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I’m a middle-aged white guy. I was born lucky (i.e., white male American, with loving, affluent, involved parents) and just kept getting luckier, so I have had very little interaction with the police in my life.

But let me tell you a little story. It will seem incredibly trivial — perhaps even offensively so — compared to the brutality and murder meted out by cops against black folks (and other folks too), but there is a point to it.

Last year, I was pulled over by a police officer.

I was driving my grandmother to a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t know where I was going, and she only intermittently knows where she is :-), so she was giving me directions, turn-by-turn. We came to a 4-way stop. Since I didn’t know whether I was supposed to go straight or turn left or turn right, I came to a complete dead stop and waited for my grandmother to tell me which way to go. As I looked up the road to my left, I noticed a police cruiser parked on the shoulder. Gramma eventually said to take a right, so I did. Moments later I saw flashing lights in my mirror.

I had no idea why I might be getting pulled and I was extremely surprised when the officer told me it was for not stopping at the stop sign.

I said, “I absolutely did stop.”

He said, “Sir, you didn’t even slow down.”

Simply put, that was a bald-faced lie. (And also utterly ridiculous — the cop was claiming that I approached an intersection, going 20 or 30 miles per hour, and executed a 90-degree turn without braking, in an SUV.)

I exclaimed, "What?!" and emitted a few demure sounds of disbelief, while my grandmother piped up and said, “That’s not true at all.” The officer made it clear he wasn't in the mood for a debate, so I shut up and gave him my license and paperwork, and he returned to his cruiser.

Turns out we were within sight of Gramma’s doctor’s building, so after a minute or two she started to get out of the car, saying she’d just walk. However, the minor bit of arguing I’d done was apparently enough to spur the cop to call for backup (!) because there were now three squad cars present (in case this highly dangerous situation went south, I guess), so I jokingly told her, “I don’t want you to do that Gramma, they might taser you.” Gramma’s too old to give a crap, so she got out and walked, and nothing happened, but I’m willing to bet the cops wouldn’t have been so easy going if it hadn’t been an elderly white lady hobbling away.

Anyway, to wrap the story up, I got a ticket and it cost me $265 (including the cost of an online remedial driver’s course to avoid getting points), and that’s the end of it.

But here’s the thing: that wasn’t the end of it, not really, because that cop flat out lied, and I will never, ever forget it. It has permanently damaged my trust in the police.

I mean, I already knew that cops often falsify police reports, especially to cover up their own brutality and protect their peers, but that was abstract and those cases are severe and, in a perverse way, understandable, insofar as cops who have done something really wrong have a motive to take extraordinary measures to cover it up.

In a weird way, the fact that this cop’s lying was so trivial, so unnecessary, so unmotivated by anything other than a desire to write a ticket (it was the 30th of the month, maybe it’s true they have to fill a quota) — somehow that’s even more damaging to my trust than knowing that cops lie about super-serious matters.

As a result of this incident, I am now inclined to disbelieve any police statement on any matter whatsoever, no matter how trivial or serious. I can’t imagine anything that would ever make me trust a police officer again. Not fully anyway. There will always be doubt and wariness. And there will always be a kernel of anger and resentment.

I’m sure there are millions of people who, if they were to read this diary, would laugh ruefully and say, “Welcome to our world,” or “Welcome to the real world.” I get that. But there are millions more who are just like me — they've never personally experienced stark dishonesty by the police, and they don’t appreciate how it feels.

I am trying to imagine what it must be like to live in Ferguson, where the police issue an unfathomable number of citations — far more than are issued in other cities, far more than could possibly be justifiable — and a large percentage of them are obviously bullshit, either because the infractions are so trivial that police in a normal city would let them slide, or because there aren’t any actual crimes, it’s just Ferguson cops making shit up, or both. How can there be any trust between police and citizens in that town? Then layer on top of it the empirically documented racial discrimination. Then layer brutality on top of that. If I lived in Ferguson, and I was black, I would be seething, all the time. God bless the people of Ferguson for having the decency to bear all that, year after year, and god damn the people who practice and promote systemic injustice (including me).

Aren’t there lots of police officers who are decent human beings? Surely. Aren’t there plenty of dedicated detectives going above and beyond to bring justice to victims? There must be; I see them every week on 48 Hours and Dateline. I’m not so jaded that I’m not going to call 911 if the need arises. And chances are, if that happens, I will end up being grateful for the police.

But my immediate reaction when I hear the police account of an alleged crime is skepticism. I instinctively doubt that the police account is true. For me, that’s new. For others, it’s been that way for a long time. For still others, it’s not that way yet, but it will be, sooner or later.

What kind of society will we have when nobody trusts the police? Because that’s where we’re headed.

Originally posted to RationalThoughtProcess on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 04:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Classics and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great account, and I agree, even those small (99+ / 0-)

    instances of police dishonesty can scar feelings. I can feel your disgust and disappointment.

    I've experienced a good share of unethical behavior by the police in my lifetime. I've also experienced some pretty generous acts of kindness. Sure, some of that could be from being female and white, though that theory got shot down when I once got seven traffic tickets (yes, seven).

    I was pulled over, like you, for not making a full stop (which was bullshit). Turns out, it was a well-known 'trap'. The officer continued to hit me with everything he could find, my new plates where in the back seat not put on yet, the sticker not put on the window (and I had just got them that day!) driver's license in my other purse, rear brake light out, expired this, expired that. I stood there shocked. It was also the end of the month. For anyone who says a woman can get out of a ticket or in my case (tickets) with a smile or tears.… I was in my 20's in all my hotness and could not get the officer to budge. :) Turns out, in court all the tickets were dropped except for not having my license on me at the time.

    All that is so, so trivial compared to what I am now discovering is going on in America. I just had no idea other than occasional accounts of extreme brutality in the news. Now I find those occasional accounts are common, and everyday. And as I said in a previous comment, I feel stupid for thinking this country has moved beyond what is now coming to the surface. The more I read, the more my heart sinks.

    Thanks so much for the diary. And I get it. You message is very deep and very sad.

    "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

    by Leslie Salzillo on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 04:42:50 PM PDT

  •  What trust? They are agents of oppression (24+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 05:18:50 PM PDT

  •  Wierd how (15+ / 0-)

    getting your "privilege" bubble burst makes you look at things differently.

    "There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare." ~ Sun Tsu

    by coyote66 on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 07:06:28 PM PDT

  •  1st Rule of Kourt: All Cops LIE Under Oath (48+ / 0-)

    2nd Rule of Kourt:  Al "judges" know it and don't give a damn.

    I went to prison for 5.5 years on a fairy tale that wasn't even allowed by law into court (SEE 566 A2d 252-253 (Pa, 1989); 631 A2d 213 (Pa Super, 1993;  ALSO SEE 635 A2d 186-191 (Pa Super, 1993) at 189-190), a case based on undeniable, irrefutable, infantile perjury so the corrupt Lycoming County district attorney, Republican "law & order" Hypocrite Brett Feese of Computergate scandal fame, sent a "contingent of state police observers" to beat up my public defender and steal my cassette recording of the preliminary hearing while the corrupt ex-state cop-turned magistrate double my posted bail without justification (SEE p. 15, Fri. 2-21-86 Williamsport Sun-Gazette, "Edgy Police Rush to Seize Innocent Paper Bag").

    It was like being in a North Korean kourtroom.  These common criminals with their badges and their juris doctorate degrees think that the US Constitution is their personal roll of toilet paper.

    CRIMNAL JUST US.

  •  I was arrested in 1984 (55+ / 0-)

    For having the temerity to get the shit beaten out of me for being trans. Not only did they arrest me but they humiliated me and made me walk home late at night through some not so nice neighborhoods with a fractured skull and other injuries. I lost my trust in cops then and there and I'll never trust them again. For good or bad, I'll have to be in fear of my life before I approach a cop ever again.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 07:26:56 PM PDT

  •  Always, ALWAYS (19+ / 0-)

    go to court even if you're going to plead guilty. Usually the fine will be reduced by the ADA and the judge. AT least that has been my experience.

  •  Why are police given immunity for what would be (27+ / 0-)

    crimes by citizens?

    "In a broadly "Diceyan" take on legal equality, Gardner argued that police officers are properly understood as "citizens in uniform." The austere Diceyan approach to police responsibility argues that lawless policing—searches and seizures without authority of law—are criminal acts. If an ordinary citizen who invades property, offensively touches, or detains and removes someone is guilty of a trespass, battery, or kidnap, then so is the citizen in uniform who acts without proper legal authorization. Worse, when a person charged with protecting the public and upholding the law harms the public and violates the law, they fail in their moral duties in particularly egregious ways."

    "For the austere Diceyan, the problem is police officers who, without authority of law, engage in offensive contact with persons, thereby committing a battery (which is what happens in a search of a person without legal authority). Or police officers who detain a person against their will and carry them away, thereby committing a kidnap (which is what happens in a seizure of a person without legal authority). Or police officers who, without authority of law enter property and commit a criminal trespass (you get the picture). And if the cops are criminals when they act without legal authority, then a judge faces a Hobson's choice. On the one hand, she has evidence of trespasses, assaults, batteries, and kidnaps by the police. On the other, evidence of criminal activity by the defendant. That means whatever the court decides, a criminal goes free. The only difference is: one wears a uniform, one does not."

    •  From what I understand, that's not truly (11+ / 0-)

      a "Hobson's choice."  Hobson, a livery owner, would advertise that customers could get a fresh horse of his/her choice, but when that person arrived, s/he only got the pick of the front of the line or no choice at all.

      A Hobson's choice, in that respect, would be a thing in which  one is offered what appears to be a "free choice" but instead is a false choice of "take what is offered or take nothing at all."

      This is not the case in what you describe above.  The court can full well determine whether to accept tainted evidence or toss it without it being a Hobson's choice.  If the law specifically determines such evidence beyond the scope of evidence due to discovery, this ceases to be a choice & simply becomes the pedestrian following of the rule of law.

  •  cops always lie. (33+ / 0-)

    always.

    I know that and I am a pasty white old dude.

    Even so, I avoid them, you never know when they want to make an example or a quota.

    One benefit of the economic slowdown == their budgets are getting cut. GOOD!

  •   I think most people feel the way you do (37+ / 0-)
    As a result of this incident, I am now inclined to disbelieve any police statement on any matter whatsoever, no matter how trivial or serious. I can’t imagine anything that would ever make me trust a police officer again. Not fully anyway. There will always be doubt and wariness. And there will always be a kernel of anger and resentment.
    I certainly feel the same. I think police profiling of young people means most people grow up to mistrust police.
     

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 07:46:56 PM PDT

  •  sad but true that the actions of a few (9+ / 0-)

    can do things like this. I grow up around cops so to me it's not a huge surprise. I've known good cops, asshole cops and bad cops. In the end if it helps cops will always be prone to failing simply because they're human like anyone else.

    That's not an excuse before that gets thrown at me. Simply an observation and a reason to have strong oversight.

