 - 333 * August of 2013 S&F ruled illegal.
2014 - 328
2015 - 350
2016 - 161 in first six months.

n.n said...

Rights and responsibilities.

As for a polite society, it is sufficient to increase opportunity cost. For example, abortionists, rape-rapists, and other criminals should not know whether their intended victims are disarmed and vulnerable.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

In regards to the crazy high number of stops. The NYPD would give out overtime. You were required to do a certain number of "stops". Not all stops involve frisking people. Most of the time the cops would just ask a bunch of school kids (of any color) their name just to complete the form. The was major pressure on cops to complete s&f forms to show they were out and about interacting with the public.

Freder Frederson said...

Cacimbo,

Your statistics don't support your assertion.

Hagar said...

I would expect that - conversely - the cops now also avoid reporting "interactions" with the citizens as "stop and frisk"?

Balfegor said...

I had a long comment here, but the stats Cacimbo points out basically invalidate everything I was going to say. Hmm. I see.

mockturtle said...

Closer, but still wrong. Inheriting the genes of the kind of people who keep books in the house is what matters.

Not entirely. My mother taught me to read when I was three and, while it may not have affected my IQ, it certainly enlarged the scope of my learning.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Brando said...
Or you might be a misunderstood vigilante . . . who was pushed too far.

Perhaps surprisingly, Curtis Sliwa doesn't carry.

Probably because in most of the democrat run cities where he's needed it's illegal to carry a firearm.

Brando said...

"I would expect that - conversely - the cops now also avoid reporting "interactions" with the citizens as "stop and frisk"?"

I have to figure when the cops end one practice that they think works, they will just find a way to do it in a slightly different form. So if you can no longer racially profile motorists, you can use "non-racial" profile factors to pull over the same population.

"Not entirely. My mother taught me to read when I was three and, while it may not have affected my IQ, it certainly enlarged the scope of my learning."

Yeah--there may be some nature at play, but nurture is the essential element. Parents who involve themselves in their children's learning at a young age (and don't subject their kids to things like fistfights and radiator-chainings) are going to do far more towards helping them reach their potential.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

@Freder.

I admit homicides went down in 2014, then went back up in 2015. As I pointed out with the 2010 increase, some fluctuations can be expected. I think we need to see at least three more years before claims can be made that s&f was not effective. When homicide went up 6%, an editorial declaring canceling s&f was a rousing success seems a bit premature.

Mutaman said...

"Several commenters have suggested that Althouse has given up serious commentary and is now just trolling in order to increase her click count. This post would be exhibit one for that theory".

This has clearly been going on for along time. Why do I continue to read her-like watching a bad accident and i want to help get that click count up.

mikee said...

"The number of stops reported by cops fell 97%...."

And the actual number of stops by cops did what, I wonder?

Homicides, incidentally, are a horrible metric to deduce anything about violent crime rates. Homicides require a death from violence, and that death can be avoided in many cases by rapid medical care. So homicides has at least two factors important to increases or decreases observed: violent attacks, and rapid medical care. I could list another dozen major factors that change a mugging into a murder, or a gang drive-by into a mass murder. Reality is complex, stop trying to make it seem simple.

If you want to know what is going on with violent crime, look at all crime stats, and pull out the ones that are defined as violent crime. Any theft by force or threat of force, any physical attack, for example. And even then, mayors, cops and prosecutors can affect crime rates by their incident reports, arrests, indictments, charges, prosecutions, plea bargains, convictions and so on. (I'm thinking of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who reduced crime by redefining the reported crime categories).

rehajm said...

Crime nationally (and in a lot of big, formerly murderous cities) started dropping steadily in the early '90s. Theories as to why this is include eradication of lead paint, more un...

Since theories are fun - demographics and birth control.

When Bratton et al were taking credit for the big reductions they claimed itvwas due to more investment, broken window and other innovative solutions but other big cities who did none of those things saw comparable declines..

Look at the age of the baby bulge and it tells you the type of crime wave you're presently riding.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Citing that Robert Heinlein armed society is a polite society quote is like Dan Quayle citing Tom Clancy novels ("They're not just novels. They're read as the real thing.") And the source novel for Heinlein's quote, Beyond This Horizon, isn't just fiction it's science fiction. Wikipedia describes the plot as positively medieval:

"Dueling and the carrying of arms is a socially accepted way of maintaining civility in public; a man can wear distinctive clothing to show his unwillingness to duel, but this results in an inferior social status."

The Cracker Emcee said...

