[News] Protests Against Police Violence After Death of George Floyd

Discuss police violence, the victims of police violence (including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor), the Black-led protests against said violence, and related topics.

hbi2k wrote:

So your position is that even morally indefensible laws should be followed?

The problem is that "morally indefensible" is not an objective standard. What if I refuse to follow a law I find morally indefensible, but the rest of society believes is just? Are we all entitled to our own customized version of the law? I don't see how society could operate if laws were subjective to every person.

There are certainly some laws I wouldn't follow should they be passed. I have every expectation that I would be convicted and sentenced for failing to follow them. Most civil rights progress has been of this nature with people being punished for following laws they found unconscionable. But what I choose to do in response to a law is different than what the court should enforce. I don't think I'd enjoy living in a world where the courts decided to ad lib their way through every case, retroactively changing contracts, criminal law, and sentences. That's why precedent is so important.

Are you saying contract law is morally indefensible? Are you saying contracts should not be respected? Or are you saying that police contracts are way too generous and they should be renegotiated?

Maybe dial it back a bit? You asked why the police don't have the pension stipulation like the military does and he answered it. Asking why we haven't made them have the pension stipulation, or whether we should are different questions.

farley3k wrote:
peanut3141 wrote:

I am not here to morally justify the difference in the contracts. I'm simply stating that it's not appropriate to go after retirement savings as part of a criminal prosecution and police contracts don't permit pensions to be seized when the employee commits murder.

Saying we should do either anyway is asking us to ignore the rule of law.

We make up the law so while you may be correct we can change that. We have tons of ways that felons lose rights, money, etc. We can do this to the police felons too.

So while it may not be the case now perhaps it is a good thing to change going foward.

Absolutely. I think there are lots of things that need to be rethought about police contracts. In particular, the restrictions put upon any investigation of only police officers are ridiculous. Limits on interrogation duration, hours of interrogation, if they can even be questioned without counsel. The list goes on and on. If those are conditions required to ensure a fair investigation, I suggest we extend them to the public as a whole. Let them enjoy the rights the rest of us have.

Edit:
This wouldn't even involve changing the law. It could be accomplished by changing the contracts that police operate under. I believe these are a lot of changes being implemented when entire police departments are shut down and new ones instantiated. It's hard to have part of a workforce operating under one contract and the rest under another. So cities simply cancel all contracts with the union and individual policemen and hire police under a new contract. If the new terms are too onerous for the previous policemen to reapply, you tend to get new employees.

If a teacher murders a student, should they lose their pension?

If a DMV employee shoots someone after work, should they lose theirs?

If a Social Security caseworker is convicted of manslaughter after drunk driving, do they lose their retirement?

Those of you who know me are well aware that I'm very anti-brutality and think our whole law enforcement system is hopelessly screwed up, particularly the prisons. (I've been talking, occasionally, about how bad prisons are for the better part of two decades here, and well before that on other sites.)

Yet, despite the massive changes I think the whole legal system needs to go through, I'm strongly against taking away vested pension benefits for anyone as a result of a criminal conviction, be they teacher, caseworker, DMV employee, or police officer.

Malor wrote:

If a teacher murders a student, should they lose their pension?

Their pension is part of their compensation for serving the public interest by educating their students. They have a moral duty to act in their students' best interests. One could make an argument that murdering the student they were charged to educate represents a sufficiently grave failure of that duty to withhold compensation for it.

I think that argument would be strengthened if the teacher murdered that student with a gun they were issued by the school district with an understanding that they were authorized to use it only in self-defense or defense of a student.

Yet, despite the massive changes I think the whole legal system needs to go through, I'm strongly against taking away vested pension benefits for anyone as a result of a criminal conviction, be they teacher, caseworker, DMV employee, or police officer.

While I am not sure if I agree with it, that is at least a coherent moral stance to take.

Interesting thought excercise. Since in all those cases their job doesn’t involve deadly force regularly I would first say that the punishments should be different. I would also say that most of those occupations wouldn’t have as long of a history of not being held accountable. I would also be interested to see what does happen to the pension of a teacher who is convicted of murdering a student. I would guess that a lot of money would be paid out by the teacher to that family of the student. And I would bet it would not be paid by the school district. Same with the other examples.
So I would bet there is a much bigger financial impact on the lives of the teachers family than on the family of the officer.

Malor wrote:

Yet, despite the massive changes I think the whole legal system needs to go through, I'm strongly against taking away vested pension benefits for anyone as a result of a criminal conviction, be they teacher, caseworker, DMV employee, or police officer.