    Thanks for the diary.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 07:48:11 PM PDT

  •  I had a similar experience of late (24+ / 0-)

    Without going into details, lets just say I knew the cop was pulling me over fir bogus reason.  I suspect just to make money for the town.

    You are quite right that this sort. of behavior shatters your trust in the police.  Now imagine if you were a Ferguson resident of color who routinely gets harrased by the police.  You would not think much of them.  Perhaps the police would reciprocate and not think much of the residents except as targets to harass.  That is the sort of dynamics that lead to teagic unjust events.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 07:51:18 PM PDT

  •  We have a crisis of authority. (26+ / 0-)

    An entirely deserved crisis of authority. People don't believe or trust the leaders of our private or public sectors. Nor should they. Heck, the leaders aren't even trying to earn trust half the time...

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:05:03 PM PDT

  •  I received a ticket once for running a stop sig... (25+ / 0-)

    I received a ticket once for running a stop sign and the cop admitted that I came to a complete stop, but I had broken the plain of the stop sign. Seriously, my bumper had gone past the sign before I came to a complete stop.

  •  I actually beat this on appeal. (41+ / 0-)

    My story is similar to that of the diarist, but with the cop on the witness stand I was able to demonstrate that he didn't remember pulling me over at all. Charles Patton, the trial court judge--and this is a huge part of the problem--blew me off and gave the maximum fine, but the Court of Appeals ruled in my favor and I eventually got the ticket cleared.

    https://www.supremecourtofohio.gov/...

    Bottom line, the cop was tailgating me to create a hazardous situation, wrote me up for running the stop sign, then changed his story at trial to say he'd been watching at a right angle from a side street.

    If Judge Patton had been doing his job, he would have wanted to know why the officer's story diverged so much from mine. Instead he chastised me for my defense.

    It's not just lying cops. It's lazy judges who just want to clear cases. Prosecutors who phone it in. Supervisors who cover for them. Other cops who make excuses. And so on.

    •  you are my mini-hero of the day (12+ / 0-)

      I fantasized about doing something like you did, but had neither the gumption to try nor the time to hassle with it.

    •  Exact same situation... (23+ / 0-)

      Driving home late at night. Going the speed limit. Some car starts tailgating me. I speed up a little bit past the limit. It keeps on tailgating. Now the light is turning yellow and I just run the red light, because if I stop I will either:
      1. Get hit.
      2. Get mugged.

      Well, it was a cop and I got a ticket. I suppose that is best described as getting mugged.

      The United States for All Americans

      by TakeSake on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 10:55:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tailgating AND driving erratically at night (13+ / 0-)

        A white female acquaintance got into a major hassle with a suburban cop who ended up tasering her because she mouthed off to him.

        It turns out he had been commended the previous year by MADD for issuing so many DUIs. His technique was to pick a target at night, tailgate very closely and drive HIS car erratically.

        The targeted driver would see the headlights in his rear view mirror and unconsciously correct his course to keep the headlights square in his mirror. The cop's dash cam would record this behavior as erratic driving on the part of the driver.

        She spent years fighting this in court. Many more disturbing details to the story but tailgating at night is a deliberate practice to create stops.

        "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

        by annan on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:52:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The lesson to learn? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, TakeSake

        Don't change your driving behavior in any way just because you're being tailgated. Whenever someone tailgates me, I'll make a concerted effort to not change my driving, just on principle. I'll think they're trying to bully me into going faster, and when they realize I won't, they can just go around me.

        That said, I understand the traffic light forced you to make a split-second decision. So if it happens again, come to a stop by pumping your brakes (to prevent being rear-ended). If it turns out to be a mugger, push the pedal to the metal and haul tail outta there (careful not to hit oncoming traffic, of course)!

        Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

        by FactsPrevail on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 07:44:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This - (12+ / 0-)
      It's not just lying cops. It's lazy judges who just want to clear cases. Prosecutors who phone it in. Supervisors who cover for them. Other cops who make excuses. And so on.
      Way back in the olden days I clerked for a state court judge who had a problem staying awake on the bench. Part of my job was trying to wake him up, but it didn't always work. He had a particularly difficult time during an omnibus hearing one hot afternoon and only woke up after the prosecution and the defense had finished presenting evidence, but before closing arguments. He started to announce his ruling, but defense counsel objected and asked for leave to make her argument, which he granted (he was actually a pretty fair judge if he could stay awake). Even though he's slept through most of the evidentiary part of the hearing, he was persuaded enough by defense counsel's argument to rule in her favor and exclude the only evidence the state had. Right decision (based on what I had heard), but truly fucked process.

      For a very short time I prosecuted misdemeanors/gross misdemeanors for a local suburb and had a newer cop tell me she'd lied at the implied consent trial and planned on lying during the criminal DWI trial as well. No - she didn't get a chance to lie. Yes - the police chief was advised of my "reasoning" for the dismissal.

      There are asshats and incompetents all the way through the criminal justice world - but not everybody, and not all the time. The further and inevitable erosion of trust caused by this shit is tragic and inexcusable. I can only hope the outrage we're hearing now has some impact on the far-too-often endemic rot in the system.  

      “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

      by mikidee on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:28:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Orwell quote (23+ / 0-)

    "I have no particular love for the idealised "worker" as he appears in the bourgeois Communist's mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on."
     - George Orwell

     

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:22:14 PM PDT

  •  When I first started practicing law -- (37+ / 0-)

    I met with a potential client who had been arrested on a relatively  small theft.  He told me, matter-of-factly, about the arrest, transportation to the jail, the long elevator ride ---

    "Whoa --  What did you say?"

    He repeated, "You know, that long elevator ride --"

    "What are you talking about?"

    He looked at me like I was born yesterday. He explained it to me like I was a child "Start of first floor, by the time you get to the fourth floor you can't stand any more.  How long you been practicing law?"

    I guess I was born yesterday.

    That was the start of a career dealing with scum on both sides of a badge.

    When people ask me how I can represent guilty people, I tell them that nobody is as guilty as the cop says he is.  I could write a book about dishonest  and brutal cops.  They belong to a culture apart. It's extremely hard to be an honest cop.  The good ones are always looking over their shoulder.

    A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

    by legalarray on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:23:19 PM PDT

    •  I'm developing a reply... (14+ / 0-)

      ... to answer "why represent guilty people."

      Presently, it goes something like this:
      "Do they have police and prosecutors in, oh, say, North Korea? Of course they do. Do they have police and prosecutors in Syria? Yes, they do. How about in the ol' communist red Soviet Union? Yup, they did have strong police and prosecutors. Do you know what they don't/ didn't have? A strong, independent Defense. That's what I'm doing. You think I'm defending the guilty, I know I'm keeping the American court from becoming a North Korean court system."

      Like I say, it's still in development. Perhaps it's too harsh? Or too comical? Too soap-operaish? :-)

      The funny thing is, I'm not a lawyer, paralegal, or even connected to the legal field. I saw a rerun of "Law and Order" the one with Angie Harmon as ADA Abbie Carmichael, and sort of dreamed up the response. Kinda Quayle-ish of me, I guess :-)

      "No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks” --Mary Shelley

      by Alhambra on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 09:22:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think I'm catching your drift (6+ / 0-)

      Can you please explain this elevator ride to me like I'm a slow child? Because I don't understand what it means…

      •  the sheriff in my jail (13+ / 0-)

        loved to take a couple of deputies and a prisoner on the elevator ride. the cops would emerge with smiles; the prisoner with cigarette burns, bruises and contusions in inconspicuous places.

        its harder to hear people screaming from an elevator.

        this was 30+ years ago and i still feel sick to my stomach.

        There is no worse enemy of God and Man than zeal armed with power and guided by a feeble intellect... --William James

        by oslyn7 on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 11:23:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what I was afraid it was. (0+ / 0-)

          I wasn't sure I understood your expression, so was glad another commented asked. Maybe we need some cops who majored in Psychology or Social Work instead of Criminal Justice. There seems to be a lot more criminal in there than justice!

          •  True story: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            inhibitedagitator

            My client was a heroin addict as the result of a painful physical injury and disability.  She admitted it.  She also was an elderly woman with an IQ of about 70.  She was at a friend's house, in a back bedroom, negotiating a purchase, when a cop burst in with his weapon drawn.  She immediately put her hands in the air. The cop went immediately to her purse, picked it up, looked into it, and found her drugs and syringe.

            However, the cop testified, at a motion to suppress the evidence, that when he entered the room she was in the act of shooting up and she threw the syringe into her purse.  At a break, she broke down crying. she couldn't understand why he was lying.  She was guilty.  That was the end of it for her.  She just didn't understand that if the office told the truth it would have been an illegal search.

            It was a fine dance with him on the witness stand"

            "Officer, was your weapon drawn when you entered?"
            "Of course not!"
            "Well you were armed with a revolver, weren't you?"
            "Well, yes."
            "Where was it when you entered the room"
            "Uh, well, uh, in my hand."

            We can complain about cops lying, but they can do an awful lot of damage with creative truth telling.

            A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

            by legalarray on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 03:09:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  the good ones (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, lyta

      are forced out.

      Politics is a contact sport

      by boudi08 on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:45:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In St. Paul (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        They used to beat people with phone books.  Internal bruising.

        Politics is a contact sport

        by boudi08 on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:47:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

          My father rolled several newspapers tightly and bound them with electrical tape. Same concept. Internal bruising, a lot of pain, but very little external evidence.

          “Nobody made a bigger mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” – Edmund Burke
          I do fiberwork commissions now that I'm settled. Email or DM if you are interested!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:54:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  well, that's what it takes some times (9+ / 0-)

    some people are persuaded only when the event happens directly to them

    some people believe the testimony of people they trust

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:24:08 PM PDT

  •  What kind of society? (11+ / 0-)

    A fascist one.  The kind that I thought was a real possibility when George W. Bush was allowed to steal the election without mass protest and rejection of the status quo.

    Now we see what that has all being leading to.

  •  And if you'd been unable to pay that $265 fine, (36+ / 0-)

    depending on where you lived, you could be sent to jail for failure to pay.

    And then could be charged for the expense of keeping you in jail -- more expenses you couldn't pay, because you were in jail and couldn't work.

    If you weren't in jail but were also unable to pay the mounting fees and collection costs, then your account could be turned over to a collections agency who could -- without the approval of a judge, without any actual justice system involvement whatsoever -- issue a warrant for your arrest.

    This is happening in America, right now.  And nobody cares, because, you should pay your debts, right?  And you shouldn't have been driving without a license/made that illegal turn/run that stop sign anyway, right?

    We have already created a society where the police can do whatever they want to the 99%, and the 1% can do anything they want (kill a bunch of people, rape a three-year-old, anything) and get off Scot free.

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:28:34 PM PDT

  •  Not only "so trivial, so unnecessary, so... (13+ / 0-)

    Not only:

    "so trivial, so unnecessary, so unmotivated by anything other than a desire to write a ticket..."
    but also: against such sympathetic defendants and credible witnesses

    ... if you had challenged the citation in court, which your profile suggested you were relatively able to do.

