I want start this piece out with an official Disclaimer:
No, I do not believe that ALL cops are bad. Yes I do have friends who are police officers, and I know that the majority of Police/Law Enforcement officers are not bad.
Now, that said, there is a reality that we must all face. Whether the Law Enforcement Community is a force for good or bad in America, really is not up to the individual members of the Law Enforcement Community. The police do not make the laws. They do not pass the legislation that becomes law, they are simply tasked with enforcing whatever laws are passed. That is where the problems come in.
A transit cop allegedly assaulted, then arrested a 47-year-old man recording another man getting a summons at a Brooklyn subway station, according to a bombshell video released Wednesday.
Shawn Thomas of New Rochelle claimed Police Officer Efrain Rojas attacked him, arrested him and then tried to delete the video of Saturday’s interaction at Brooklyn’s Utica Ave. station.
Thomas told photographyisnotacrime.com that Rojas dragged him out of the station, forced him face down on a snowswept sidewalk and slammed his head into the pavement, splitting his lip.
“I was bleeding profusely,” he told the website. Attempts to reach Thomas for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday. “I was having really bad head pains while in jail, so they took me back to the hospital the following morning.”
Thomas was transported to the hospital twice as he awaited his arraignment Sunday, he said, according to the site.
FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Davie woman plans to sue the Broward Sheriff’s Office after she was forced to spend the night in jail for using her cellphone to record a deputy during a traffic stop.
Last March, 33-year old Brandy Berning was pulled over by Lt. William O’Brien after she reportedly drove in the HOV lane at the wrong time, according to The Sun-Sentinel.
As O’Brien approached her vehicle, Berning hit the record button on her phone. She recorded about 15 seconds of the conversation before telling O’Brien that he was being recorded. That’s when the deputy told her she had just committed a felony and demanded that she hand over her phone.
Bernings phone recorded her arguing with O’Brien for the next four minutes, he insisting that she was under arrest and must hand over her phone, she insisting that she didn’t do anything wrong.
At one point O’Brien reportedly reached into the vehicle and grabbed Berning’s wrist, spraining it, according to the paper. Berning said O’Brien got into her passenger seat and reached for her keys as he tried to force her from the car.
He eventually took her into custody and to jail where she spent the night. Berning was never charged and released the following day.
She’s now informed the sheriff’s office that she plans to sue.
In Florida, both parties are required to know when a conversation is being recorded. Berning recorded about 15 seconds of her conversation with O’Brien before informing him she was doing it.
However, it is legal for third parties to record a law enforcement officer performing their duties.
Barry Butin with the Broward American Civil Liberties Union told the paper there’s was good chance that the law will be on Berning’s side.
“Finding they’re liable for what they did, using what we think was excessive force just because she was recording him on her phone, that would drive home the point that police officers can’t do this,” said Eric Rudenberg, one of Berning’s attorneys told the paper.
Euharlee, Ga. (CBS ATLANTA) – The family attorney representing a 17-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Euharlee police officer says that the boy was holding a video game controller when he was shot opening his door.
Christopher Roupe was shot and killed on Friday when Euharlee officers showed up at the door of his home at 937 Euhar Lee Road, Lot 5, in Eagle View Mobile Home Park to serve a probation violation warrant for the boy’s father, WSB-TV reports. A female officer told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Roupe pointed a gun at her after he opened the door.
But the family’s attorney, Cole Law, said the boy was holding a Nintendo Wii video game controller, and was about to watch a movie.
“It just doesn’t add up,” Law told WSB. “We don’t know where that statement came from. The eyewitnesses on the scene clearly state that he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was, there was no response so he opened the door and upon opening the door he was immediately shot in the chest.”
Neighbor Ken Yates said that he saw the female officer immediately after Roupe was killed, and she was visibly distraught.
“This is tragic,” Yates recalled. “She came out of this house. She put her head in her hands and she was sobbing. Supposedly, he opened the door with a BB gun and in my opinion I think he was playing a game with his neighborhood buddies.”
Tia Howard, another neighbor, told WSB that she also came over to the house immediately after the shooting. Howard says she was told that “there was a Wii remote in his hand and [the officer] shot him.”
The GBI, who the case has been turned over to, has not released new details regarding the officer shooting of the teen pending standard autopsy and investigation procedures followed by the Euharlee Police Department. Evidence is being turned over to the Cherokee Judicial Circuit District Attorney currently.
Roupe was taken to Cartersville Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the upper chest and was pronounced dead a short time after his arrival at the hospital, according to Northwest Georgia News.
Officials did not disclose if a weapon was found on the scene.
Roupe was an ROTC student at Woodland High School and his family said he planned to join the Marines.
A funeral has been scheduled for Friday.
An 80-year-old California man was shot and killed by police who raided his home based on an incorrect, anonymous tip that the senior citizen was housing a methamphetamine lab on his residence, despite having no criminal record prior to the incident.