To be clear, taking away vested benefits would be seizure of personal property. Being vested means the employee has property rights to company assets over time. This has to be pursued the same way as seizing any other property.

If police contracts were to be rewritten so that benefits are contingent upon retirement in good standing, those benefits are no longer vested, by definition. Talking about revoking vested benefits is nonsensical.

This makes me wonder what the legal context of Social Security is. I've had statements mailed to me that read like a retirement account, with quarters earned, estimated benefits, etc. If Congress passed a law cancelling it, how many would try to sue for breach of contract?

Chiming in a little late but as former Army all I can say is the military has its own distinct system of justice under the UCMJ. You have far fewer rights than a civilian and can be harshly punished for many things that would be considered ridiculous to punish in the civilian world, including but not limited to adultery, insubordination, and ghosting your employer (aka AWOL). So it’s not really worth comparing the two IMHO.

But fully agree dirty cops should lose their pension.

^^ The US Marine Corps' retirement program includes "vested" language, and yet those benefits are stripped upon dishonorable discharge.

To use an analogy, a tenured university professor has certain protections against dismissal, but can still be dismissed with cause.

A general rule can admit to specific exceptions without being rendered nonsensical.

jdzappa wrote:

[As a military officer you] have far fewer rights than a civilian and can be harshly punished for many things that would be considered ridiculous to punish in the civilian world, including but not limited to adultery, insubordination, and ghosting your employer (aka AWOL). So it’s not really worth comparing the two IMHO.

I disagree. The police' status as another group authorized to use force on behalf of the state makes them non-civilians. Although they are not identical to the military and not everything that applies to the military applies to them, in some ways they are more similar to the military than they are to civilian employers.

Therefore I think it can be instructive to examine the ways military culture and military justice differ from civilian culture and civilian justice, the reasons for it, and whether those reasons also apply to the police.

Jonman wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

And will the third still receive his pension?

The pension that he earned with each year of continuing to turn up to work? The pension that was guaranteed under his employment contract?

Look, I'm all for firing the motherf*ckers and trying them for murder, but I don't see how putting their family in the poorhouse helps.

If only that applied to the black woman that lost her pension for stopping another officer from choking a man. Or the white guy that lost his pension for failing to kill a guy because he thought he could take him down without shooting him and he did. Man it seems like if a cop gets fired over something that ends up saving a black life they don't get to keep their pension but if they murder a black person they do.

Police are supposed to have a monopoly on violence in society so they need to be held to stricter standards and harsher punishments than normal citizens, yet as an institution they’ve repeatedly shown that they can’t be trusted to adhere to even basic morality and only face punishment when under outside pressure to do so.

Weird and uncomfortable territory we're drifting into, folks. If you f*ck up so bad you end another human life, I personally think that should forfeit any rights you have to the thing you paid into to have the privilege of a little end of life comfort for yourself. Pensions are a luxury of the rich, and if you murder someone and end their ability to also enjoy end of life, not benefiting from that luxury (that, yes, you paid for!) seems more than a fair trade. See Baron of Hell's post above.

I get that people make mistakes. Even honest, non-murder related mistakes can and do have dire consequences, so the consequences of losing money because you were the cause of someone losing their life seems more than fair. Why should you be able to access those funds in those circumstances? I know it's a pipe dream, but if they do not care that they are murdering people unjustly, then other people need hold police accountable for the terrorism they've enabled amongst their ranks in some form or fashion. If the morality of preserving human life is of no interest to them, then hit the ghouls where they care (about themselves and their own) and take away the luxury privileges that they "earned" through those union contracts.

As someone who has, by the age of nearly 40, never had the opportunity or jobs to get a pension in the first place and will probably die poor, medically challenged, and alone, I have little sympathy for the luxuries and comfort of tyrants buoyed by government-sanctioned fascist institutions.

Sorry to digress the thread further.

If giving cops their pension will get them off, and keep them off, the street, fine. Do they deserve it? No.

I really don't care. It's about the least important part of the discussion, and I have no idea why we waste this much time on it. Once we start debating for or against the death penalty for cops that shoot civilians instead of making, "Whoops!" a get out of jail free card, we can discuss if we should or shouldn't give them their pensions.

Documents Reveal How the Police Kept Daniel Prude’s Death Quiet

NYT wrote:

It was early June, days after the death of George Floyd, and cities around the country were erupting in protests against police brutality.