    Cops obviously know, better than we do, that a single unaccompanied person, especially if Black, foreign-accented and/or poor, tends to be more vulnerable on all these counts.

  •  This may seem off-topic, but there is a contingent (15+ / 0-)

    of people on Daily Kos who insist that every survivor of rape should report her/his rape and press charges (the implication being that if s/he doesn't, s/he is lying or it was just a "misunderstanding".)

    Previous reasons not to report have included a poster who openly said on the internet that he would always vote "not guilty" if he were on a jury for a rape case because "bitches" "deserve" to get raped; a prosecutor who said, "He's cute, are you sure you didn't consent?"; the fact that juries will exclude anyone who's been raped and anyone who's known someone who has (in other words, nearly everyone who isn't actively hostile to rape victims).

    So now let's add to that: cops are not trustworthy.

    We all know that when it comes to race; it's time we accept that it applies just as much to gender (especially to transgender) and sexual orientation as well.  

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:36:34 PM PDT

  •  You should... (5+ / 0-)

    ...submit this to your local paper for a LTE or Op-Ed.

  •  Obviously the two situations are profoundly (18+ / 0-)

    different, in terms of outcomes. But I dare anyone who reads this comment to tell me that they've never had an unpleasant encounter with a cop, trooper, TSA agent, FBI agent, etc., in which they were abused, demeaned and made to feel like shit, intentionally, but undeservedly, by a clear sadist.

    Sure, cops are like this the world over, always have been, always will be, but something has happened in the US over the past few decades to make this worse. In so many forms, arbitrary and excessive authoritarianism has taken over the country and it's only getting worse. NSA spying on innocent people, SWAT teams attacking peaceful protesters, cops lynching innocent people, etc.

    What the fuck is going on, and why aren't the so-called progressive Dems we elected to do something about this, actually doing something about this? This is systemic and pervasive and it's totally unnecessary. Even though I disagree with their reasons, I can see why teabaggers say they want their country back. So do I (just not the country they want back).

    We keep talking about freedom, but we're losing more and more of it each day. And our dignity. And all too often, our lives.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 09:03:32 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely Correct (4+ / 0-)
      in which they were abused, demeaned and made to feel like shit, intentionally, but undeservedly, by a clear sadist.
      The video's are out there for anyone with any doubts. More importantly is what is happening that is not on video.

      A person relating these stories of abuse have commonly been looked upon as "deserving." Even when the evidence supports the story, the authoritarian stormtroopers give it a big thumbs up and yell their undying support for those committing the sadistic acts.

      How many of us have been in a situation within the last decade or so with one of these sadistic assholes and wanted to tell them to fuck off?

      Authoritarian, power trippin' bullies are all around. Then, just to top it off we get the racist with all these wonderful qualities. Some even carry guns. Nice mixture.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:05:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm either lucky or not easily offended. (0+ / 0-)

      I have had a LOT of encounters with the police for traffic matters, car accidents, etc. over several decades; and I have to say that while things didn't always go my way, I don't remember ever being really shit on by a cop, even when on the motorcycle.  I've even gotten a few much appreciated breaks for serious infractions (e.g. 56 in a 25 zone).  Of course, I'm lucky in that I'm not the target cohort, being an older white guy; but even as a kid, I never got a ticket I didn't deserve.

      You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

      by rb608 on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's what I've realized that is heartbreaking... (10+ / 0-)

    As professional-ish white male, who has also had a foot in protests, direct-action, drug-related law-breaking, etc... sure I have a healthy mistrust of cops.  However, I do live in a reality where if I were in a car accident, I'd be glad to see the cops show up...  if I were lost in a strange city, I would not hesitate to ask a cop for directions... If I were mugged, I'd report it to the cops, etc.... or, for an actual real example, a friend of a friend has gone missing recently, and when I learned that they filed a missing-persons report with the police, I did not for a second wonder if that was a good idea.  I do believe that for people like me, the police play an important and useful role, and I (for my own interests) I wouldn't want to just do away with them.

    However, I now understand that, in African-American and other minority communities, it's not just that the cops frequently brutalize people...  It's that they are not there to do their job, or even if they sometimes are, there is so much justifiable mistrust, that for all practical purposes those communities do not have a police force to do the things police are supposed to do.

    I apologize if I am stating the obvious, and I apologize that I don't know what to do about it.

  •  Same here. The Karma is on Jury Duty. (19+ / 0-)

    Not a grandfather yet, but otherwise our backgrounds are cut from the same cloth.  I have enjoyed the confident cordiality in my dealings with police officers that comes with my white, male, middle class background.

    But there were a couple of instances in my youth when the encounters weren't so cordial, and like you they have leavened my admiration for police officers with a certain amount of wariness and cynicism.

    These caution signs arose while serving on a criminal jury.  The defendant (who was not Caucasian) plead not guilty, and he had a couple of supporting witnesses.    The star witness for the prosecution was one who could not be cross-examined, being a Police Dog.

    Two officers testified for the prosecution. One officer, who displayed a lot of integrity and professionalism,  testified that there were some ambiguous circumstances regarding the Police Dog's identification of the defendant.  The other officer, a K-9 officer, who was testifying as to the dog's mental state and degree of certainty, had no doubt that the dog was certain of the track and that the defendant was guilty.

    11 members of the jury were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt, based upon the "testimony" of the dog.  But I couldn't reach that threshold, because I discounted the testimony of the cocksure K-9 officer to the extent that I didn't think it was more weighty or reliable than the two witnesses who supported the defendant's alibi.

    Thus, I had a reasonable doubt.  It took 3 days of very sharp deliberation in the Jury Room before the Judge finally declared a mistrial.

    I certainly do not want to see guilty persons go free due to Jury Nullification.  But on the other hand, I have a more profound respect for the presumption of innocence on behalf of the defendant than might otherwise have been the case.  Even if the cops are white and the defendant is not.

    •  What you did, was heroic, and was not jury (10+ / 0-)

      nullification.  Based on your report, the prosecution did not prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  You did your duty admirably.  Few would hold out for three days, often telling themselves that if 11 people thought one way, that maybe the holdout was wrong.  But there are reasons why there are 12 members in a proper jury, and they are not all historical.  Twelve makes it more likely that a cross section of the community will be seated, and that there will be enough different sets of eyes and minds on the evidence that a true verdict will be reached.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 04:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the state of Florida (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ValleyForger, rb608

        only six jurors are required to be seated for a capital case, and we've all seen how effective their judicial system is.

        "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." -- Benito Mussolini

        by naitoose on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 07:19:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the reduction of the number of jurors in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BvueDem

          trials was one of the first assaults on our rights.  The excuse was that the expense was too much for a 12 person jury.  Bullshit.  Six people are far less representative of the community than twelve, and easier to sway.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 02:57:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good for you! First jury I sat on, the DA's (10+ / 0-)

      'investigator' was an arrogant, jackass of a cop who struck us all as one of those who made up his mind and then went looking for evidence to support what he wanted to find and ignored everything else.

      Took us half an hour to get around to the first ballot, because I think we were all dragging our heels and dreading the thought of being the one person who would hang the jury because that kid was so not guilty. (turned out it only took the one ballot, we were unanimous for not guilty right off)

      I know I was relieved not to have to do it. Good on you for standing up.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:04:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I, too, admire your courage. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ValleyForger

      I don't know if I could've done that in the face of such "peer" pressure. I hope I could.

      Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

      by FactsPrevail on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:04:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My sister is a retired police officer (27+ / 0-)

    And coming from a military family (I grew up on various Air Force Bases), as a child I always associated uniformed personnel with high standards and honesty.

    In my 50+ years on this planet, I've had one, single important experience with the police, and yes, I'm a white male.

    The details are irrelevant, but I was in a hearing and asked my attorney to ask the officer, sworn and testifying, a simple, factual question. In response, he lied. He lied about what he had said to me and what my response was. He lied about the entire exchange. It was a complete fabrication.

    As the diarist said, I will never forget it.  Ever since that incident, I hold police officers in the U.S. in contempt. There is no honor. There are no high standards. They will lie about the most trivial matters if it suits their needs. In my view, they're worse than the average person.  

    I don't know what it is about that profession that attracts people like that, but I know it's why my sister is a retired police officer. She said policing had changed over her career. It was attracting now people she didn't care to have work alongside her.

    •  And furthermore... (2+ / 0-)
      There is no honor. There are no high standards. They will lie about the most trivial matters if it suits their needs.
      ...and no other cop will call them on it. That's the real problem, the lack of high standards you mention.
      In my view, they're worse than the average person.
      Because the average person is held accountable by his or her peers when caught lying. Cops don't have civilian peers. That's what this is about.
  •  Back in 1983 I was in a disco that closed at 2AM (26+ / 0-)

    I was a bachelor.  I got in my car to go home.  As I drove on to Ventura Blvd. in Encino I saw a girl that had been in the disco hitching a ride.  What the heck, I stopped and let her in.

    Right away I realized I had picked up a transvestite, she was a guy.  I had no hurry and I sort of felt sorry for him.  I remembered the old "gas, grass or ass".  The only thing that made sense was grass.  I asked him if he had any grass.  He said yes and opened his small purse and pulled out a joint.  So I asked him where he was going and he said he wanted to go to Mel's Drive on Sunset Blvd.  What the heck.  I decided to give him a ride.  We had a nice chat getting there. So I dropped him off and headed home back in the San Fernando Valley.

    Next day I get up and turn on the TV and his/(her?) face was on the screen.  The news described how he/she was stopped by two sheriffs and pulled a gun from the purse and they shot her dead.

    I knew this was a lie.  I had seen inside her purse when she pulled out the joint.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action. UID: 9742

    by Shockwave on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 11:15:19 PM PDT

  •  I guess I was lucky... (9+ / 0-)

    ...some years ago here in Seattle. I received new tabs in the mail and went out to put them on my plate and it was pouring rain, so I put them in my glove box. I had already crossed this off my list of "to do's".

    A couple of days later I was pulling out of a parking space downtown and a cop spun up his lights and pulled me over.

    I explained what had happened and showed him my tabs and he told me to put them on right away. He let me go without any problems.

    I wonder what would have happened under other circumstances in some other city if I had been black or Latino?

    Existence always was and always will be.

    by Seattle Mark on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 11:19:00 PM PDT

  •  "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil (12+ / 0-)

    is for good men to do nothing." — Edmund Burke

    For all the good cops who do a thankless, sometimes-dangerous job without compromising their principles, police agencies also harbor their share of aspiring psychopaths... and the good cops enable them by looking the other way.

    Same difference.

    •  I think the good cops are too scared for their (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      No one gets out alive, a2nite

      jobs to do anything about the bad ones.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:17:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are too scared (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        inhibitedagitator, Dirtandiron

        for their lives, no backup, guys arriving to mess up the arrest or otherwise mess up your life.  Lying is for all too many endemic in their dna once they put the badge on.  We've all (unless you are a saint) lied about something, we call it fudging or white lies.  Way too many people seem to be growing up thinking lies are a more successful coping mechanism than dealing with truth.  "Everyone does it."