Harrogate,

You must not get out much. The US is an exceedingly polite society compared to any of the foreign countries I've visited.

When my sons were small they wanted to go to a monster truck show at the Tacoma Dome. Not really my thing, but love conquers all so off we went to a sold-out, intensely crowded event that is virtually an icon of American white-trash culture. I have never attended any event of similar crowd density where people were so unfailingly polite, patient, and orderly. I thought the show sucked but this little bit of sociological observation was an eye-opener. Now, it may have been because people in this milieu are more likely to be carrying but I doubt it.

mockturtle said...

People at rodeos are typically more polite than people at football games.

Unknown said...

Can you provide an example of such impoliteness?
8/8/16, 12:07 PM

Oh, groping a twelve-year-old?

16yo? 19yo?

n.n said...

Not unlike the Theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, they are arguing that effect precedes cause.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...
Citing that Robert Heinlein armed society is a polite society quote is like Dan Quayle citing Tom Clancy novels ("They're not just novels. They're read as the real thing.") And the source novel for Heinlein's quote, Beyond This Horizon, isn't just fiction it's science fiction. Wikipedia describes the plot as positively medieval:


Gee, Left Bank, maybe the Professor used the quote as an example of an IDEA and not as some sort of empirical evidence/proof of the argument that quote is making. How tiresome it must be to willfully misread in such a way!

Peder DeFor said...

May I request that you add a Heinlein tag, pretty please?

Paul said...

First off, stop and frisk is a grievous violation of the Constitution. Period.

And if by allowing people to go armed stopped the murders, well that's just a side benefit that proves evening the playing field makes it harder for would-be-murderers to do their deeds.

Thing is, what scares the politicians is, those armed people might become pissed off of the ruling classes excesses and TAKE BACK THEIR GOVERNMENT. Hence they love gun control and hide their intentions with 'common sense crime control' shticks.

But what the cops, and Mayor of NYC were doing, WAS WRONG. People are free to walk the streets without harassment. And free people possess arms and carry them.

Bruce Hayden said...

Stop and Frisk is only a Constitutional violation if it does not require reasonable suspicion. If the police can articulate reasonable suspicion, they can do a Terry Stop, and query the party, and when they do, they are entitled to check them first for weapons for their own safety. Of course, finding one marijuana joint in a pocket in the frisk is problematic, since it obviously isn't a weapon. But weapons of any sort are a perfectly legitimate find. And, then they pretty much have the probable cause for an arrest in many cases.

A good example of this was the arrest of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Head state prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, married to a city councilman, asked the police to do some enhanced policing in her husband's district. So, they were out in force one day, and Gray, seeing the cops, tried to run away. That was the reasonable suspicion required for a Terry Stop. Unfortunately, for Gray, several of the police were on bikes, and he was not, so he was caught. At that point, the police, in their Terry Stop of him, were entitled to search him for weapons, and found an illegal knife, for which he was arrested. The reason that this case is interesting here is that the prosecutors were on the other side this time trying to convict the six officers involved, because Gray died in police custody. And was Black, as was Mosby and her husband. And this meant trying to prove that the cops had done something illegal along the way. By the end of the first trial, the prosecutors had admitted that the Terry Stop was legitimate. And after the second losing bench trial, the (Black) judge had determined that the arrest was legal too. (Prosecutors tried to confuse things by pointing out that the knife was legal under MD law - except that Gray was arrested for violating a Baltimore knife ordinance, which he apparently had done). The arrest and trials of the officers were so egregious that Mosby and several of her prosecutors are now in danger of losing their law licenses.

Bottom line here is that if the police have reasonable suspicion, they can Constitutionally perform a Terry Stop. If they find illegal weapons there, they can arrest. And once arrested, the suspect can be completely searched.

Bruce Hayden said...

Read an article a couple of days ago about people fleeing from CA and other progressive hell holes, and moving to ID, E WA, and E OR. They then buy a piece of land away from civilization, and try to live off the grid. One of the things they are warned against is using their horns. Another is failing to use turn signals. Missing from that list was stopping for pedestrians. I first saw that when I was living in NW NV, and the semis along busy US 395 would screech to a halt if a pedestrian put one foot off the sidewalk. Freder says that the saying about an armed society is bogus. But, my partner reminds me around here every time I do something that might be common place in a place like NYC, that most everyone here is armed. And, I think that she is right. Most everyone here in NW MT is armed (or has a gun back in their vehicle), are very polite, and most are friendly. There may not be any causation, but there sure seems to be a lot of correlation between the level of gun ownership and level of politeness in this country.

