Police misbehavior thread

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby PeteP » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:46 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
sardia wrote:Imagine the driver was a pedophile that kicked bunnies, and then the cops did the same thing. Any jury who shares your beliefs about being sympathetic would give the cops a pass. A lot of people have this belief and all it does is give a pass to criminals who victimize anyone who is unsympathetic aka minorities. That's why it's a bad idea and why it's unconstitutional.


This is extremely poorly written. Taken at face value, it would suggest that you think the pedophile should walk away free and clear because the cops violated his rights. Maybe pick up a million $ or so to help him commit crimes more effectively.

No it doesn't. That is in no way or form a reading you get from that by taking it at face value. Edit: Unless you mean he should walk free because the evidence was acquired illegally and you think there should be an exception to rules against such evidence.
Last edited by PeteP on Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:45 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:52 am UTC

There's a difference between, "The guy police beat or killed did absolutely nothing wrong ever at any time," and, "Hey maybe you guys could stop constantly focusing on whatever minor not-capital-offence these people did before being beaten or murdered by police."
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:15 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:
This is extremely poorly written. Taken at face value, it would suggest that you think the pedophile should walk away free and clear because the cops violated his rights. Maybe pick up a million $ or so to help him commit crimes more effectively.

I don't like rights violations. There are times when rights violations suppress evidence--perhaps a confession--in which case the accused may walk due to lack of evidence. But a rights violation is not, per se, exoneration...or at least it shouldn't be; and it isn't a drop-in substitute for conviction. Consider the "bunnies" the pedophile "kicked"...do you think that is in their best interests, for the jury to just wink and let the pedophile go do it again?

It isn't only the police that must be accountable for crimes committed. This thread is about the problem we have where the police are not accountable: it is not a bleeding-heart session for miscreant citizens.

Actually, yes it would. It's called fruit of the poison tree, and it's been established precedent for quite a while now. If you violate a defendant's right, say via illegal search and seizure, then any *evidence collect from that isn't valid. And yes, that would and has let "obvious" criminals get away from a crime in question. Most of the reason we even have a police misbehavior thread is that cops (unconsciously or consciously) jump to conclusions instead of going through all the steps of a proper investigation. Are you claiming that if the cops tortured a confession out of a alleged criminal, and he confessed. You would be ok with that? You can't complain about the awful things in this thread, and think its ok for cops to violate the rights of the accused. They are tied together.

Why does the US give such benefit of the doubt? It's been a lofty ideal of the US to let 99 guilty go instead of convicting 1 innocent man. We've gotten away from that in our incessant desire for security. In addition, the government has essentially unlimited resources, and you need to tilt everything towards the defendant in order to level the playing field. That's why I find it so disturbing when people, like you, say that the quality of the accused matters somehow in the court proceedings.

*There are limits to this, and the courts have steadily eroded this precedent, but it does still happen. In your example, you would have to know he was a pedophile, violate his rights, then as a result of violating his rights, convict him of pedophilia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_of_ ... onous_tree

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:47 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Actually, yes it would. It's called fruit of the poison tree, and it's been established precedent for quite a while now. If you violate a defendant's right, say via illegal search and seizure, then any *evidence collect from that isn't valid. And yes, that would and has let "obvious" criminals get away from a crime in question. Most of the reason we even have a police misbehavior thread is that cops (unconsciously or consciously) jump to conclusions instead of going through all the steps of a proper investigation. Are you claiming that if the cops tortured a confession out of a alleged criminal, and he confessed. You would be ok with that? You can't complain about the awful things in this thread, and think its ok for cops to violate the rights of the accused. They are tied together.


Of course you're right.

But you need to pay attention to which evidence came from where. Suppose the pedophile was caught in the act (first act) and then subsequently beaten. Supposing he confessed to a second act as a result of the beating, yes that confession would be inadmissible. But the evidence of the two separate acts does not grow from the same root; one is poisoned, one not.

So he was caught in the first act and the police beat the daylights out of him. The evidence of his being caught in the first act is still admissible. Should the beating prevent his conviction? Absolutely not: this separate act by the police is not proof that the pedophile is innocent and should not prevent his conviction for the first act.

As a separate act, it should be tried before another jury separately. That jury should convict the police of abuse of authority, excessive force, and battery. It could also be tried as a civil matter, even though the pedophile is in prison--and the pedophile's family pick up a half-million or whatever. The jury in either a criminal or civil case about the beating should not just give the police a pass just because they are the "good guys." That happens too often and it is bad for society because it encourages police to do more of the same.