        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

        by lyta on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 08:35:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Never trust the honesty of a cop, ever. (16+ / 0-)

    I listened at the dinner table while growing up. My mother and step father were both local and federal law enforcement agents, my brother was Border Patrol, my wife, an ex-cop (left the job in disgust).

    Three of my cousins are cops, and I have heard it all from them and their colleagues who used to come over to the house. From hearing about how to plant evidence, to how to lie to a lie detector, and perjure yourself without getting caught.  Especially after listening to three cops lie under oath about things I had observed personally in two different incidents as a by-stander witness.

    I trust no one in law enforcement to be honest or fair. They all have the same attitude towards civilians, i.e., citizens are looked upon as future scumbags and the real purpose of their job is to lock up criminals and if that means lying, or manufacturing evidence, so be it.

    You know who cops are? They are for the most part men and women who can't make it in the private sector and sign on as the Czar's Kossaks. I know that sounds ugly, but it is true.  

    Virtually every law enforcement agent I have met exhibit two traits; they are adrenaline junkies  and bullies.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 11:40:41 PM PDT

  •  My father met two lying cops in the 1950s (14+ / 0-)

    My father used to drive a lot as a salesman and a truck driver.   Two road stories he told with venom involved invalid traffic stops.

    In the first case, he was pulled over and accused of going through a red light two miles back.  My father didn't think he had gone through the light, but what bothered him especially was the cost of the ticket given his meager salary with six children to feed at home.   After he was given the ticket and the cop drove away, THEN my father was really steamed.  The ticket was written for a location on another part of town.  For whatever reason, the cop had started that ticket somewhere else and ended up assigning it to my father.

    But my father got justice in another invalid stop.  While driving a delivery truck in a small town, he got pulled over.  The cop claimed my father had driven across a sidewalk on a corner, and broke the sidewalk.  Looking at the sidewalk, my father realized it was not a fresh break, and this was probably a money-making scam by the police.  

    My father looked through his wallet, pulled out his license, and carefully watched the cop's eyes as he looked at the license and wrote down the information.     After receiving the ticket, my father got out of town as quickly as possible, and told his boss to never send him back to that town.  This was 1950s and there were no photo ids.  My father had handed the cop his fishing license from another state!

    My father told me these stories and taught me skepticism long before I was driving.  I expect traffic ticket scams by cops have been around forever.

  •  Justice defined in today's world is this, (11+ / 0-)

    Just us. The very wealthy, and the legal apparatus. No others are worthy of our time.

    It's time to fully and completely engage in this. The legal apparatus is law enforcement, the judiciary, the political system, and the wealthy. It means taking charge of the problem at all levels. The price for failure is the reduction of your status as a citizen into a serf and from serf to slave. Unless you like the idea of a corporate aristocracy.

    It is time to get rid of the corrupt, the sadistic, the incompetent, the dishonest, and the criminal. It is time for lots of sunlight into the dank underbelly of a system that is failing us and victimizing us at the same time.

    Stay mad. Stay alert. Keep your camera going any time you have to interact with these people. They are not worthy of your trust under most circumstances. Since they can not or will not police themselves, independent civilian review is needed.

    Give blood. Play hockey.

    by flycaster on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:14:59 AM PDT

  •  Judicial system backs police, no questions asked (17+ / 0-)

    My wife got a ticket for "running a stop sign" which she didn't do.  I went to court with her.  There were at least 100 people there for "traffic violations".  The bailiff came out and basically said--'you can all get your paperwork and pay $100 fine and you are free to go.  If not, you will wait until the judge is ready, be found guilty and pay a higher fine.'

    Someone asked don't we get a fair hearing?  The bailiff responded:  'If a police officer gave you a ticket, the judge will find you guilty'.

    No due process.

  •  Same story, different details (11+ / 0-)

    You have my complete sympathy. And, yes, these stories are trivial - but informative.

    I got a ticket for crossing a white line at an exit ramp. It was a legit ticket, because I was trying to go around a broken down truck that was approaching the ramp at about five miles an hour. I was going about 30 mph on an interstate.

    But the cop wrote it up as "interfering with an emergency vehicle" and wrote me two tickets and a warning.

    I went to court and one state cop was there reciting reports for all the tickets. When he read my report, it contained a non-existent tow truck (emergency vehicle) and non-existent flares. Made it sound like I drove through a crowd of pedestrians while fleeing the scene of a crime.

    Same issue. Why lie? Why make up shit I could find a lawyer to disprove (tow truck records? truck driver testimony?)? The judge tossed the interference charge and I paid the other ticket.

    Still, I agree with you. It completely changed my attitude about the police - BECAUSE THE LIE WAS ABOUT SOMETHING SO SMALL.

    I had uncles who were cops. They did not go in for this petty horseshit. The cops are different now. Even the state police have zero integrity and behave like suburban commuters on expressways are some gang banger.

  •  Lie and Steal (0+ / 0-)

    Not only will they lie, some cops will also steal from those they arrest, pocketing whatever cash a citizen/victim may have in their wallet. Something certainly has gone very wrong, when the police are comfortable acting in such a criminal manner themsleves. They only difference between some cips and any common street thug is that police criminality is protected. Perhaps, this reality has always been so.

  •  I learned long ago, cops lie, ALL of them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No one gets out alive

    and there will be plenty of the one-bad-apple deniers and defenders, but they are wrong. Without exception a good cop will lie about "trivial" things like you mention, thinking it not a big deal. Most will lie about big things too.

    The same cop who might be nice to you one day, will the next bash your skull in without guilt given the slightest provocation.

    Of the almost 1,900 dead Palestinians, the IDF said it killed "900 terrorists" in Gaza. Add that to its long list of lies.

    by pajoly on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:56:20 AM PDT

  •  You get Russia & dashboard cams (9+ / 0-)

    Corrupt policing is apparently one of the major reasons why dashboard cams are very common in Russia - so common that when the meteor went over Chelyabinsk a couple years ago, there were multiple recordings of it doing so.

  •  I am a white guy with the same type of expiernce (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo, jbob

    I have seen police flat out lie their ass off under oath in court. My wife doesn't understand why if the police told me the sky is blue that I would have to go outside and look for myself.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rmonroe on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:13:34 AM PDT

  •  Despair, trapped in California (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoBlueSkies, emeraldmaiden

    Huh, just realized the "nuts" stereotype fits pretty well now.
    My mantra: Don't think about it. Oom.

    When I moved here (small town) I was 5150'd over a misinterpreted email, one in which I stated "this is a rant, don't call the cops". I had lost everything that mattered to me, so it was a good rant.

    A few hours later the neighborhood and I were awakened by loud cop-banging (you know the kind?) on the door with the accompanying announcement "Police department, open up.". Two cars out front, and three big guys come in and fill my rented room. I let them go through everything including my email account, what else could I do?

    I have white privilege and know what to say (from a real hold 25 years ago) so they left. If I had the resources I'd move, the stigma of mental illness is too heavy. I'm still "better off" because I've never been beaten or harassed (protest marches excepted). Despair feels like I'm "trapped in a world that I never made." Thank ceiling cats for the electric guitar :-)

    You've got to break out, you've got to prove you're alive
    And what makes you think that the weak survive
    And if you don't have the stomach for all this radical crap
    Then have the guts to stand for something or you're gonna be trapped
    Trapped
  •  any moral cops with guts? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo, No one gets out alive, imsodizzy

    its a daily rant that "why aren't the good Muslims speaking out"- they are. ' Why aren't Blacks talking about Black on Black violence, baby Mommas etc.." oh they are. But has anyone heard anyone say "Where are the good Cops? Why aren't they speaking out on the lies, brutality, sale of military surplus out the back door, corruption?"

  •  Another view on the corruption in the system (7+ / 0-)

    I went to college in Troy, NY. I was young, foolish, and into cars, so unsurprisingly I got a (well-justified) speeding ticket. My student union dues included one free representation from a lawyer the school kept on retainer, so I took him to court to see if I could get the ticket lessened. Turns out, we never even went into the courtroom. Some clerk asked if we intended to plead not guilty, to which the lawyer answered yes. We were then directed to, and I'm not kidding, Mr. Finkel. Mr. Finkel sat at a desk outside the courtroom and when our turn came up, he looked at the ticket and pronounced "$100 fine and 5 points on your license, $200 fine and 3 points on your license, or $400 fine and we reduce the charge to 'parking on the freeway' with no points." I never said a word, just wrote the $400 check and moved on, figuring it was the price for my rambunctiousness.

    The next time (yes, it happened quite a bit - did I mention I was young and foolish?), I asked the lawyer if I even needed to be there, since last time I never said a word. He said "Nope. Just give me two checks, one for my fee and one for Mr. Finkel."  Luckily his fee was only $25 because of the deal through the student union, so at least half a dozen times over the course of my college career, I gave the school lawyer $25 and a blank check for Mr. Finkel. Never got a single point on my license (in that city). In my case, the result was probably fair, since I really did speed a lot, but never actually endangered anyone; so paying a bunch of fines and keeping my license didn't feel the wrong result to me. Like I said, just the price of my foolishness. But the impression of how crooked that system was never left me and knowing that someone without the financial wherewithal to pay those fines would have lost their license and not been able to get to school/work really sucks.

    More recently, although my foolish phase is mostly past, I did something really dumb and got bagged on my motorcycle at like 80 in a 30 or something horrible like that. Empty road, small town with speed limit suddenly dropped from 50 to 30, I was cold, wet, and eager to get home... still, no excuse - I was guilty as sin. Unfortunately for me, the cop wrote me up for a criminal charge of driving to endanger - again, probably deserved, but a criminal charge would really screw up my life. The cop was actually debating taking me away in cuffs! So I hired a lawyer and headed to court (pre-trial hearing, as it turns out). I was contrite, apologized, and swore they'd never see me again if they could see their way clear to cutting me a break. The judge not only tossed the criminal charge, he didn't even hit me with a speeding ticket. No probation before verdict, no continuance, nothing hanging over my head, just cleared. Completely. The reason? Apparently I'd hired a lawyer who was well known and respected in that court. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I'm middle-aged and white either, just to acknowledge the role of privilege, but the judge specifically mentioned my lawyer as one of the main reasons he let me off. Of course, I was delighted with the outcome, but ever since, I've been absolutely stung by the fact that I was able to buy my way out of a pretty serious offense, just by hiring the right (very expensive) lawyer.

    We do not have a "justice system" at all. Not even close. I'll game it when I can, since that's the system we have, but I do it knowing full well that others can't, and I feel like crap about it. I would much rather have a system that had penalized me for what I actually did, if it meant that all the innocent, the less well-off, and the darker-complexioned people would get fairness too. I'd take that system in a second, even though it would have hurt me personally in many instances.

  •  A depressing and illuminating column (10+ / 0-)

    We appear to live literally in a police state. Our prisons are full and our people are oppressed through policies such as civil forfeitures, police aggression, debtor's prisons, and communities financed through the process of criminalizing and/or fleecing their citizens. And now the police are militarized as well with tear gas and snipers and sound cannons and other instruments of actual war.

