August 27, 2014
Lawsuits against allegedly dirty narcs could mean millions in city payouts

Another example of how the failure to hold police accountable for misconduct robs taxpayers of millions of dollars:

Seven Philadelphia police narcotics officers at the center of a federal corruption probe are also named in scores of civil lawsuits that add more claims of thievery, intimidation and brutality to those described in their criminal indictments, according to court records.

The potential financial impact of these suits, along with any others that may be filed, could expose the City of Philadelphia to millions of dollars in damages or settlements.

Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, John Speiser, Michael Spicer, Linwood Norman and Perry Betts allegedly formed an out-of-control band of rogue officers who conducted illegal stops and searches as pretext to rob people, particularly those they believed to be drug dealers, according to the indictment filed last month. Jeffrey Walker, who is named in the indictment but charged separately, has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role.

Money quote:

Those same officers are the subjects of at least 81 pending federal lawsuits filed between November 2011 and this month, according to a search of court records. At least 78 of the suits also name the City of Philadelphia as a defendant, claiming the police department’s alleged failure to properly train, supervise or discipline officers fostered a culture of indifference to constitutional rights.

78 different federal lawsuits naming the city.  The taxpayers of the city stand to lose millions as a result of police misconduct.

I know so many people who think they’re taxes are too high, but always seem to give police the benefit of the doubt when they come under scrutiny in the media.  What they don’t realize is that the cost of bad policing comes directly out of their pocket.  If they really care about their tax burden, they should also care about holding police accountable when they screw up.  Bad policing is costing them money.

August 27, 2014
Georgia cops fired Taser 13 times ‘as a cattle prod’ to make tired man walk before he died

From the article:

A Georgia man died after police shocked him with a Taser as many as 13 times because he said he was too tired to walk due to a foot chase, his attorney said this week.

At a press conference on Tuesday, attorney Chris Stewart said that police records showed that East Point officers had discharged their Tasers 13 times to make Gregory Towns, who was handcuffed, get up and walk.

“This is a direct violation of their own rules,” Stewart explained, according to WSB-TV. “You cannot use a Taser to escort or prod a subject.”

“They used their Tasers as a cattle prod on Mr. Towns.”

Stewart said that he pieced together what led up to Towns’ April 11 death using official city records and eyewitness accounts.

“He wasn’t cursing. He wasn’t being abusive. He was saying, ‘I’m tired,’” the attorney pointed out.

Taser logs showed that Sgt. Marcus Eberhart fired his Taser 10 times, and officer Howard Weems pulled the trigger three times. However, the logs did not indicate how many times the Taser made contact with Towns.

In all, records indicated a total shock time of 47 seconds. Stewart called the situation “indefensible.”

Autopsy results obtained by WSB-TV showed that Towns’ death was ruled a homicide because the Taser shocks — combined with physical activity and heart disease — contributed to his death.

But Police Benevolent Association lawyers representing Weems continued to insist that the officer’s actions did not cause Towns to die.

Attorney Dale Preiser issued a statement saying that the “use of drive stun to gain compliance is permitted under federal and Georgia law.”

Stewart said that he would file a lawsuit against the city this week.

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Filed under: politics police georgia 
August 27, 2014
"Every person of color in this country has faced an indignity, from the ridiculous, to the grotesque, to the sometimes fatal, at some point in—I’m gonna say the last couple of hours—because of their skin color. We live in New York City, a “liberal bastion.” Recently we sent a producer and a correspondent to a building in this liberal bastion. The producer—White—dressed in what can only be described as homeless elf attire, and a pretty strong 5 o’clock-from-the-previous-week shadow, strode confidently into the building, preceding our humble correspondent—a gentleman of color—dressed resplendently in a tailored suit. Who do you think was stopped? Let me give you a hint: the Black guy. And that shit happens all the time. All of it. Race is there, and it is constant. And you’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how exhausting it must be living it."

John Stewart

August 27, 2014
"Economists’ consensus estimate is that open borders would roughly double world GDP, enough to virtually eliminate global poverty."