PeteP wrote:
Coyne wrote:
sardia wrote:Imagine the driver was a pedophile that kicked bunnies, and then the cops did the same thing. Any jury who shares your beliefs about being sympathetic would give the cops a pass. A lot of people have this belief and all it does is give a pass to criminals who victimize anyone who is unsympathetic aka minorities. That's why it's a bad idea and why it's unconstitutional.


This is extremely poorly written. Taken at face value, it would suggest that you think the pedophile should walk away free and clear because the cops violated his rights. Maybe pick up a million $ or so to help him commit crimes more effectively.

No it doesn't. That is in no way or form a reading you get from that by taking it at face value. Edit: Unless you mean he should walk free because the evidence was acquired illegally and you think there should be an exception to rules against such evidence.


Read the quote by @sardia again and then tell me exactly which jury he is talking about. If your best guess is "the pedophile's jury" then @sardia is very wrong, because that jury shouldn't even hear about the police beating (much less the confession that resulted). Neither the beating nor the confession are part of the evidence in the pedophile's trial.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:14 pm UTC

The jury in question was described as giving the cops a pass. How on Earth is it your best guess that sardia was talking about the pedophile's jury?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:59 pm UTC

I guess the real question is, what does it mean if one side is less sympathetic? Is it a big deal? Who does it matter to? I would argue that it's incredibly important to acknowledge and set aside any feeling towards the cops vs the beat up dude. It's been shown that cops are rarely convicted, and anything unrelated that damages the character of the guy not in police uniform has an impact on the outcome.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby LaserGuy » Sun May 01, 2016 9:11 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:But you need to pay attention to which evidence came from where. Suppose the pedophile was caught in the act (first act) and then subsequently beaten. Supposing he confessed to a second act as a result of the beating, yes that confession would be inadmissible. But the evidence of the two separate acts does not grow from the same root; one is poisoned, one not.

So he was caught in the first act and the police beat the daylights out of him. The evidence of his being caught in the first act is still admissible. Should the beating prevent his conviction? Absolutely not: this separate act by the police is not proof that the pedophile is innocent and should not prevent his conviction for the first act.

As a separate act, it should be tried before another jury separately. That jury should convict the police of abuse of authority, excessive force, and battery. It could also be tried as a civil matter, even though the pedophile is in prison--and the pedophile's family pick up a half-million or whatever. The jury in either a criminal or civil case about the beating should not just give the police a pass just because they are the "good guys." That happens too often and it is bad for society because it encourages police to do more of the same.


I think the original point was that the pedophile was not being charged for pedophilia, but was being charged and assaulted for some unrelated incident--speeding, for example. The fact that the person is a pedophile has no bearing on whether or not they are a reckless driver. Nor should the police turn a blind eye if a convicted pedophile claims he or she was, say, assaulted.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Mon May 02, 2016 12:13 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think the original point was that the pedophile was not being charged for pedophilia, but was being charged and assaulted for some unrelated incident--speeding, for example. The fact that the person is a pedophile has no bearing on whether or not they are a reckless driver. Nor should the police turn a blind eye if a convicted pedophile claims he or she was, say, assaulted.


Okay, maybe I misinterpreted his scenario.

From this perspective, yes, your argument is correct. It doesn't change my other arguments much: even a pedophile, speeding, fleeing and avoiding, should be arrested for that and not because he's a pedophile. Either way, there's no justification for the excessive force. But these are separate acts--the pedophilia vs speeding vs excessive force--and should be judged on their own merits.

It's a bogus argument that the "good" an officer does excuses the officer's brutality. These are not on opposite pans of a scale, weighed in balance. Or shouldn't be. Also, similarly not on scales: speeding/fleeing vs pedophilia, pedophilia vs excessive force. In the end, treating them as separated acts yields the best justice.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Mon May 02, 2016 3:11 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I think the original point was that the pedophile was not being charged for pedophilia, but was being charged and assaulted for some unrelated incident--speeding, for example. The fact that the person is a pedophile has no bearing on whether or not they are a reckless driver. Nor should the police turn a blind eye if a convicted pedophile claims he or she was, say, assaulted.


Okay, maybe I misinterpreted his scenario.

From this perspective, yes, your argument is correct. It doesn't change my other arguments much: even a pedophile, speeding, fleeing and avoiding, should be arrested for that and not because he's a pedophile. Either way, there's no justification for the excessive force. But these are separate acts--the pedophilia vs speeding vs excessive force--and should be judged on their own merits.