Robert Cook said...

"The arrest and trials of the officers were so egregious that Mosby and several of her prosecutors are now in danger of losing their law licenses.

"Bottom line here is that if the police have reasonable suspicion, they can Constitutionally perform a Terry Stop. If they find illegal weapons there, they can arrest. And once arrested, the suspect can be completely searched."


1.) What about their putting Gray in the police wagon, hands cuffed behind his back, where every stop and turn of the truck resulted in his being thrown about, injuring him fatally? Although they were acquitted of charges--no surprise!--I think they intended Gray to be harmed inside that truck. I don't think they intended fatal injury...but they wanted to fuck him up a bit. (I knew a guy where I worked back in the 1980s here in NYC who entered the Police Academy and became a police officer. He would come back and moonlight--it was a hotel and he had been a bellman--and he told stories of everyday casual brutality he'd seen other cops inflict on cuffed prisoners, including dragging them face down by their ankles up flights of stairs while their hands were cuffed behind their backs.)

2.) Cops can always provide a claim of "reasonable suspicion" after the fact. Cops often lie. What recourse do most citizens have after having been caught in these walking dragnets, especially the vast majority who aren't found to have weapons or other contraband and who aren't arrested, but who find themselves subject to constant police suspicion and harrassment?

Brando said...

"1.) What about their putting Gray in the police wagon, hands cuffed behind his back, where every stop and turn of the truck resulted in his being thrown about, injuring him fatally? Although they were acquitted of charges--no surprise!--I think they intended Gray to be harmed inside that truck. I don't think they intended fatal injury...but they wanted to fuck him up a bit. (I knew a guy where I worked back in the 1980s here in NYC who entered the Police Academy and became a police officer. He would come back and moonlight--it was a hotel and he had been a bellman--and he told stories of everyday casual brutality he'd seen other cops inflict on cuffed prisoners, including dragging them face down by their ankles up flights of stairs while their hands were cuffed behind their backs.)"

Bruce was talking about the legality of the stop and arrest, which were established. But why are you so certain the police wanted to harm Gray in the ride? The vehicle camera showed a normal trip, and the way they strapped him in (shackled, but not secured to his seat) may have been unsafe but was normal police procedure. There's really no evidence that they wanted to hurt him, nor really a motive--he hadn't tried to attack them or anything.

"2.) Cops can always provide a claim of "reasonable suspicion" after the fact. Cops often lie. What recourse do most citizens have after having been caught in these walking dragnets, especially the vast majority who aren't found to have weapons or other contraband and who aren't arrested, but who find themselves subject to constant police suspicion and harrassment?"

About the same recourse as anyone else harassed by abusive government officials--very little. And all the more reason to be wary of anyone wanting fewer limits on government.

Robert Cook said...

"But why are you so certain the police wanted to harm Gray in the ride?"

Because many cops are bullies, as I know from anecdotes told to me by police officers I have known, and as we all are seeing via proliferation of videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Just as many people attracted to children are drawn to occupations that will put them near children, people with violent tendencies will be drawn to occupations that will allow them to be violent. (I've said here before that my younger brother still lives in the small beach community where I grew up. He tells me that many of the bullies and "bad kids" who always got into fights, kids he has known since first grade, are members of the local police force.)

"And all the more reason to be wary of anyone wanting fewer limits on government."

Yes, but who espouses fewer limits on government?

Robert Cook said...

Oh, I realize you believe that people who advocate that the government actually serve the people of the USA, we who pay taxes, "want fewer limits on government."

Wrong.

The government is our means of managing our society. Presently, the government largely serve the financial elites. The government should NOT serve the financial elites, but should serve the people.

Brando said...

"Because many cops are bullies, as I know from anecdotes told to me by police officers I have known, and as we all are seeing via proliferation of videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Just as many people attracted to children are drawn to occupations that will put them near children, people with violent tendencies will be drawn to occupations that will allow them to be violent. (I've said here before that my younger brother still lives in the small beach community where I grew up. He tells me that many of the bullies and "bad kids" who always got into fights, kids he has known since first grade, are members of the local police force.)"

I don't think that's a fair stereotype of the police but even if it were, you're assuming those six officers (a) decided to follow normal police procedure in not strapping Gray in, (b) drove normally on their route back to the station, but (c) this was their plan to harm him? That's a reach.

"The government is our means of managing our society. Presently, the government largely serve the financial elites. The government should NOT serve the financial elites, but should serve the people."