    And we are all to blame for accepting it as long as it happens to someone else and we are left alone.

    The only concrete actions I can think of to turn this ship around is to demand accountability at every level starting at the most local.

    1.Every community should have a Civilian Review Board for the actions of the police and sheriff's departments and they should review EVERYTHING - every single ticket issued, every warrant, every summons, every docket, every decision, every court outcome.

    2. Every local paper should have an exhaustive Police Beat page where all of the above is reported openly on a daily basis.

    3. Every police department should be supplied with federal money to equip them with dashboard and personal cams.
    There should be a person in every department or even a municipal employee tasked with making sure that all this equipment is in working order every day.

    4. Improve police training at every level. Raise police salaries. Give police work the status it deserves. Make it an elite career for all the right reasons, that the people chosen have the right temperament and ethic and courage the job requires and they deserve to be paid well for putting their lives on the line every day.

    5. Subject policemen to the same random drug testing required in other professions where the importance of having a drug-free workforce is important.

    6. Find some other way to finance our municipal infrastructures aside from making crime pay for it. Put all proceeds from criminal activity in a statewide general fund so that no individual community has any motivation to find more crime than actually exists.

    6. Send out Federal "testers" on a regular basis to investigate the policing of individual communities where problems have been reported. They do this to insure Fair Housing, I think we should set up a similar program for Fair Policing.

    Will these suggestions cost money? No doubt? But what is the cost if these things aren't done.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:31:00 AM PDT

  •  Left Iraq because not immune - why are cops immune (6+ / 0-)

    why are they protected from the law

    to murder and beat people up

    we were forced to leave Iraq because we could not live under the law

    now we as a country are being forced to realize that our cops are outside the law

    no news in this except to the America is #1 majority

    Glenn Greenwald in his book from 2012

    With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

    also the oligarchs are outside the law

    but, but, blame on blacks!!!

  •  Same experience (3+ / 0-)

    I truthfully told a Palo Alto policeman that something did not happen because there was no X. It was not even my ticket; I was passenger.  Police report said X happened. That's when I lost my trust in all police.
    Recently my ex-husband was stopped had a citizen call police about his erratic driving - dark and lost! Three squad cars for a traffic stop - like you - total overkill!  A cop opens the door and shouts this car reeks of alcohol!  Took the husband for a blood test - ZERO alcohol!  

    Because the cops can't get their act together on how to properly treat people and assess risks - we are paying for a huge number of cops WE DON'T NEED!!! So what are they doing? standing around and gossiping and crying about what a hard job it is and then taking a posse to a simple traffic stop.

  •  I was arrested. And raped. (12+ / 0-)

    Yes.

    I don't tell often or to just anyone. I just think that cops have been getting away with stuff for years and it is way past time it STOPPED.

    I was a stupid 25 yr old many many moons ago. It was night, I was arrested for speeding, not uncommon for me, and the cop told me to get in back of the squad. I assumed he was taking me to book me. Nope. He wasn't. He took me to a house, I assume it was his, and locked me in the attic. I don't remember a lot of the following day, other than it hurt and I was terrified. I was able to get away when he left to answer the phone. I could hear him talking. He left the attic door unlocked. I was shaking so hard putting on my clothes I thought he would hear me. I sneaked down the stairs and out what was the kitchen door and started running.  I found a gas station and the owner was nice enough to let me use his phone to call a friend.

    I will never, never forget that. I am an old broad these days but my fear of cops has never receded. I know there are good guys out there somewhere, but the only cops I see these days are the one in the neighborhood that look the other way when the dealers are doing business.

    I think that's one of the reasons I left the US and moved to Greece. I have been back here for 12 years and see it's getting worse every day, not better. Ready to bail again and move back to EU.

    Peace.

  •  How to get through it (7+ / 0-)

    I have nothing to add to the diary or the comments.  I know about the lies and how much the police are worshiped by the media.  It makes me sad.  

    However, we must look at some realities.  We incarcerate so many people.  It it absolutely incredible that we can utter words like "liberty and justice for all" and claim that the US is the greatest nation in the world while we jail and abuse so many.

    Next time you see a tough on crime politician, ask him/her if they think we incarcerate more people than any other country (including China) because we have the worst people in the world, because we have the most insane laws in the world or because we have a law enforcement community that demands to be fed.

    I may be a little paranoid about the police, but here are some things that I do to avoid contact with them.

    1.  Always dress nicely.  Wear clean clothes with conservative taste.

    2.  Never underestimate the value of a good haircut.  Shave every morning.

    3. Don't be black or hispanic or homeless. The police really don't like any of this.

    4. Keep your car clean.  People who have dirty cars have probably done something wrong.  Drive the nicest car you can afford.

    This is a survival guide--something to get you through the day.  The real solution is electing more progressives up and down the ticket, from City Council to President.  And it's a long, tough battle.  I thought that electing Obama would help and it really hasn't.  In fairness, things would no doubt be worse if we had elected McCain or Romney.

  •  Driving while bearded (8+ / 0-)

    Fourteen times, in the months after 9/11, my husband got pulled over for "speeding." Each time it was a cop who was driving toward him, saw his face and then turned around to pull him over. Oh, and my husband is white.

    Did they think they might catch Osama bin Laden, driving around rural Nebraska in an old Saturn? They did seem to be fishing, as none of them actually issued a ticket but gave him a "warning."

    He is always very calm with the officer (never argue with a man who has a gun), but he would ask them what setting their radar was on. The speed radar has a different setting when the squad car is parked, when it's following, and when it's approaching. In a techy and geeky way he was implying they might possibly be mistaken...but the truth is that in most cases it was a lie.

    We kept notes in case we ever wanted to file a complaint. We joined the NAACP partly to support them but partly also thinking somebody there might have a strategy or know a lawyer, etc. if we needed it.

    This nonsense completely stopped when we bought a Prius. What, only good guys drive hybrids?? Getting stopped is upsetting, the prejudice is upsetting, the lying is upsetting. And needless to say, what happens to our fellow Americans who are black or brown is unfair, it is hideous, illegal and destructive to society. This is not the country I thought we would be when I was growing up in the 60's, I thought we would get better.

    Where in the Constitution does it say: "...on behalf of corporate interests" ???

    by sillia on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 07:23:59 AM PDT

  •  Then there's changing Court records. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoBlueSkies, a2nite

    Making efforts to hit people twice for the same bogus fines.

    Faking "failure to appear" charges.

    Welcome to America. The New New Jersey.

    "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

    by waterstreet2008 on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:08:40 AM PDT

  •  I've been there too (6+ / 0-)

    Like you, my white privilege has shielded me from any real trauma, but when it's just you and that cop and you realize that they could say or do anything they want and it would be just your word against theirs, you are entirely at their mercy. It's a chilling experience. I know people that have gone to prison on entirely false charges. I tell my daughter - never provoke the Police. They can and will kill you or completely destroy your life on a whim.

  •  If a cop lies to give you a ticket, contest it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban, lyta

    Seriously - stand up in court and tell the judge it's a lie. This happens quite often, and the judges start to see trends. I know somebody who was ticketed for a lie (speeding when she wasn't) and didn't contest it. She happened to be in small claims with other people who had received a ticket on that day from that officer, and the next person up pled not guilty. The judge let him off, as well as the next person who pled not guilty.

    I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

    by Jensequitur on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:41:55 AM PDT

  •  I had a cop try to pull one on me (7+ / 0-)

    very much like this, and I found a very effective way of stopping a lying traffic cop, who made a claim that I made a rolling right at a stop sign.

    "Well, sir, Mr. Cop, I understand you see it differently than I do, so I guess we'll have to go to court to settle this. And since I have a GPS tracker, that records speed, location, distance, and time, the judge will probably accept that as hard evidence in my defense."    

    The cop demanded to see it, but I told him that the data is automatically uploaded and not in my possession. No, you do not have to prove it, and you sure do not have to hand them your cell phone or show them an on vehicle GPS tracker. The cop got mad and stomped back to his car and drove off, without issuing a ticket.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:52:38 AM PDT

  •  Soeey you didn't have a "Ticket Clinic" near you (0+ / 0-)

    For the same price they usually get a ticket like that dismissed.

    Even so, that is a good example of what our PD's have become.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:07:43 AM PDT

  •  In Russia, drivers use dash cams to prevent... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TakeSake, eyo, TexasTwister

    ...insurance fraud. There are people there who will purposefully cause a traffic accident, claim it is the other drivers fault, and will claim a settlement from that person's insurance.    

    That is why when you go to Youtube, there are hundreds of dash cam videos highlighting some of the antics of Russian drivers.

    It's sad to say, but I think we're to that point here in the US, too. Every driver should have a dash cam installed. Not to prevent fraud by fellow citizens, but to protect ourselves from the fraud of the police.  

     

  •  This proves (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boudi08, eyo, lyta

    Critical thinking is mandantory today. Never automatically believe or disbelieve anything. Listen to both sides (if you can). Ask yourself, does this make sense? Just plain old common sense. Is there a piece missing that would explain what happened better than what you've heard or read?
    Someone started a rumor that the Ferguson police officer suffered an "eye socket fracture." There is nothing anywhere to substantiate that, but all the RWNJs took and ran. A little critical thinking asks: would the officer be able to hit a moving target -- six times -- with that kind of injury? Wouldn't that injury have been obvious to all witnesses? Did the arriving officers show any concern for the officer? Wouldn't the police have immediately called an ambulance if there had been this serious an injury?
    I even wonder if this was a deliberate rumor started by someone who had enough medical knowledge to chose a type of injury that would have made what followed the injury all but impossible. Just to watch the fun when every right wing pundit and website took it and ran, no questions asked; no critical thinking applied. And boy, did they! I could not find it reported in any mainstream media.
    So, was this a lie about an injury to get sympathy for the cop and justify what happened? Or was it a hoax to make fools of the people who profess they are not racist? If the former, it only worked temporarily. If the latter, it worked like a charm and no one will admit it. I pick door number two.

  •  Another relatively privileged white person here, (6+ / 0-)

    female, recently getting a VERY mild taste of how the other half has always lived:

    Called local police from the house over a relatively minor matter, but item I thought still should be reported. I've lived in this upper-middle class area for ages and my relations with local police to this point have always been routine and fairly okay: getting a minor traffic ticket, complaining about a loud drunken party, talking to a police officer who addressed a neighborhood meeting. That kind of thing.  

    Two officers arrived to take my report. I asked them in. I had a story to tell and a document to show. As I told the story, the taller officer told me to put the document down and step away from it. I picked up the document to point out something; he told me again to put the document down and step away from it.

    By their bodily actions, the two men essentially herded me away from all the furniture, away from the doors, empty handed, and in betwen the two of them. The tone and body language of the tall one, especially, made me nervous. I'm thinking, "Sheesh, this feels like they are here to arrest me, not take a report!"

    I said, "I'd like to make some coffee, do you guys want some?" and ducked quicky past into the kitchen. I put on water to heat. Then, about to run the coffeee grinder, I was hit by apprehension. I warned, "I am just going to run the coffee grinder, you will hear some noise."