It's a bogus argument that the "good" an officer does excuses the officer's brutality. These are not on opposite pans of a scale, weighed in balance. Or shouldn't be. Also, similarly not on scales: speeding/fleeing vs pedophilia, pedophilia vs excessive force. In the end, treating them as separated acts yields the best justice.

It may be bogus, but it routinely happens that the officer gets away with crimes(which are simply not investigated) because of the good the officer does (by virtue of wearing the uniform).

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 02, 2016 2:55 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:There's a difference between, "The guy police beat or killed did absolutely nothing wrong ever at any time," and, "Hey maybe you guys could stop constantly focusing on whatever minor not-capital-offence these people did before being beaten or murdered by police."


Right, there's a sense of reasonableness that needs to be accounted for. Fellow selling single cigarettes was a good example. Is it illegal? Sure, technically. But it's kind of law for which perhaps a minor fine or ticket is needed. It's like a parking violation. Minor rules violations that might be inconvenient to society if everyone did them, but are not actually threatening lives*. Violence is not warranted for that.

If the crime is directly relevant to the response, well, sure, I can see the reasoning, but unrelated crimes should not be used as blanket justifications for violence. Law enforcement isn't mere vengeance. If it is, there really is no reason to have "law enforcement" as a separate entity at all, as people are generally pretty capable of doing that on their own.

*I could actually see a pretty good case that selling cigarettes isn't even really this, to be honest.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Belial » Wed May 11, 2016 1:30 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:There's a difference between, "The guy police beat or killed did absolutely nothing wrong ever at any time," and, "Hey maybe you guys could stop constantly focusing on whatever minor not-capital-offence these people did before being beaten or murdered by police."


Right, there's a sense of reasonableness that needs to be accounted for. Fellow selling single cigarettes was a good example. Is it illegal? Sure, technically. But it's kind of law for which perhaps a minor fine or ticket is needed. It's like a parking violation. Minor rules violations that might be inconvenient to society if everyone did them, but are not actually threatening lives*. Violence is not warranted for that.

If the crime is directly relevant to the response, well, sure, I can see the reasoning, but unrelated crimes should not be used as blanket justifications for violence. Law enforcement isn't mere vengeance. If it is, there really is no reason to have "law enforcement" as a separate entity at all, as people are generally pretty capable of doing that on their own.

*I could actually see a pretty good case that selling cigarettes isn't even really this, to be honest.


Really, there is literally no crime for which the penalty is "extrajudicial execution" so the only way that the police-violence victim's crimes should be relevant is if they go toward establishing why the police thought their own lives were threatened, thus warranting a violent response in self-defense. And that should be a pretty high bar, given that these are professionals who accept a paycheck for the risk inherent in apprehending potentially dangerous people.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Wed May 11, 2016 2:33 am UTC

The police have a secondary out, potential danger to others. If the guy is potential danger to others, it's just as good as potential danger to the cops. It's pretty loosely defined though.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Thu May 12, 2016 11:15 pm UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby mashnut » Fri May 13, 2016 12:25 am UTC



On the other hand, if they really were speeding and not wearing seat belts, they shouldn't have immunity from being pulled over just because they're in a cop car.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Fri May 13, 2016 12:31 am UTC


I don't get it, are we suppose to be upset at the officer with the speeding son, or the officer who whined that he got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Fri May 13, 2016 12:53 am UTC

I'd say be pissed at all of them. The local police participated in the morally bankrupt practice of "professional courtesy"; the state police appear to have retaliated when they refused to do so a second time. Cops ticketing other cops is a rare thing: if the son of an officer warrants "courtesy" (looking at it from their perspective), then surely an actual on-duty officer would.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Wed May 18, 2016 3:14 pm UTC

Exit the vampires' castle.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby leady » Wed May 18, 2016 4:46 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Really, there is literally no crime for which the penalty is "extrajudicial execution" so the only way that the police-violence victim's crimes should be relevant is if they go toward establishing why the police thought their own lives were threatened, thus warranting a violent response in self-defense. And that should be a pretty high bar, given that these are professionals who accept a paycheck for the risk inherent in apprehending potentially dangerous people.


That's not true, there are many pretty obvious crimes that have no immediate risk of violence were rapid police escalation to full violence to force compliance is far more justified. Naturally previous history and propensity to commit further crime is another factor.