Eugene Mallory was a retired engineer living with his wife in Littlerock, California, a rural area on the outskirts of Los Angeles. LA Sherriff’s deputies arrived on his property early on the morning of June 27, 2013, at which point Mallory’s wife, Tonya Pate, and stepson Adrian Lamos made themselves visible to police.
The libertarian Reason.com news site reported that Detective Patick Hobbs, a self-described narcotics expert, spent four days monitoring the property before leading the warrant’s execution. Hobbs later said he “smelled the strong odor of chemicals” downwind from Mallory’s property.
The no-knock warrant that police were in possession of gave them the authority to enter the home without making their presence known beforehand – either by knocking on the door or announcing their presence vocally from outside.
It was then, police say, that 80-year-old Mallory stumbled down the cluttered hallway toward them while holding a handgun. Police later told investigators that they instructed Mallory to put down his gun and, when that request was ignored, one deputy had no choice but to open fire. Mallory was shot six times and was deceased within an hour.
Yet questions have been raised about exactly when the deputies warned Mallory to drop the gun. The LA County District Attorney’s office announced in January that an unearthed audio recording of the incident appeared to contradict the officer’s story, with deputies on the scene seeming to shout “Drop the gun!” after the six shots were fired.
Along with Detective Hobbs, Sergeant John Bones and Detective Robert Mittlburn entered the home. The DA’s report determined that the pair had not encountered Mallory in the hallway, as initially reported, but rather while he was sitting or lying on a bed behind a semi-open door deep inside the home.
“Bones announced, ‘Come on out here! Let me see your hands first please!’ Bones’ verbal tone is firm but does not sound agitated. Two seconds later, a Sheriff’s Department deputy yells in an agitated and frightened tone, ‘Whoa!’ and gunshots are heard,” the report states.
“Bones stated that once he and Mittlburn reached the doorway to the bedroom and realized there was a person lying on the bed, he directed the person to let them see his hands. Suddenly, Mallory stood up and raised his right hand in the direction of Sergeant Bones and Mittlburn. As he raised his right hand toward Bones and Mittlburn, Bones saw that Mallory was holding a handgun. Fearing for his life, and the life of Mittlburn, Bones discharged his service weapon at Mallory.”
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KTLA-TV in Los Angeles that the incident is unfortunate, but finding two guns near Mallory’s bed is all the evidence the police need to answer any questions.
“Age does not preclude somebody from being aggressive toward deputies,” he said. “The lesson here is don’t pull a gun on a deputy.”
Mallory’s widow, Tonya Pate, doesn’t buy that explanation, and has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department seeking more than $50 million. She said Mallory, who fostered a lifelong respect for law enforcement, was likely still in bed because he had difficulty hearing – a problem that was compounded by deteriorating vision.
“He would never point a gun at officers,” she said. “Every day I stay in that house with that bloody bedroom…where I know he was taken from me for no reason.”
The police have justified their search by reminding the public that they did find a small amount of marijuana on the property. The drugs were not included on the warrant and belong to Mallory’s stepson Adrian, who holds a medical marijuana license.
David Cleveland, a member of the Littlerock town council, told Reason.com that events like this have contributed to an atmosphere of mistrust between the police and the small community.
“People have found again and again that agencies which are supposed to be serving the people are actually acting in ways that are oppressive to the people,” he said.
YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima police say the man shot and killed by an officer early Saturday at a Nob Hill Boulevard car wash was holding a replica handgun in his hand.
In the first significant release of information since the shooting, police said Monday that an officer fired four shots at 23-year-old Rocendo Arias of Selah, who was holding a replica capable of firing soft plastic pellets.
Arias was struck once and died of a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Yakima County Coroner’s Office.
Department spokesman Capt. Rod Light said Casey Gillette, 29, was on a routine patrol about 3 a.m. when he noticed a vehicle had been parked at Classic Auto Wash, 907 E. Nob Hill Blvd., for more than an hour. Light said that based on a preliminary investigation, Gillette approached the vehicle and opened the passenger-side door. He saw a man in the driver’s seat with what appeared to be a handgun and his finger on the trigger. He then fired, Light said.
“Once investigators got on the scene, it was later determined that the handgun was a replica of an actual firearm,” Light said. “It’s what I would refer to as an Airsoft gun, but they appear very real.”
Airsoft is a trademark name for replica firearms that fire plastic pellets. They are designed to be nonlethal and often come in realistic replicas. Such devices typically have an orange tip at the end of the barrel intended to indicate it is not a real firearm.
“I believe this particular handgun had an orange tip. But based on our investigation I don’t want to go into particulars and details of the position of the gun and where the officer was. It was 3 a.m., it was dark and again we haven’t interviewed this officer yet and we don’t want to speculate,” Light said.