    Which I did. The normality of this action calmed me. Maybe them as well.

    I came out of the kitchen then, they declined coffee, and they took off with a copy of my exhibit. Afterwards, I called the department a few times to find out the status of the incident I reported. Apparently no one considered it worth investigating.  

    The tall officer left his police business card. It had a motto on it: not what you would expect, "Protect and Serve," or the motto of our local jurisdiction. Rather, his police business card displayed the well-known motto of one of the U.S. armed services.

    Before calling the police around here again for anything, I will definitely be thinking more than twice.

  •  Nurnberg 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    Y'all had enough, huh?  Electing all these right wing freaks into office.  Whenever you call a cop to the carpet for wrongdoing, he she or it follows up by saying, 'they're just doing their job,'  following orders, ad. nauseam, 'Who do they work for?' Yet another crock...and it's...guess what?  Blame Obama!  Always an excuse for these subhuman bullying losers...and liars!

  •  The Purpose of the Police (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Sad to say that police aren't there to protect people. They're there to keep order, and arrest or otherwise stop those who would tear down that order.

    Now, it's generally assumed by most people that it is the aforementioned order that is what keeps people safe, and for the most part, that's true. Problem is, life is not uniform, and there are situations that occur all the time where the only good solutions are those beyond the scope of the prescribed procedure.

    Too many cops these days shoot when they shouldn't and don't shoot when they should, and the departments they work for play a role in keeping this problem going.

    Aside from the fact that a great deal of departments don't adequately prepare or screen their officers, correctly handling a given situation can be extraordinarily difficult because it requires making split-second decisions that ordinarily people wouldn't be able to make after agonizing over them for hours.

    This isn't the first story I've heard like this. I've had people close to me relate similar stories. Someone I know was once going down a street the wrong way, but it was at night, and the sign was so concealed that it was impossible to see even during the day, and the area was unfamiliar to the driver.

    This person was not physically in any way a threat. I'm talking they were 90 lbs. soaking wet not a threat. 2 squad cars called in for backup, and threats of a drug test. Like the diarist, this person used to have some genuine trust in the cops. Not anymore though.

    So no, the police aren't there to protect people. That's a serendipitous effect of the job that they're supposed to do, which is enforce the law and keep daily affairs from descending into chaos. This is, aside from the racist element in all this, one of the major reasons why they dealt with the protesters the way they did. Simply put, it's in their job description.

  •  Lying Police (11+ / 0-)

    "What kind of society will we have when nobody trusts the police? Because that’s where we’re headed."

    It is called a Robo-Cop society and I would welcome an automated & standardized police force just to get some consistency, which is at the foundation of justice.

    I stopped trusting policemen during a similar incident, saying that I had got out of my vehicle to argue, but I took advantage of a neighbor who was filming his dog in the front yard at the same time whose tape showed that I remained in the car and had simply requested their lieutenant's name.  The cop didn't notice the neighbor filming the scene, but when I showed up in court with the evidence - after the cop had already lied on the stand twice, the judge charged him and his partner both with perjury and their boss suspended them w/o pay, made them go through retraining and subsequently fired them for false overtime reporting.

    My nephew (an over-the-road truck driver) is often victimized by troopers, who lie about his speed, position in relation to other vehicles and stop lights and make outrageous assertions when it comes to math & physics - all usually ending up with a ticket that costs money & time to fight, so he has an attorney on retainer - an unnecessary cost due directly by dishonest cops who have no incentive to do the right thing and are opportunists lust like any other criminal.

    The only things we can fight back with are tools of truth; capture their actions on video and stand up for your rights.  I have a car DVR installed with an SD memory card made by Eye-Fi that transmits video from it through my cell phone to my home computer - and that is what I tell any cop who chooses to deviate from the truth.  When I was asked if I knew why I was getting pulled over, I responded "no", and the cop said "because you ran the yield sign back there", which is impossible because yielding does not require stopping if the conditions are safe.  In my case, there was no opposing traffic and I had actually stopped because of the viewing angle.  So when I told the cop this, he just handed me the ticket and asked me to sign it, I said "sure, but my dashboard camera has recorded the past 30 minutes of driving and I am pretty sure that it will prove my innocence.  It sends the video over the Internet the moment it happens".

    The cop jerked back his ticket book so quickly it made a popping sound when it hit his chest.  After chewing his cheek for a good 30 seconds, he said that he was letting me go with a verbal warning because he was unwilling to give me one in writing.  I guess he didn't need any more incriminating evidence to go with me.

    Every layer you peel off of law enforcement will reveal a shocking state of America that will infuriate more and more people.  We are a nation of isolated individuals who feel powerless to know and control our lives and until we band together and demand better, the inequalities of today's headlines will become more prevalent until it become ubiquitously acceptable.

    •  I'm definitely buying one of those cameras (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaxRomana, eyo, lyta, Calamity Jean

      It seems only prudent.

      I'm also investigating GPS trackers that can supposedly log your car's location and speed, and whether you're moving or stopped, second by second.

      It's probably unnecessary, but I view it as a form of insurance — the cost of the equipment divided by, say, 36 months, is <$10/month, and if I have even once incident where it comes into play, it could potentially save me a hefty sum. Plus the possible satisfaction of being able to refute a lie.

      •  Well if you have an Android based smartphone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RationalThoughtProcess, catfood

        you can get an OBD2 bluetooth dongle (less than $100 for my PLX  that when combined with the Torque app (about $5 for Torque Pro) will do just that.  Use the right kind of car mount and it can serve as a dash cam as well.  Also note that many phones can use a 64GB or higher SD card even if they only claim to support up to 32GB as long as you reformat it to FAT32 as the only difference between SDHC and SDXC (SDXC is > 32GB) is that the larger SDXC cards use exFAT/Fat64 because newer versions of Windows will not allow you to format anything above 32GB ast FAT32.  Just use something like fat32format/guiformat or Minitool Partition Wizard and it will work just fine.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:47:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I bought one because I had my choice (0+ / 0-)

            of two used cars some family members were getting rid of (as they were getting new ones and the trade in value was pretty much zero) but both had check engine lights on.  So rather than paying a $100 diagnostic fee twice I simply bought the bluetooth code dongle and did it myself (oh, and the app logs all sensors along with gps coordinates once per second so I have to archive the logs as they can grow to several gigabytes fairly quickly).  Now I keep it connected all the time as that is how I get both the average and instantaneous mpg (my car does not have that built in).  I am thinking of getting a different mount and a 128GB SD card so I can turn it into a full blown dash cam though.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 08:45:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What an amazing comment! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eyo

      An to think I get out of speeding tickets by saying "Sir", batting my eyelashes, and occasionally crying.

      (I'm sorta joking but not really....)

      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What's our excuse?
      ~~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

      by smileycreek on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 03:52:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Courts giving cops permission to lie was a mistake (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyta, Calamity Jean

    They justified it based on unearthing the truth (i.e. telling someone that someone else informed on them to coerce people guilty of committing a crime into admitting their guilt).

    Too often new, the cops lie about everything, even when they don't need to do so.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:12:59 PM PDT

  •  a society that looks very much like ferguson (0+ / 0-)

    does now, only with rainbow colors.

    "What kind of society will we have when nobody trusts the police? "

  •  In my lifetime and at 58 years on earth... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo, lyta, Calamity Jean

    ... to me the carte blanche by pols and leaders to tell lies and get away with it was the President Nixon "I am not a crook." speech. A year or so later he left office in disgrace but was eventually pardoned by Ford. That pardon essentially gave the green light on "getting away with it." If the President can do it it must be ok.

    Shameless promotion is allowed. HousecallsHomeServices.com

    by PlanetTreasures on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:22:01 PM PDT

  •  AMEN! Been wronged twice now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasTwister, lyta, Calamity Jean

    because of outright lies of "Police Officers". The first time could have been corroborated by witness(es) had I been given an opportunity in court, but judges' last words were, "Don't you know loud music can get you in trouble?" I was arrested because I questioned the officers assertion that I had been doing drugs (I've never done a drug in my whole life!!!). I was visiting a college friend's apt at the time of the arrest and music volume wasn't in my control. The officer testified to the judge/court that I was about to drive away... My car's engine melted down a few days prior, and I had to have it towed off the side of the interstate! The 2nd time was much worse... Long story short... I cheer when they get "their due"!!!

  •  State Patrolman tried to injure me for speeding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyta, Calamity Jean

    on a motorcycle once. It was very late after midnight on a canyon stretch of two lane highway. I was speeding going maybe 70, when all of the sudden a State Patrol cruiser came out of nowhere blocking both lanes of the highway maybe 40 yards in front of me. There was no room to stop  but while braking so hard the wheels partially locked up I somehow managed to steer past it on the shoulder.

    He let me go with a warning and I was in to much shock to notice his name,

    "The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 03:02:28 PM PDT

  •  So very well written. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo
  •  Here in TX you might be paying a surcharge for (0+ / 0-)

    2 or 3 years on top. Maybe a third as much each time, I think? So, 200 dollar ticket winds up being more like 400.00.

    “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

    by nutherhumanbeing on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 03:24:06 PM PDT

  •  Everybody has to learn sometime. Many (0+ / 0-)

    just learn it while still very young.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 03:51:30 PM PDT

  •  This diary reminded me, (4+ / 0-)

    as it has for other posters, of a similar incident that happened to my wife (then girlfriend) in Houston, TX. We were together in the car with her driving. She was proceeding down a busy street well below the speed limit when a policeman pulled her over. He said she was speeding and dismissed our assertions to the contrary. We even disputed the ticket in court, but were not able to offer any concrete proof to contradict the officer's claim and the citation was upheld. I distinctly remember the prosecuting attorney asked if our speedometer had been recently calibrated, implying my wife was speeding without knowing it (this was not the case).

    At the time, I believed the officer had made a genuine mistake and confused our car with another vehicle. Now I'm not so sure...

    Like the diarist, I'm a privileged white male and, while I've experienced some police harassment in the past, never believed a policemen would just outright lie. With as much as my faith in the system was eroded by this trivial injustice, I can only begin to fathom how thoroughly powerless the residents of Ferguson must feel. All things considered, the protestors have shown remarkable restraint.

  •  Nobody should trust them. (6+ / 0-)

    If good cops are there, they aren't speaking up about the bad cops, so you can't trust them either.

  •  Had one in '90 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyta, Calamity Jean

    Cop lied about me not stopping at 5:45 to the YMCA, since I personally knew the mayor, and my father was one of his best friends and a judge I took the ticket to the mayor, and he took care of it until I got another in front of his daughter's home who I was tutoring their daughter.

    This time I asked his daughter to call his father as she came out.

    He came by as the cop wrote me tickets, where the mayor asked the commander to come by...well there was discipline but my friend who was an asst prosecutor told me cops always lie.   always

    so whenever I am called to jury duty I relay story....