I wouldn't want a serial flasher at a primary school dealt with via an escalating fine system, nor a hacker that gains access to sensitive materials.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Wed May 18, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

I think in the case of the serial flasher you should probably try to avoid shooting him in front of the children, partly because they don't really need to see that and partly because bullets have that awkward tendency to obey the laws of physics without pausing to consult you on where you meant them to go.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 18, 2016 5:27 pm UTC

leady wrote:
Belial wrote:Really, there is literally no crime for which the penalty is "extrajudicial execution" so the only way that the police-violence victim's crimes should be relevant is if they go toward establishing why the police thought their own lives were threatened, thus warranting a violent response in self-defense. And that should be a pretty high bar, given that these are professionals who accept a paycheck for the risk inherent in apprehending potentially dangerous people.


That's not true, there are many pretty obvious crimes that have no immediate risk of violence were rapid police escalation to full violence to force compliance is far more justified. Naturally previous history and propensity to commit further crime is another factor.

I wouldn't want a serial flasher at a primary school dealt with via an escalating fine system, nor a hacker that gains access to sensitive materials.

You see no space between escalating fines and murder? The post you're responding to is about executions, but I suppose we can't expect you to have ever actually read anything in this thread carefully enough not to say something completely ridiculous about it.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby leady » Wed May 18, 2016 6:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:You see no space between escalating fines and murder? The post you're responding to is about executions, but I suppose we can't expect you to have ever actually read anything in this thread carefully enough not to say something completely ridiculous about it.


Contrary to your beliefs, the police don't intend to cause executions, but suspect deaths are certainly to be expected on occasion where compliance is forced. There are as I point out many scenarios where police will rightly escalate quickly regardless of immediate danger to themselves or others. Ergo the victims recent and historical behaviour is going to be a distinct factor. Obviously this doesn't clear a police "crime", but if this thread shows anything its that the boundary for citizens vs police in terms of behaviour is subjective

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 18, 2016 7:50 pm UTC

Right, but even considering intent, a rational look at things at a broad scale indicates that over a given number of incidents, a certain fraction will end in death.

So, we need to consider policies in light of this. How many unnecessary deaths is a strict enforcement on selling cigarettes singly worth? For me, at least...not really a lot. It's details of tax law, essentially it's the government killing people over minor issues on the magnitude of a small fining offense. I...really don't want that.

And of course, it's rational to consider how we can change enforcement policy to decrease those fatalities.

At a certain point, if the system is *not* really worried about those aspects, then...yeah, you can call it murder.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Wed May 18, 2016 8:20 pm UTC

leady wrote:there are many pretty obvious crimes that have no immediate risk of violence where rapid police escalation to full violence to force compliance is far more justified.
Can you name a few? Neither a serial flasher nor a hacker should be summarily executed by police. That's kind of the whole point of having, you know, courts, judges, juries, and laws. "Full violence to force compliance" is not called for in these cases; not in any country where we don't also support pitchforks and torches.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Chen » Wed May 18, 2016 8:34 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Can you name a few? Neither a serial flasher nor a hacker should be summarily executed by police. That's kind of the whole point of having, you know, courts, judges, juries, and laws. "Full violence to force compliance" is not called for in these cases; not in any country where we don't also support pitchforks and torches.


One crime I can think of that would meet the condition of not immediately violent but could deserve a violent response would be something like espionage. And even then it'd need to be pretty specifically espionage that could release information that would eventually lead to danger of violence to people. Drunk driving could justify some use of violence as well to ensure the safety of others (probably not by shooting though). As a whole it seems like the only cases that aren't violent to begin with would be ones where violence was the only answer to stop an imminent reckless act that could potentially cause significant harm. I agree a serial flasher or hacker probably don't fall under those categories. I suppose with some mental gymnastics the hacker could if it fell into that first espionage category. Still pretty contrived in that case though.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Thu May 19, 2016 2:30 am UTC

Chen wrote:One crime I can think of that would meet the condition of not immediately violent but could deserve a violent response would be something like espionage. And even then it'd need to be pretty specifically espionage that could release information that would eventually lead to danger of violence to people.