Gillette had another person with him while on patrol, Chief Dominic Rizzi Jr. said Monday afternoon.
“Yes, he did have a ride-along with him, and there’s nothing inappropriate about that,” said Rizzi, who declined to identify the person.
Police have yet to interview Gillette. Under the police union contract with the city, an officer involved in a shooting is not required to give a statement until 48 hours after the incident, although officers may waive that waiting period if they choose to.
Although the investigation is in the preliminary stages, Rizzi said Monday morning that he believes that Gillette acted appropriately.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, I absolutely stand behind the officer and his actions in the shooting that occurred,” Rizzi said.
Light said the investigators believe that Arias was attempting to assemble pieces of the pellet gun, because they found discarded packaging for accessories in the vehicle.
The investigation of the incident is being done by the Yakima Police Department, Light said, which is typical for the department. The results of such investigations are turned over to the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office and reviewed in a process Light called “very transparent.”
Gillette is on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. He has been with the department for 14 months, and previously worked nearly three years for the Toppenish Police Department.
Taken by themselves, as separate and unrelated incidents, these stories are tragedies. The problem is, that given their geographical locations and nearly identical incidents, they cannot be taken as separate and isolated incidents. They become incontrovertible evidence of a nationwide systemic problem. Casey Research writer Pete Kofod detailed it brilliantly in his article.
Legions and Lictors – the Praetorian Class
The Praetorian Class includes members of the Armed Services, federal, state and local law enforcement personnel as well as numerous militarized officials including agents from the DEA, Immigrations, Customs Enforcement, Air Marshalls, US Marshalls, and more. It also includes, although to a lesser extent, various stage actors in the expanding security theater such as TSA personnel. The main mission of the Praetorian Class is to keep the order of the day. This requires displaying an intimidating presence in their interactions with the Economic Class.
As the Praetorian Class ascends, the clear, albeit unstated, message that emerges is that actions and events in the Economic Class only occur with its tacit consent. Whether driving on roads, traveling in the air, visiting public land, walking down the street or even living in your own home, every action you take is predicated on its permission. By preconditioning the populace to enforcement of its edicts, most of which are completely arbitrary, the Praetorian Class sets itself up for a high degree of autonomy in its actions. This is confirmed by the fact that consequences for malfeasance within the Praetorian Class are almost never observed, and when it happens, it typically becomes a grotesque spectacle in which one of their own is sacrificed as an example, so as to keep appearances of effective internal controls.
Members of the Praetorian Class are typically recruited from the Economic Class and usually from the lower socio-economic spectrum, which offers them an opportunity for personal and professional gain that otherwise might be out of their reach. Early on in the training and indoctrination process, a strong emphasis is placed on teamwork and advancing the welfare of the team above the individual. While independent thought is never overtly discouraged, the fact is that questioning authority and failing to display complete loyalty to the team results in censure, shunning and even expulsion. Naturally, the recruit learns in short order which behavior is rewarded and responds accordingly. This forges a lifelong, unbreakable bond between the brothers-in-arms. This bond can be observed when people proudly display unit insignia and decorations decades after their departure from service.
As they serve in their martial role, members of the Praetorian Class learn to despise members of the Political Class and to view the plight of the Economic Class with detachment or even contempt. Law enforcement and military personnel will converse behind closed doors about the most horrific injustices and brutalities with cavalier amusement. While perhaps natural, their training for violence and teamwork is a fundamental cause for why members of the Praetorian Class abandon their roots and in time come to view their peers “back on the farm” with contempt. Likewise, the steady displays of the craven and treacherous character of the Political Class causes the Praetorian Class to privately disavow emotional allegiance to their masters, usually early in their service.
Naturally, as the members of the Praetorian Class socially distance themselves from both their origins and their masters, even though they are paid to do their bidding, a new group identity among them emerges. Adoption of this group identity, forged by the training, indoctrination and work, defines membership in the Praetorian Class. Some of the characteristics of this identity include:
Viewing everything and everyone according to a perceived threat posture. The members’ thought processes, beliefs and actions center on viewing the world through a paradigm of a graduated conflict spectrum and how to posture themselves accordingly. Even in the most mundane settings, their conversations tend to be awkward if not centered on their martial duties.
Tight internal socialization. Because they view life through a martial paradigm, members tend to socialize almost exclusively amongst themselves. Immediate family members are expected to do the same, which naturally occurs anyway as they can share experiences that external relationships simply are unable to address.
Loyalty is the highest honor. Whether referred to as the blue wall of silence or the brotherhood in arms, even the most egregious transgressions are buried. If the misdeeds are internal, meaning member versus member, the justice is handled internally. On the other hand, external missteps are typically swept under the rug and significant chicane is experienced by outsiders who seek to learn the truth.