In Rochester, the streets were relatively calm, but behind closed doors, police and city officials were growing anxious. A Black man, Daniel Prude, had died of suffocation in March after police officers had placed his head in a hood and pinned him to the ground. The public had never been told about the death, but that would change if police body camera footage of the encounter got out.

“We certainly do not want people to misinterpret the officers’ actions and conflate this incident with any recent killings of unarmed Black men by law enforcement nationally,” a deputy Rochester police chief wrote in an email to his boss. “That would simply be a false narrative, and could create animosity and potentially violent blowback in this community as a result.”

His advice was clear: Don’t release the body camera footage to the Prude family’s lawyer. The police chief replied minutes later: “I totally agree.”

The June 4 exchange was contained in a mass of city documents released on Monday that show how the police chief, La’Ron Singletary, and other prominent Rochester officials did everything in their power to keep the troubling videos of the incident out of public view, and to prevent damaging fallout from Mr. Prude’s death.

The dozens of emails, police reports and internal reviews reveal an array of delay tactics — from citing hospital privacy laws to blaming an overworked employee’s backlog in processing videos — used in that mission.

The documents show how the police attempted to frame the narrative in the earliest hours, playing up Mr. Prude’s potential for danger and glossing over the tactics of the officers who pinned him, naked and hooded, to the ground before he stopped breathing.

In a police report on the confrontation, marking a box for “victim type,” an officer on the scene listed Mr. Prude — who the police believed had broken a store window that night — simply as an “individual.” But another officer circled the word in red and scribbled a note.

“Make him a suspect,” it read.

Mr. Prude’s death has sparked daily protests in Rochester, as well as accusations of a cover-up from his family. Earlier this month, the city’s mayor, Lovely Warren, suspended seven officers involved in the encounter.

The documents were contained in a 323-page internal review of Mr. Prude’s death and the city’s actions in the ensuing months. She cited the report, which she released on Monday, in her decision to fire Mr. Singletary two weeks before he was to step down.

Ah yes make them a suspect. Because breaking a window is surely punishable by death.

f*cking lying cops over and over and over again.

Watch this:

Stick with it. The white girls get to talk initially. It's just all sorts of American racism bubbling to the surface.

Rochester Police Chief wrote:

We certainly do not want people to ... conflate this incident of law enforcement killing an unarmed black man with any recent killings of unarmed Black men by law enforcement nationally.

Wow. Just... wow.

EDIT: I mean, I suppose it’s factual; they don’t want that. Doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate, but certainly unwanted.

Amoebic wrote:

Weird and uncomfortable territory we're drifting into, folks. If you f*ck up so bad you end another human life, I personally think that should forfeit any rights you have to the thing you paid into to have the privilege of a little end of life comfort for yourself. Pensions are a luxury of the rich, and if you murder someone and end their ability to also enjoy end of life, not benefiting from that luxury (that, yes, you paid for!) seems more than a fair trade. See Baron of Hell's post above.

I get that people make mistakes. Even honest, non-murder related mistakes can and do have dire consequences, so the consequences of losing money because you were the cause of someone losing their life seems more than fair. Why should you be able to access those funds in those circumstances? I know it's a pipe dream, but if they do not care that they are murdering people unjustly, then other people need hold police accountable for the terrorism they've enabled amongst their ranks in some form or fashion. If the morality of preserving human life is of no interest to them, then hit the ghouls where they care (about themselves and their own) and take away the luxury privileges that they "earned" through those union contracts.

As someone who has, by the age of nearly 40, never had the opportunity or jobs to get a pension in the first place and will probably die poor, medically challenged, and alone, I have little sympathy for the luxuries and comfort of tyrants buoyed by government-sanctioned fascist institutions.

Sorry to digress the thread further.

The issue is who would the money go to if pensions were taken away. By not automatically taking pensions away for killing someone on the job, it allows the family of the person killed to include the pension amount in the damages they can sue the murderer for in civil court. If they're taken away automatically, as things stand now the money would likely go to either the government or back to the employer. The victim or their family would then have to sue them, and they have far more resources with which to defend themselves.

The ideal thing would be to write any new law in a way that ensured that pensions that are forfeited go to the victim or their family and aren't just seized by the government.

Colorado officer who pointed gun at doctor suspended 1 week

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado police officer has been suspended for one week for a well-publicized incident in which the white officer pulled a gun on an Indian American doctor who was trying to park at a refugee center the doctor operates.

An Aurora Police Department spokesperson said Officer Justin Henderson was suspended for 40 hours without pay and ordered to attend de-escalation training for his March 1 confrontation with Dr. P.J. Parmar, The Sentinel reported Thursday.