Well, there was a time when I would have agreed with you. But I've seen how the government defines "top secret information" these days. The government would take this interpretation as justification for assassinating Snowden.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Thu May 19, 2016 5:08 am UTC

Chen wrote:One crime I can think of that would meet the condition of not immediately violent but could deserve a violent response would be something like espionage. And even then it'd need to be pretty specifically espionage that could release information that would eventually lead to danger of violence to people.
What Coyne said. Further, "...that would eventually lead to..." is not sufficient grounds for violence to cause compliance. If there is no immediate danger, violence is not called for. And in the case of the kind of thing James Bond deals with, there is immediate danger. You don't let the Arch-Criminal get back to his lair where he can push the Red Button. But mostly, that's Hollywood. And there really aren't that many Arch-Enemies.
Chen wrote:Drunk driving could justify some use of violence as well to ensure the safety of others...
Give me an example of a drunk driver, that is not immediately violent, that warrants violence against him or her. One who is on the road driving is a clear and present danger, but there is also clear and present danger in meting out violence against a driver that's at the wheel. However, once pulled over, you don't beat the ch*rp out of them just because they refuse a breath test. Perhaps you keep them from entering their vehicle, but you still apply the minimum amount of force needed to do so. There's no need to be macho about it.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby leady » Thu May 19, 2016 12:12 pm UTC

without violence, laws are suggestions

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 19, 2016 12:29 pm UTC

Without the *threat* of violence, perhaps.

And that's only when we broaden "violence" to include things like loss or restrictions of freedom, in addition to physical violence.

So your little one-liner gets you exactly nowhere in your defense of police homicide. (Laws exist, after all, *and* are successfully enforced, in countries with a tiny fraction of the number of people killed by police.)
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Chen » Thu May 19, 2016 2:06 pm UTC

ucim wrote:What Coyne said. Further, "...that would eventually lead to..." is not sufficient grounds for violence to cause compliance. If there is no immediate danger, violence is not called for. And in the case of the kind of thing James Bond deals with, there is immediate danger. You don't let the Arch-Criminal get back to his lair where he can push the Red Button. But mostly, that's Hollywood. And there really aren't that many Arch-Enemies.


Depending on the damage whatever the action can cause could justify violence. Releasing an un-redacted list of insiders/defectors or the like who are currently helping you in a warzone, for example. Stopping someone from doing that might justify violence, but I do agree it'd need to be some sort of weird Hollywood situation where he's about the push a button and needs to be shot. For the most part you wouldn't need to use violence in those cases. More realistically might be someone who stole the data on some sort of physical medium and was escaping with it.

Give me an example of a drunk driver, that is not immediately violent, that warrants violence against him or her. One who is on the road driving is a clear and present danger, but there is also clear and present danger in meting out violence against a driver that's at the wheel. However, once pulled over, you don't beat the ch*rp out of them just because they refuse a breath test. Perhaps you keep them from entering their vehicle, but you still apply the minimum amount of force needed to do so. There's no need to be macho about it.


Basically I was saying it was acceptable to use violence to stop a drunk driver if they pose a credible and imminent threat to others (driving drunk towards a heavily trafficked area). If you want to consider that violence, I can get on board with that in which case I'd remove that as a "non-violent" example.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Thu May 19, 2016 2:38 pm UTC

Chen wrote:eleasing an un-redacted list of insiders/defectors or the like who are currently helping you in a warzone, for example. Stopping someone from doing that might justify violence, but I do agree it'd need to be some sort of weird Hollywood situation
[...]
Basically I was saying it was acceptable to use violence to stop a drunk driver if they pose a credible and imminent threat to others (driving drunk towards a heavily trafficked area). If you want to consider that violence, I can get on board with that in which case I'd remove that as a "non-violent" example.

Yeah. Although rather than "violence", I prefer the term "imminent danger". Cops are there to protect, not to punish.

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elasto
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu May 19, 2016 2:50 pm UTC

leady wrote:without violence, laws are suggestions

This is true, but unless you believe in a Judge Dredd type world, the authorities govern by consent of the governed.

Enforcement of laws should always be proportionate - and that may mean sometimes you need let a guilty person get away to prevent a much greater harm from occurring.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 19, 2016 3:36 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Chen wrote:Drunk driving could justify some use of violence as well to ensure the safety of others...
Give me an example of a drunk driver, that is not immediately violent, that warrants violence against him or her. One who is on the road driving is a clear and present danger, but there is also clear and present danger in meting out violence against a driver that's at the wheel. However, once pulled over, you don't beat the ch*rp out of them just because they refuse a breath test. Perhaps you keep them from entering their vehicle, but you still apply the minimum amount of force needed to do so. There's no need to be macho about it.

Jose


Honestly, looking at car chases and things, it looks like they usually cause more deaths than they prevent, sooo....

I mean, I'll concede that special circumstances exist, and sometimes preventative violence is called for. If someone's running for the big red button to set off a bomb, sure, cheers, pull the trigger. But, that's obviously a rare exception. Most lawbreaking is far less dramatic, and it's pretty rare that the best solution involves car chases, explosions, and sliding across the hood of your vehicle.

elasto wrote:
leady wrote:without violence, laws are suggestions

This is true, but unless you believe in a Judge Dredd type world, the authorities govern by consent of the governed.