In a relatively free and peaceful society, members of the communities that form the Praetorian Class lead a discrete existence. Members of the military commute to and from their place of work and are largely invisible to both the Political and Economic Class, certainly in communities that are not “Praetorian” communities. Attendance at cultural events in uniform is frowned upon, if not explicitly forbidden. During these times, members of the military and law enforcement are expected to live and operate outside the perception of other members of society, their purpose and function regarded with a sense of detachment and perhaps even subtle curiosity.
As the Political Class increasingly calls upon the Praetorian Class to ensure their order, however, their martial nature becomes more visible in the fabric of day-to-day life. This serves several purposes. For one, it allows the Political Class to demonstrate its willingness to use unlimited force to achieve its objectives, something that was always the case but is now made publicly visible. Rationalizing the increased public profile, a stream of honorifics is bestowed upon the Praetorian Class so that they may be presented as defenders of the Economic Class. This is accomplished through the time-tested use of pageantry, pomp and circumstance.
Over time, additional perquisites are bestowed upon the Praetorian Class including preferential treatment in both private and public facilities. Preferred air travel accommodations for uniformed personnel, including dedicated lines at TSA checkpoints and preferential boarding, have recently emerged as cultural standards that further distance the Praetorian Class from the masses.
Another clear change is the physical appearance of members of the Praetorian Class. The uniforms transition from relatively inconspicuous attire to “battle uniforms” such are those now standard issue to both the military and law enforcement personnel. These optics reinforce the position of the Praetorian Class as maintainers of public order, convey a message of physical dominance and establish chronic low-level fear among the masses. Sometimes referred to as the militarization of the police force, this characterization traditionally refers to the increasing firepower in even municipal police departments. Frequently lost in this observation, however, is the psychological impact that such a heavily armed police presence has on the “civilian” population – specifically that it further separates the Praetorian Class from the Economic Class.
As the influence of the Praetorian Class grows, so do the resources it consumes. This is manifested in the form of continuous “equipment” upgrades, training budgets and costly “interagency collaboration” in addition to the usual staff augmentation. This, of course, has the ancillary benefit of directing resources to equipment and service providers that are favored by the Political Class and in some cases may in fact be the primary purpose.
Perhaps less obvious is the need to constantly keep the Praetorian Class on the march. A bored Praetorian is a dangerous creature that will start looking for things to do. In order to keep the Praetorian Class engaged, they must be fed a continuous source of adversaries that they in turn actively engage. In “peace time,” actual engagement is replaced by training and rehearsing the defeat of the adversaries.
While the Praetorian Class emerges as its own entity, with allegiance only to the members’ peers, the most senior of the Praetorians are eventually invited to join the Political Class. Prior to that occurring, they are vetted for suitability, after which they become “made men.” Consider the long list of senior military officers and police chiefs that joined the ranks of the political elite. It is a sight to behold, their new-found support of the Political Class, a class they had silently held in contempt until their recent assumption. Metropolitan police chiefs, district attorneys and joint chiefs of staff are selected for political compatibility, not conviction of character.
How Does It Play Out?
History does not keep a flattering record of societies that allowed the Praetorian Class to rise. The Roman Empire’s decline from splendor to squalor extended for two centuries whereas the Nazi Third Reich collapsed in less than two decades. The continuous drain on productive resources, continuous warfare against new foes, abrogation of human rights and liberties and a pervasive culture of fear inevitably send the society into a tail spin. Some societies are able to observe the retreat of the Praetorian Class, but it is usually a function of economic necessity and often after a great price has been paid by the general population.
Unfortunately, as the tragedy unfolds, the Economic Class often tries to ride out the calamity. This is understandable, since people have a limited capacity to internalize long-term trends. In fact, because people adjust to new circumstances relatively quickly, it is almost impossible for them to compare the condition of life in the present versus the past. The common vernacular for this concept is “the new normal”, which upon the slightest reflection represents an obvious paradox, since the word normal implies a historically stable trend.
The Third Reich as a Textbook Example
History books are filled with examples of societies that have seen the rise of the Praetorian Class, followed by their own subsequent collapse, ranging from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union. Of all the examples, however, none seems more instructive than the rise and fall of the Nazi Third Reich in Germany.
Over a period of two decades, starting with the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the end of World War II, Germany saw the rise of a charismatic demagogue, the rise of police and paramilitary forces, the development of a military-industrial complex, the assumption of industry by the State, the demonization and persecution of scapegoats finally resulting in widespread warfare and societal ruin. Because the timeline is relatively compressed compared to other historical examples, spanning a single generation, the Third Reich serves as an excellent example of the broader consequences a society experiences when we observe the rise of the Praetorian Class. Furthermore, by virtue of its recent occurrence, many cultural and technological parallels serve as clear milestones.
Please follow the link and read the entire article as Pete Kofod does an amazing job of laying out exactly what the problem is, why it’s happening, and what can and must be done about it.