The incident gained national attention with the release of police body camera video as well as Parmar’s own cellphone video showing Henderson pointing a gun at Parmar after the doctor honked at the officer’s police car parked in his way.

Parmar, who has said he believes his race affected how he was treated, said he was disappointed with the punishment.

“It’s not enough,” he told The Sentinel in an email. “That would never fly in the business world —I’ve terminated employees for less. The police pretty much have free rein to do whatever they want.”

But will the department's health plan cover the cost of a soothing balm for that slap on the wrist, or will the officer have pay out of pocket?

Oh, I'm sure he was suspended with pay.

Oh, it's much worse than that. It's one week suspended without pay... NON-CONSECUTIVELY. This could be following him for almost a year, missing out on a whole hour of paying work each week.

Breonna Taylor Cop Attacks ‘Thug’ Protesters in Email Rant Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

As Louisville braces for a grand jury decision on the police killing of Breonna Taylor, one of the officers involved is standing by his actions in the botched raid, claiming subsequent unrest is the work of “thugs” who have created a “good versus evil” mentality.

In an email apparently sent to 1,000 Louisville Metro Police officers at 2 a.m. Tuesday, Jonathan Mattingly apologized to his “LMPD family” for the scrutiny the department has faced since Taylor’s death, slamming the department and the FBI—“who aren’t cops and would piss their pants if they had to hold the line”—for going after cops for civil rights violations.

The email, with a subject line of “URGENT PLEASE READ!!!” came after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented evidence to a grand jury to decide whether to indict Mattingly—along with Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove—for the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT worker.

“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral, and ethical thing that night,” Mattingly said in the email first obtained by VICE. “It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.”

Kent Wicker, an attorney representing Mattingly, confirmed his client sent the email. “As you know, Sgt. Mattingly was shot and severely wounded while serving this warrant,” Wicker said. “Like our entire community, he is hopeful that this process moves forward quickly, and that his fellow officers and the people of Louisville remain safe.”

Once I saw that the DA was speaking at the RNC, this one was a wrap.

“It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.”

Look at how this man's mind works. There are only "good guys" and "criminals." Any action taken by a "good guy" is justified, because he is good. Any action taken against a "criminal" is justified, because they are evil.

He lives in the same moral universe as small children playing cops and robbers. Except that he had a real gun, and somebody died.

"Thugs" is always a code word for "black men". It applies to no other group.

It's also how the GOP seems to brainwash people. If they're the good guys then all the crimes are ok.

Stele wrote:

It's also how the GOP seems to brainwash people. If they're the white guys then all the crimes are ok.

Fify

UpToIsomorphism wrote:
Stele wrote:

It's also how the GOP seems to brainwash people. If they're the white guys then all the crimes are ok.

Fify

Potayto, potahto.

I probably can't put this into the proper words, but I think part of the problem is it's human nature and I don't think we have a solution. Isolate a group of individuals that have a shared experience outside of societies norms, especially one that puts them at a higher risk than anybody around them, and the bond within the group becomes stronger than attachments to society as a whole or anybody not part of the group. Armed forces, police, firemen, are all going to put loyalty to each other above loyalty to anybody else. Add in the fact that training is primarily mentor/mentee based and they are then taught to see everyone else as a potential threat and any inherent biases are going to be greatly magnified.

It's why the few bad apples analogy simply doesn't work. Amongst recruits, it's probably a reasonable mix of truly bad people and decent individuals, but conformity and loyalty to the group are all designed to protect those bad apples to the point where the entire core becomes rotten.

That's where the military concept of "dishonorable discharge" comes in handy, I think. Not the legal concept, with its implications for pensions and veteran's benefits and such, but the cultural concept.

For such a culture to be even basically functional, there needs to be acknowledgment that certain behaviors are so egregious that they can result in the offending person's expulsion from the in-group. Treason, murder, sexual assault, they get you kicked out of the fraternity. It's not a perfect protection against such behaviors-- military culture has its own problems-- but it's something.

In police culture, the only thing that can get a cop kicked out of the fraternity of cops-- not officially / legally, but culturally-- is "ratting" on another cop. There is no greater morality being served than "us good, them bad."

What if cops who brutalized civilians were expelled from police culture with the same vehemence that cops who report on cops who brutalize civilians currently are? What if there were a true cultural acknowledgment that the duty to protect the public overrides the duty to be loyal to the in-group?

What's the police equivalent of the physician's maxim to "first, do no harm"?