Enforcement of laws should always be proportionate - and that may mean sometimes you need let a guilty person get away to prevent a much greater harm from occurring.


Eh. That's the ideal. Real life is often significantly messier.

Still, even if you get away from governmental theory, conflict minimization is just practical. Internal conflict is fairly costly to society, so, as a rule of thumb, if you can solve problems in a non-violent manner, you need a fairly good demonstration of costs to justify choosing the violent path instead. Things like 'he'll sell a single cigarette in an unapproved fashion' are pretty low cost to society. It's the same reason we don't shoot people over parking tickets. Yeah, you probably have to have SOME enforcement, but shooting people over parking disputes would be pretty unhelpful.

So, we want enforcement to start as far away from violent options as possible, and move towards them only when necessary. Tazers used instead of shooting someone? Cheers, good job. Tazers used instead of words to enforce compliance? Okay...we've got an issue.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu May 19, 2016 4:37 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Still, even if you get away from governmental theory, conflict minimization is just practical. Internal conflict is fairly costly to society, so, as a rule of thumb, if you can solve problems in a non-violent manner, you need a fairly good demonstration of costs to justify choosing the violent path instead. Things like 'he'll sell a single cigarette in an unapproved fashion' are pretty low cost to society. It's the same reason we don't shoot people over parking tickets. Yeah, you probably have to have SOME enforcement, but shooting people over parking disputes would be pretty unhelpful.

So, we want enforcement to start as far away from violent options as possible, and move towards them only when necessary. Tazers used instead of shooting someone? Cheers, good job. Tazers used instead of words to enforce compliance? Okay...we've got an issue.

I agree, but it's not just that.

If, for example, the cops are pretty sure who the suspect is, and he committed a non-violent crime, and he's escaping, and you'd have to use violence to stop him doing so... just let him escape and go pick him up later. Heck, if it's a small crime he may well hand himself in after he's had time to think anyhow.

Here's a real-world example of how society should invoke proportionality and compassion over a strict enforcement of the law:

Stealing small amounts of food to stave off hunger is not a crime, Italy's highest court of appeal has ruled.

Judges overturned a theft conviction against Roman Ostriakov after he stole cheese and sausages worth €4.07 (£3; $4.50) from a supermarket.

Mr Ostriakov, a homeless man of Ukrainian background, had taken the food "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment", the court of cassation decided. Therefore it was not a crime, it said.

A fellow customer informed the store's security in 2011, when Mr Ostriakov attempted to leave a Genoa supermarket with two pieces of cheese and a packet of sausages in his pocket but paid only for breadsticks.

In 2015, Mr Ostriakov was convicted of theft and sentenced to six months in jail and a €100 fine.

For the judges, the "right to survival prevails over property", said an op-ed in La Stampa newspaper (in Italian).

In times of economic hardship, the court of cassation's judgement "reminds everyone that in a civilised country not even the worst of men should starve".

An opinion piece in Corriere Della Sera says statistics suggest 615 people are added to the ranks of the poor in Italy every day - it was "unthinkable that the law should not take note of reality".

It criticised the fact that a case concerning the taking of goods worth under €5 went through three rounds in the courts before being thrown out.

The "historic" ruling is "right and pertinent", said Italiaglobale.it - and derives from a concept that "informed the Western world for centuries - it is called humanity".


"Oh but what a terrible precedent! It's a free licence for all homeless people to just take what they want!"

No, it's a reminder that society has a duty to not allow anyone to starve...

Even the worst criminals are entitled to be treated humanely - because not to do so not only degrades them, it degrades us.

link

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 19, 2016 4:57 pm UTC

Allowing people to steal from supermarkets sounds like a terrible solution.

All kinds of perverse incentives, too. Definitely better to put up supermarkets in places without lots of poor people then, eh? Just another reason not to invest in rough areas. And definitely make your area as inhospitable to the poor and homeless as possible, lest they start hanging out, and swiping from you.

Some of these incentives already exist in some form, and have...various deleterious effects. Strengthening these incentives is pretty awful.

I'm all for fixing things non-violently, but the problem is that the fellow was homeless and starving in the first place. It is hardly the supermarket's fault that he found himself in that position. This isn't really even a fix.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby cphite » Thu May 19, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Allowing people to steal from supermarkets sounds like a terrible solution.