Government shouldn't "serve" anyone, except its most basic constitutional mandates. Once we go down the road of government "fixing" society, we shouldn't be too surprised when agents of government prove abusive with the power we've given them.

Big government ideas are why Freddie Gray was arrested in the first place--far as I could tell his extensive list of crimes were packed with drug and weapons offenses. Because apparently it's the government's job to keep people from protecting themselves (in West Baltimore, no less) or carrying substances which might get them high for a bit.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't think that's a fair stereotype of the police but even if it were, you're assuming those six officers (a) decided to follow normal police procedure in not strapping Gray in, (b) drove normally on their route back to the station, but (c) this was their plan to harm him? That's a reach."

What makes you think they drove "normally?" Assuming they did, how do you know it isn't a "normal" part of their practice to give people such rides, intending them to be bumped and bruised as a part of their transportation to jail?

I don't assert or believe that all cops are bullies who enjoy beating up citizens, but too many are, and there are too few consequences to those who are.

"Government shouldn't 'serve' anyone, except its most basic constitutional mandates. Once we go down the road of government 'fixing' society...."

Of course it should...that is it's purpose. It is the mechanism by which the activities of society--made up of countless parts, including the millions of people comprising the society--are managed. Management includes fixing problems that occur and that we, the people feel need to be addressed.

What do you mean by "basic constitutional mandates?"

Brando said...

"What makes you think they drove "normally?" Assuming they did, how do you know it isn't a "normal" part of their practice to give people such rides, intending them to be bumped and bruised as a part of their transportation to jail?"

The camera footage did not show sharp turns, sudden stops, high speeds or any other elements of a "rough ride". There was simply no indication that these particular officers did anything out of the ordinary or that could be intended to harm Gray.

"Of course it should...that is it's purpose. It is the mechanism by which the activities of society--made up of countless parts, including the millions of people comprising the society--are managed. Management includes fixing problems that occur and that we, the people feel need to be addressed."

That's one opinion about the role of government--but don't be too disappointed when it inevitably breeds corruption and abuse, as any expansive, unchecked power will do.

"What do you mean by "basic constitutional mandates?""

Maintaining a court system, maintaining law and order limited by individual rights, national defense, regulation of interstate commerce, etc. It doesn't mean "no government at all" but to the extent it has to be involved in people's lives, it takes the most limited role reasonable. What that role is is subject to debate, but the idea that government should do everything for all our problems is dangerous.

Rusty said...

Paul @ 10:21
Precisely. You can't change your government by force of arms when the only arms are in the hands of the government. Democrats don't like a level playing field. They want you needy and vulnerable.

jr565 said...

questioning suspicious people is just another name for stop and frisk. "suspicious" is a value judgement.

jr565 said...

(cont) if they nab a lot of black people because they "look suspicous' the argument then would be "Why are the cops targeting black people and assuming they look suspicious" This is now "Profiling"

Bruce Hayden said...

The prosecutors were completely unable to prove that the cops gave Gray a rough ride. Completely. They tried to argue it, as Cook has here, but failed miserably. Part of the problem was that Gray was just fine at the second to last stop the van made. The cops added another passenger on the other side of the van, and he testified in court that the ride was just fine. So, it came down to the other passenger's in court testimony as well as video of the last leg of the trip on the one hand, and the prosecutors waiving their hands on the other. Easy choice for the judge, not even considering that the prosecutors needed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Which is why the judge was so caustic in his decisions.

Cook is correct that cops can invent reasonable suspicion, but, at least, they now need to be able to articulate it for the record. No more "he made a furtative movement", but rather, like in the Gray case, that he made eye contact, and started running away (the eye contact was just icing - the mere running away constitutes reasonable suspicion). And, because this was initially documented, the prosecutors early on conceded that the stop was a legal Terry Stop. And, then that the open carry of the illegal knife was more than probable cause for an arrest.

Still, Cook, along with other liberals and progressives, ignore that the natural and consequent result of more government spending and programs is more police. Along with higher taxes. The new laws and the like ultimately end up being enforced at the barrel of a gun. Which is why the Freddie Gray prosecution was so notable - it made clear the hypocrisy of the left. The police were in the process of doing extra policing in that neighborhood at the express request of head state prosecutor Marilyn Mosby (to help her politician husband). She then flipped into BLM mode, going after the exact same cops she had requested to step up enforcement, after Gray died. Same thing the year before when the black guy died after being stopped for selling single cigarettes, something mandated by the liberal NYC establishment to raise revenues. I, along with a lot of conservatives, would be far happier if many fewer things were illegal requiring many fewer cops.