    I am relieved

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty~Ben Franklin

    by RWN on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:03:49 PM PDT

  •  Why didn't you at least fight it in traffic court? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyta

    Even if the odds were against you (due to the probable collusion of judges and law enforcement), it still would've been worth a try for a couple reasons: a) many times the cop doesn't even show, which means you automatically win, and b) judges often rule in your favor because they know you wouldn't go through all the trouble of fighting it in court if it were a legitimate citation.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by FactsPrevail on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:31:55 PM PDT

    •  as explained above, that's not a winning strategy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, TexasTwister, lyta, Calamity Jean

      In all likelihood. For a few reasons.

      1. In my state, you can take a 3-hour online driver safety course to avoid having points go on your record and avoid having the infraction reported to your insurance company. If you go to court, you lose that option — if you're found guilty, you get points, and your insurance premiums go up.

      2. Asking around I was told the odds were very high that I'd be found guilty. (Assuming the officer showed up, etc.)

      3. Court starts at 8 AM, ends at 4 PM, and you have no way of knowing whether your case will be called at 8:05 or 3:55, and if you've stepped out to use the restroom at the moment your case is called, you lose. And I have a small bladder :-)

      4. I work on weekdays and if I'm going to take time off from work it needs to be for something more worthwhile than spending all day (potentially) in a courtroom on the slim chance I might avoid a manageable-for-me fine. (I own my own business, so at least I could take off from work — many employed people wouldn't even have the option.)

      I think they intentionally make it as difficult as possible for people to contest traffic tickets.

  •  I think everyone has a story (4+ / 0-)

    My then-17 year old son got pulled over with two other teenaged boys in the car at about 10 o'clock at night.  The cops said he didn't use a turn signal. My son insists he did.  Another cruiser showed up and 4 policemen intimidated my son into consenting to a search. They cuffed and stuffed all three kids in police cars for more than an hour.  All three kids were administered breathalyzers while the other police were busy ripping the carpet loose in the passenger area and in the back hatch.  I assume they were looking for drugs.  I assume they thought the car was too nice for a kid that young (he purchased it himself with his own money and it was registered to him) and he must be dealing drugs.

    By the time they were finished it was after 11pm city curfew so they took all three kids, still handcuffed, to the police station and called all of the parents to come and pick them up.  I don't know exactly how to describe the demeanor of the policeman I talked to.  He was arrogant for sure, but it was more than that.  He made me feel as though I was lucky they were releasing my son. He insisted I had to go move my son's car that night because it was parked in a yellow zone, so I had to drive home, park the car, and walk about a mile to the car in the dark.  

    No charges were ever filed.  Not even a ticket for the moving violation of not using a turn signal.

    I did nothing.  I was angry, unbelievably outraged, but I did nothing.  I was afraid to make waves in a small town.  My word against theirs.  

  •  stories like this are one reason i'm investing in (0+ / 0-)

    a cam in my own vehicle.  Some go above/behind the rearview mirror and have lenses that cover all four directions plus audio.

    Good ones are 2-300$$ but if its my word against some lying cop's bullshit...  Money well spent.

    And, actually, considering i'd sue the f*ck out of whatever police department the lying officer was connected to, probably a very good investment.

    having said all that, i'd much, much, MUCH rather live in a society where i didn't have to take steps to protect myself against "law enforcement".

    "Stories about bacon should be uplifting" - Oberon

    by bnasley on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 12:22:01 PM PDT

  •  COPs lie to suspects all the time, guilty or not. (0+ / 0-)

    That same act of lying carries over into court testimony.

    Cops lie all the time. It is in their DNA.

    Judges are in on it too.

    How can a lying cop's words be accepted as truthful over that of a citizen?

    Cops are basically dishonest to the core.

  •  the biggest casualty in this summer of discontent (0+ / 0-)

    is respect for the law.  From the Supreme Court (Hobby Lobby) to Staten Island, Los Angeles, and Ferguson, the idea that this particular nation is founded on principles and laws is coming unglued, and lack of trust and disrespect is grouwing with every news report.

    Dirigiste vs Free Mkt -6.25/ Libertarian vs Authoritarian -4.72

    by bob in ny on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:20:48 PM PDT

  •  Two events that forever changed my view of police (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RationalThoughtProcess

    I moved to NYC in 1982, right out of college. Having grown up in a very small, rural town in Pennsylvania, I was taught to view law enforcement as "the good guys," so when I moved to New York, I carried with me that default view of the NYPD. But I personally witnessed two incidents that forced me to see that my view of the essential goodness of the NYPD, and of police in general, had been very naive. Both of these incidents occurred during the Giuliani administration, and had I not witnessed them first hand, I might have had a hard time believing they actually occurred.

    The first was in 1998, just a few days after the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. That event touched many people very deeply, myself included. Early one afternoon, I got word from a work colleague that there was to be an impromptu vigil in memory of Matthew at 59th & Fifth Avenue (in front of the Plaza Hotel) at around 4:30 p.m. He said that several other folks from the office were going, and invited me to join, which of course I did. My colleague said he thought it would be a pretty small affair, since it was basically just a word-of-mouth thing that had been organized within the previous 24 hours. The vigil's organizer's, as I understand it, expected maybe a couple hundred people to show up. So they, and everyone else, was shocked when something like 5,000 people assembled. Since we were overflowing the plaza area in front of the hotel, some folks decided perhaps the thing to do would be to make a silent march down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park as a memorial to Mr. Shepard and a statement against the violence that took his life. The NYPD quickly stepped in to inform folks that under no circumstances would they be permitted to march, since they hadn't secured a permit in advance. But the crowd's emotions were simply running too high. The police were unprepared for the number of people, but they ultimately agreed to let the march proceed provided it remained on the sidewalk and didn't block traffic on Fifth Avenue. But there were simply too many people to be able to confine them successfully to the sidewalk (although the organizers did try), and the crowd began to spill out onto the avenue as the silent march proceeded.

    At about 44th Street, the police managed to split the crowd in two, forcing on half to turn right onto 44th Street, in the direction of 6th Avenue. The police told marchers they would be permitted to go down 6th Avenue instead of Fifth. The crowd complied, because we were not there to pick a fight with the police; we merely wanted to complete our silent vigil/march. When about half of us had been herded onto 44th Street, it quickly became apparent that the police had laid a trap. About two thirds of the way down the block, there was a solid line of policemen in full riot gear, along with equestrian units. Once they got the entirety of the rear half of the crowd onto the block, they corralled us in from behind with netting. And then the line of policemen literally charged the crowd. Even the mounted units charged full speed ahead, with horses stepping on people. The policemen on foot and on horseback began indiscriminately swinging nightsticks at the marchers. Many were injured, and many were herded into police vans and arrested. I managed to get out by ducking into a camera store and pretending to shop. At the time I remember thinking to myself, "this cannot be happening here, in this country, in 1998." But it happened.

    The second incident was some months later. I was riding the subway on my way home to Brooklyn in the wee hours of the morning. There were only three or four passengers in the car I happened to be riding in, one of whom was a sleeping homeless guy who had stretched out along the length of one of the benches. If the man owned shoes, he wasn't wearing them. His feet, obviously badly infected, were swollen, mottled messes of black and purple. At one of the stations, two transit police officers boarded the car. They went over to the homeless guy and tried to rouse him, but he couldn't immediately be roused -- he might have been drunk, or maybe he just hadn't slept in days. After a few minutes of shaking him, yelling at him, etc., none of which was successful in waking him, one of the officers took out his nightstick in two hands and swung it, baseball bat style, directly into the soles of the man's feet. Of course, the man immediately sat bolt upright screaming in pain. By then we were approaching another station, were the officers roughly dragged him from the car (presumably to ticket him). For those not from NYC, you can be ticketed for lying down on the subway benches. But this was 3 a.m. in the morning, when next to no one was riding the train, so it's not like he was preventing anyone from being able to sit. Yet these officers, in a display of wantonly thuggish abuse of power, had to make this poor soul's sad life that much more miserable. Cruel, sadistic assholes. They did what they did merely because the could. And they knew that in NYC, even if someone were to complain about their abusive behavior, such complaints generally disappear into the bureaucratic neverland that is the Civilian Complaint Review Board. They knew there would be no consequences whatsoever.

    It nags my conscience to this day that I didn't say something to those two police thugs. But if I had, I very likely would have found myself at the business end of that nightstick. To witness that kind of brutality first-hand really changes a person's perspective -- or at least, it really changed mine.

  •  I have had the same thing happen more than once (0+ / 0-)

    Got a ticket because I was driving a white car - the same color as another car which had blasted by me at over 100 MPH and which the two police cars hiding in a parking lot could not catch. So I got slapped with a ticket, after a left turn from a complete stop, I had gone 200 feet. THe ticket said I was traveling at 80 miles an hour when the police officer put his lights on and pulled me over. Zero to 80 MPH to Zero in 200 feet! Power corrupts as they say and it has been moving toward absolute power. There is a video from a lawyer explaining what you should and shouldn't say or do when stopped or questioned by the police. It is completely accurate. But it will result in getting arrested or shot or tazed if you are white and result in being beaten, tazed shot and arrested (in that order probably) if you are not white. We have lost the country to the control necessary to a corporate oligarchy which wants a fascist country.

  •  If your "good cops" were so good, (0+ / 0-)

    they would be using their influence and inside knowledge to clean up their own departments.

    In the secretive gang world of this era's police, a "good" cop is the person who has the information and gives all the dirty details to a District Attorney who will fix everything.

    Except the dirtier the cops, the dirtier the DA.  The "good" cop might soon end up fulfilling the classic cop prediction --  "snitches lie in ditches."

    She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

    by Boadicaea on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:50:40 AM PDT

  •  And as for calling 911 (0+ / 0-)

    that's one of the most dangerous things you can do, so try real hard not to do it.  

    Many many many times the 911 response is to kill someone who called.  Many reasons why, all having to do with cop incompetence and badness.

    She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

    by Boadicaea on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:55:23 AM PDT

  •  Got another one. (0+ / 0-)

    Ticketed for no seat belt in NYC.
    Cop lied bold faced to the judge when pressed,
    Said he saw the shine of the seat belt buckle,
    by the head rest. I was driving a different car, because mine was in the shop, so I paid the ticket, the judge reduced the fine,and when my car was finally repaired, guess what?
    A BLACK PLASTIC SEAT BELT!!!

    I got a cell phone ticket on March 12 2013,
    NYC again.
    My court date is on June 1st.
    Yes I've postponed it for as long as I can.
    I had flown in the night before, and the call was medical information about my mother.
    I'll put up a fight, but I doubt if I shall prevail.

    In the 60's, as I'm sure you know, we called the police "PIGS"
    This was grossly unfair.
    Pigs are very intelligent animals, & have better ethics!!!<

  •  Give a guy a gun and the legal ability to be ri... (0+ / 0-)

    Give a guy a gun and the legal ability to be right because of the badge, also given to him, why should he opt for the truth when tickets give him points with his bosses? Well, there are many reasons why cops should tell the truth and none of them have to do with the cop's promotions and merit rewards.