Why stop at supermarkets? Surely you have food in your house that your neighbors might decide that they need more than you.

All kinds of perverse incentives, too. Definitely better to put up supermarkets in places without lots of poor people then, eh? Just another reason not to invest in rough areas. And definitely make your area as inhospitable to the poor and homeless as possible, lest they start hanging out, and swiping from you.

Some of these incentives already exist in some form, and have...various deleterious effects. Strengthening these incentives is pretty awful.


If I were running a supermarket chain in Italy, this ruling would definitely make my list of reasons not to open stores in or near poor communities.

I'm all for fixing things non-violently, but the problem is that the fellow was homeless and starving in the first place. It is hardly the supermarket's fault that he found himself in that position. This isn't really even a fix.


But unfortunately that is the mentality of a lot of people these days. The supermarket has food; the guy needs food; therefore the supermarket ought to give him food. Very little thought is put into the fact that the folks who run the supermarket have their own families to feed.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Thu May 19, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Allowing people to steal from supermarkets sounds like a terrible solution.

But that's not what this is. This is "forgiving someone when he does steal due to extreme circumstances".

And it's not a "solution". It isn't meant to be. It's a decision on whether or not to exact vengeance from a starving homeless man for stealing a small amount of food from a supermarket that probably throws more than that out every day. It's also a practical societal decision which balances a few euros of theft against the cost (to the state and to the individual) of six months imprisonment, and a hundred euro fine he probably can't afford to pay anyway. It's the poster child for charity and welfare.

For something to be a "solution", there has to be a defined problem. None was defined here. However, it's quite easy to find some problems in the situation; to wit, the fact that the store lost money due to theft, the fact that the man was poor and homeless, the fact that supermarket transactions are not 100% secure, the (presumed) fact that supermarkets throw (unsellable) food out rather than give to the poor, the fact that so much fuss and so many societal resources are devoted to resolving these minor issues when there's real crime to address... on and on. Each of these merits a different, sometimes incompatible solution, which is why no solutions exist. It depends what you think is important.

If you want to achieve a certain outcome, simply define the problem to be the one whose solution involves that outcome, irrespective of what the "real" problem is, so that you can gain popular support and ram it through the legislature.

This then becomes the underpinning of the social support for all sorts of police abuse.

Jose
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 19, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Allowing people to steal from supermarkets sounds like a terrible solution.

But that's not what this is. This is "forgiving someone when he does steal due to extreme circumstances".


Okay, but WHY do you forgive crimes? If it's because you're fixing a case where the system went askew in an unforeseen situation and caused injustice, well, okay, fine. Laws are made by people and are imperfect. You do it as a solution to a problem.

But this is precisely what laws against petty theft are for. It isn't a one of a kind case, it's a pretty normal case for the supermarket. If this guy can steal because he's hungry, other people are likely to as well. This is creating a problem.

And it's not a "solution". It isn't meant to be. It's a decision on whether or not to exact vengeance from a starving homeless man for stealing a small amount of food from a supermarket that probably throws more than that out every day. It's also a practical societal decision which balances a few euros of theft against the cost (to the state and to the individual) of six months imprisonment, and a hundred euro fine he probably can't afford to pay anyway. It's the poster child for charity and welfare.


Punishment isn't about vengeance. It's about making society work. If you're basing your rules around vengeance, you're going to have...problems.

I get that, morally, there's a difference between a starving man stealing food and people stealing diamonds or whatever, but in practice, stealing is still a social problem, which needs to be dealt with in some fashion. Punishment isn't the *only* solution, but it's often part of it.

For something to be a "solution", there has to be a defined problem. None was defined here. However, it's quite easy to find some problems in the situation; to wit, the fact that the store lost money due to theft, the fact that the man was poor and homeless, the fact that supermarket transactions are not 100% secure, the (presumed) fact that supermarkets throw (unsellable) food out rather than give to the poor, the fact that so much fuss and so many societal resources are devoted to resolving these minor issues when there's real crime to address... on and on. Each of these merits a different, sometimes incompatible solution, which is why no solutions exist. It depends what you think is important.


Yes, many of those undesired outcomes are themselves the results of such thinking. I mean, supermarkets often don't want the hassle of handling food distribution to the poor, and they don't want to attract them specifically because of negative consequences. So, giving food out becomes counter productive for them. These sorts of decisions make supermarkets LESS inclined to have poor-friendly programs, since attracting them increases risk.

Shoplifting IS real crime. It's a major concern for retail establishments, because it's a significant threat to them. Supermarkets, for instance, usually have fairly thin net margins, so even a fairly low rate of theft poses a major problem for them.

I also believe most societies have(or at least, generally support) SOME sort of program slightly more generous than "let them starve in the streets", which is probably better than randomly grabbing food from supermarkets.

Look, we've improved some things quite a bit, there's no reason to assume that we've maxed out on how much we can improve law/society. Better solutions do exist.

This sort of thing ends up being held up as "nobody cares about us", which ends up with unfortunate reactions. The justice system needs to respond appropriately, but not responding at all isn't really a good path either.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby LaserGuy » Thu May 19, 2016 8:44 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Allowing people to steal from supermarkets sounds like a terrible solution.

But that's not what this is. This is "forgiving someone when he does steal due to extreme circumstances".


Okay, but WHY do you forgive crimes? If it's because you're fixing a case where the system went askew in an unforeseen situation and caused injustice, well, okay, fine. Laws are made by people and are imperfect. You do it as a solution to a problem.

But this is precisely what laws against petty theft are for. It isn't a one of a kind case, it's a pretty normal case for the supermarket. If this guy can steal because he's hungry, other people are likely to as well. This is creating a problem.


Essentially, it is a necessity defense. Some crimes may be justified if they can prevent a greater harm. The bar for the defense is fairly high in most jurisdictions--I don't know if it really ought to have succeeded here (being "hungry" would probably not be enough--if you were literally dying of malnutrition, it probably would be). An example of this might be that if someone was critically injured or having a heart attack or something, you are probably allowed to engage in driving that would normally be considered pretty reckless to get them to a hospital if that was the only reasonable way that you thought you could get them there in time.

[edit]A bit more reading tends to suggest that this case almost certainly wouldn't qualify for a necessity defense in most jurisdictions, since the danger did not arrive suddenly or unexpectedly, which is what would be generally required.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu May 19, 2016 10:47 pm UTC

cphite wrote:But unfortunately that is the mentality of a lot of people these days. The supermarket has food; the guy needs food; therefore the supermarket ought to give him food. Very little thought is put into the fact that the folks who run the supermarket have their own families to feed.

It's times like this I recall that we already had a solution for this issue, millennia ago -- allowing the poor and needy access to a portion of the food in the fields. Or as an analogy for the modern world, not giving such a crap about people asking for samples/poss. being forgiving of food shoplifting (which, unlike luxuries shoplifting, is almost always because the thief is actually in need of food).

All kinds of perverse incentives, too. Definitely better to put up supermarkets in places without lots of poor people then, eh? Just another reason not to invest in rough areas. And definitely make your area as inhospitable to the poor and homeless as possible, lest they start hanging out, and swiping from you.

Doesn't Walmart's whole model rely on lower income communities/employees?

From what I remember from working in a retail place, it's also often not considered worth it to pursue every small-value theft, especially for food (which usually can't be resold anyway). That may not be common, and certainly there's less leniency for high-cost food items. Can't speak for Walmart, though, they prosecute everything every time -- even in cases where the person simply forgot to pay and offered to (Safeway has done this too, apparently).
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Fri May 20, 2016 12:40 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
cphite wrote:But unfortunately that is the mentality of a lot of people these days. The supermarket has food; the guy needs food; therefore the supermarket ought to give him food. Very little thought is put into the fact that the folks who run the supermarket have their own families to feed.

It's times like this I recall that we already had a solution for this issue, millennia ago -- allowing the poor and needy access to a portion of the food in the fields. Or as an analogy for the modern world, not giving such a crap about people asking for samples/poss. being forgiving of food shoplifting (which, unlike luxuries shoplifting, is almost always because the thief is actually in need of food).

All kinds of perverse incentives, too. Definitely better to put up supermarkets in places without lots of poor people then, eh? Just another reason not to invest in rough areas. And definitely make your area as inhospitable to the poor and homeless as possible, lest they start hanging out, and swiping from you.

Doesn't Walmart's whole model rely on lower income communities/employees?

From what I remember from working in a retail place, it's also often not considered worth it to pursue every small-value theft, especially for food (which usually can't be resold anyway). That may not be common, and certainly there's less leniency for high-cost food items. Can't speak for Walmart, though, they prosecute everything every time -- even in cases where the person simply forgot to pay and offered to (Safeway has done this too, apparently).

The word you're looking for is Welfare, as in promote the general Welfare. Usually provided by taxes. It's usually more equitable than random charity.


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