  •  Nightmare While Awake (0+ / 0-)

    I believe that Law Enforcement in American now Believe they are above the law and the far right thinks it's good. That's scary because they carry guns and literally can murder you without fear of consequences.

  •  Like I've always said... (0+ / 0-)

    "Anyone that would want to be a cop during a drug prohibition is either an idiot or a criminal on the take."

    The best way to get an honest police force is to get rid of the stinking drug war.

    If you like bicycles, check out the newest and coolest products at my site, "ZiggyboyBullet.com." You can also find my products at e-Bay under the name, "Ziggyboy." See all the products on my "See seller's other items" link.

    by JohnnieZ on Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 04:41:03 PM PDT

  •  Kinda hard to believe... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that anyone "middle aged" or older hasn't been pulled over on a BS ticket!

    I, too, am white, middle class, 69 years old, and damn lucky to have lived when I did--we got all the breaks; but I've been given BS tickets at least three times in my life (when I was younger), and fought and won all three. (I also received tickets I deserved and paid the fine.)

    I point this out not because I feel unfairly discriminated against in any way--it's just the way it was. Cops lied involving middle class white boys. They lied, even back in the 1960's and 1970's, and that's just the way it was. (If they hadn't lied, I couldn't have won my cases!)

    I shudder to think what minorities have to put up with, which is much worse than I had to deal with--were I a minority I probably would have been shot by now!--but for anyone to suddenly come to the realization in mid life that cops lie is inconceivable to me.

    It must have been nice to live in such insulated circumstances!

  •  You could have fought the ticket. (0+ / 0-)

    You had a witness to corroborate your story and you could have watched the cop perjure himself in court.  Most judges are familiar with police who testi-lie.  Of course, after you won the case you would have a stalker with a badge and gun watching your every move.

  •  Too many honest police are afraid to speak up b... (0+ / 0-)

    Too many honest police are afraid to speak up because their jobs could be at risk and even with a union the union is in cahoots with the corruption.

  •  Lying has become acceptable in our country (0+ / 0-)

    How else can you explain the statements coming out of the mouths of politicians?

  •  Cred (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluegeorgia

    The only reason anyone will believe you -- is because you are a middle-aged White guy. A young black man telling this story would get all sorts of blowback being called a liar.

  •  PTSD in Ferguson and Baltimore et al (0+ / 0-)

    "God bless the people of Ferguson for having the decency to bear all that, year after year...'

    But they [the people of Ferguson, the people of Baltimore] don't bear it... they suffer from undiagnosed PTSD day after day, year after year... PTSD.

  •  The incident in Ferguson began with... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluegeorgia

    ... an order to get the f*** on the sidewalk, which sure looks like this was originally going to turn out to be just another ticket issued to a citizen for the flimsiest of reasons, but as soon as officer Wilson perceived he was being disrespected, everything went completely off the rails.  I've come to the opinion that no cops should be allowed to carry guns OR tasers. They need to learn how to defuse a situation by being a human being, and not simply on the basis of having superior firepower. It is the nature of human beings, once given authority, to abuse that authority.  Cops need to be on a much shorter leash, and if the cops don't like it, they can find a different job that comes with a longer leash.

  •  Glad the your Eureka moment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluegeorgia

    happened without physical pain and/or injury.  More importantly, glad you recognized it.

    Those of us who are white in this society, must be vigilant to learn without a personal Eureka moment.  We must allow empathy and compassion to be coupled with rational and research based information.  We NOW have the tools at our fingertips.

    When I was younger we did not have the immediacy of being able to research and get facts instantly.  Consequently too many of us believed what we were told.  Coming of age in the 1950s, and going to college by the mid sixties helped me.

    But I had other moments early on. I am female so there's that.  Also, I am a dark olive skin (and was much more so in childhood).  Dark straight hair, dark skin, high cheekbones sort of put me out of the mainstream.  My teasing name (i.e. when schoolmates wanted to tease/bully) I was called Pocohontas because of my resemblance (in their minds) to an "Indian" girl.  Why I saw that as negative was a product of the times and they way the words were hurled.  

    So I had some early EUREKA moments.  At 13, I was still a bit of a tomboy, wore "dungarees(jeans)" instead of dresses and loved "male toys" (like trains, erector sets, science sets, baseball gloves and bats).  So one day waiting for my older sister who worked at the Woolworths. (this is around 1958).  Our dad is going to pick up my sister from work, we get there early, he lets me go in the store to wait (and look at the stuff) while he runs a few errands.  And therein I was "profiled" as a possible thief.  I had about 15 minutes to kill and I spent it looking at their train displays, reading what I could get for my Lionel set; looking at all the new toys because Christmas was coming.  Lo and behold my sister comes out (it's about ten minutes still) and comes over to me and gives me a look of disgust (she was a girly girl).  Seems the manager told her to shadow that "dirty looking (another descriptor like foreign looking) kid" who he thought was looking to shoplift.  

    My sister went back and told him I was her sister (surprised she claimed me.)  Then she told my dad when we were in the car....her point being that "how could he bring me there, looking like that).  I cried, not because my sister detested how I looked, at that point she detested pretty much everything I said or did) but because some strange could think me a thief.  I was mortified.  It was only as I got older that I understood I was just soley on one thing. My looks.  Not my actions. I had done nothing wrong. I simply looked wrong.  Eureka 1

    Another time not too long after that, my dad and I were driving to North Carolina to visit his sister whose family had just returned from overseas.  Just the two of us.  On the way, we stopped at a diner close to midnight as my dad needed coffee.  I saw my first segregated place and signs for "colored bathroom".  I was from suburban Philly, my father was a cop and often his partner was an African American cop.  He had been to our house, our family picnics.  I knew his niece, played with her at school when we were in the same class in 4th grade.  Segregation was not something I knew or understood.  My dad tried to explain it.  I was appalled as was he.  Later that same night my dad got stopped by a cop, in North Carolina.  My dad was very quiet, did not say he was a cop, just took the ticket and went on. He was very quiet.  He never talked about it.  I don't know if he was speeding or not. But he was angry.  Like me, my father was very dark skinned, black hair, southern Italian.  Maybe he was speeding, Maybe not. Eureka 2

    And finally, I was 18 or so driving with my dad and Aunt to CA to see my sister who had moved to San Francisco.  I was driving, dad in back seat sleeping, Aunt in front with me, in OK.  A sudden storm hit, rain harder than I had ever seen.  I could not see to drive so I pulled off into the parking lot of what looked like a run down diner.  Other cars were in there.  I let my dad keep sleeping while the Aunt and I whispered.  Suddenly I hear shouting and look out my window.  The shouting awakened my dad.  Outside there was this mean looking man, holding a gun, screaming at a stationwagon with a black family to "get the hell out of here".  They drove up and he came toward us. My dad rolled down his window, and the guy said "Y'all can stay. I just don't want no N***s here"  My dad looked at him and said to me, "Go J, just go...."  And I did.  
    Eureka 3.

    Many many more since then but those are three times in my youth I was shocked into understanding what white privilege meant, who gets it, and how much you get.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Sun May 03, 2015 at 12:30:13 PM PDT

  •  BIZARRO WORLD... world's dumbest question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluegeorgia

    QUESTION (on each and every news account):  How can we build better trust in the police ?

    ARE THEY F'ING MORONS

    How about:  Be trustWORTHY, quit lying, quit cheating, quit stealing, quit harassing people, quit hitting without cause, quit shooting unarmed people who run from you.

    YES, i know, blah blah blah dangerous jobs, 9x% are hard working blah blah... but they apparently are content being part of this "gang of thugs" --- "hey officer, you know how you treat us poorly and say it is because a few of us are bad"... same, back at you

  •  Liars are thieves. (0+ / 0-)

    They steal your trust.  They steal your ability to make informed decisions about your life.  

    I'm too [insert adjective of choice, e.g., sane] to vote Republican.

    by Linus Too on Sun May 03, 2015 at 02:03:48 PM PDT

  •  driving while black (0+ / 0-)

    I moved to this community 10 years ago.  I have been pulled over once.  Supposedly because my license plate light was not working.  The shock on the officer's face to discover I was an elderly white person was evident.  It was Halloween and I'd painted my face dark brown with black and green highlights.  His first question was, "who are you trying to be?"  I told him "no one, I'm dead".  He laughed and let me go, not so much as a warning, verbal or written.  Think what you want, I know I was stopped for driving while black.  He just wanted to know who the new black person in town was.

  •  No good cops (0+ / 0-)

    There is no such thing as a good cop in the USA. If good cops existed, we would not have any bad cops.

  •  I want to SOLVE the problems, not see ads (0+ / 0-)

    Typically sad story of today's America. I'd like to help, but rather than offering such suggestions, the first thing after the article is a bunch of sponsored links from Taboola. Near as I can tell, just stupid time-wasting ad-driven links. NO contribution to solving the problem I just read about.

    Why doesn't Daily Kos offer some solutions? Say 3 to 5 projects I could support to SOLVE the problems? Subject to the constraint that enough people agree with me to fund one of the projects, the Daily Kos would get a commission for helping to solve the problem. The mindless and time-wasting ads are part of the big-business promotions that just fuel America's descent into stupidity.

    Maybe you have a better idea than #MDFC (More Democratic Funding Campaign) options after the stories. Great, let's hear it. However, it is obvious the current approaches and economic models are FAILING.

  •  We've been bred as slaves and snacks (0+ / 0-)

    The fact that we condone a marauding gang to police us is kinda crazy on our part.  Only about 5% of a population are sociopathic and guess what jobs they go for?  Do we really need to maraud everyone without any discernment at all? When you're a cop you automatically think you have to boss people around, watch them do it. Could you work as a harassment officer every day of the week?  Bothering people in the course of their day who have done nothing wrong or made a minor traffic mistake?  Do cops never make mistakes themselves?  Then they extort money. It is all skewed towards penalizing ourselves. Never does a cop take into consideration the good a person has done. We of course approve of all of this because we are fools. We think we are keeping ourselves safer but are we? Crime rates have plummeted in the last few decades. But each cop and associated personnel that support tyranny, tell themselves they are doing good for the community, without a single thought as to how it impacts another's life. Once they've nabbed you, it's out of their hands and they don't want to hear from you again. I had my car stolen by the police and impounded because it wasn't registered. Why can't they ask you to pay right there and then instead of stealing the car?  The cops were very nice and gentlemanly which should be expected but seems like a bonus today, but they still stole my car. How does one get to work?  Get their groceries, have a vehicle if an emergency crops up?  It's about owning our minds.  Think of the hours that will tie one up trying to retrieve what is rightfully yours. Nothing is rightfully yours, try not paying government charges, they will confiscate anything no matter how long you have had it in your family or your possession. They didn't pay for it yet they think they have a right to it. Many cannot envisage a world without someone bossing them around. But we'd better start envisioning a world where everyone's time is considered precious. You can't just go into someone's face and accuse them of some crime that some dickhead implemented. I guess the idea of money will have to change drastically.  Perhaps money can be based on love instead of on greed, the least friendly human trait.

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