Bryan Caplan

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Filed under: politics immigration 
August 26, 2014
Mr. Rogers makes us all look terrible.
WHYY Media

Mr. Rogers makes us all look terrible.

WHYY Media

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Filed under: mr. rogers 
August 26, 2014
awwww-cute:

Patrick the Wombat! World’s oldest living wombat

LTMC: I had no idea wombats could get this big.

awwww-cute:

Patrick the Wombat! World’s oldest living wombat

LTMC: I had no idea wombats could get this big.

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Filed under: animals wombats 
August 26, 2014
Miley Cyrus' VMA Date, Jesse Helt, Is Wanted in Oregon - NBC News

I hate headlines like this.  The kid pled guilty to misdemeanor trespass and criminal mischief, and did his time.  He hasn’t done anything since except miss a meeting with his probation officer.  There’s plenty of people with unpaid parking tickets who are also “wanted” by the state, but we’re not assassinating their character on national news websites.

August 25, 2014
Israelis on Facebook wish death for Holocaust survivors against ‘Protective Edge’ | +972 Magazine

From the article:

The fact that there are Jews who can say this about other Jews—particularly Jews who actually endured what is generally regarded as the most catastrophic event in Jewish history—will never cease to cause me to shake my head.

August 25, 2014
Handcuffed Black Youth Killed Himself, Says Coroner - NBC News

Victor White was patted down twice, hands cuffed behind his back, yet somehow, he still managed to produce a gun in the back of a police cruiser and shoot himself in the back, according to the police report.  The coroner’s report contradicts the police report, and says he shot himself in the chest.  Nonetheless, the coroner still ruled it a suicide, because it was possible that due to his “body habitus,” Victor White could have theoretically manipulated a gun and shot himself from the front.  White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue.  What a surprise.

This may actually be the most facially suspect police report and autopsy I’ve ever seen.  The parents should bring a § 1983 claim.  There’s more than enough evidence here for a jury to award damages.  There’s a clear 4th amendment excessive force claim to be made here, a 14th amendment Due Process claim, and also potentially an 8th amendment “cruel & unusual” claim as well.  So qualified immunity won’t prevent the suit from going forward.

August 25, 2014
kohenari:

If you ever find yourself tempted to write something like this for the New York Times, just go back to bed. It’s far more productive for you to be sleeping than to publish something like this. And it’s far, far less likely that a ton of people will fault you for being asleep.
Because, you see, in this paragraph it sure sounds like you’re suggesting that teenagers who live in a community with “rough patches,” teenagers who push or scuffle with others, teenagers who write rap lyrics that are vulgar, teenagers who dabble in drugs and alcohol … well, those are teenagers whose deaths at the hands of the police we can somehow understand.
But, really, when an unarmed teenager is shot six times by a police officer after being stopped for walking in the street in a residential area, all the explanations about his behavior (which, if we’re being honest, is pretty much exactly the sort of behavior that goes hand-in-hand with being a teenager) are just post hoc justifications for overzealous, racially-charged policing.

LTMC: What a lot of people don’t realize is that you could write a similar summary of just about anyone’s life.  I’ve “dabbled in drugs an alcohol,” I’ve been in fights with other kids, and while I’ve never allegedly been “caught on a security camera” stealing cigars, in my youth I did steal the occasional candy bar from the corner store.  This was all true before I turned 18.  I went on to graduate with honors from a large university, followed by graduating with honors from law school and becoming an attorney.  It is incredibly dumb and misguided to summarize a person’s value as a human being by only recounting the mistakes they may have made as a teenager.

kohenari:

If you ever find yourself tempted to write something like this for the New York Times, just go back to bed. It’s far more productive for you to be sleeping than to publish something like this. And it’s far, far less likely that a ton of people will fault you for being asleep.

Because, you see, in this paragraph it sure sounds like you’re suggesting that teenagers who live in a community with “rough patches,” teenagers who push or scuffle with others, teenagers who write rap lyrics that are vulgar, teenagers who dabble in drugs and alcohol … well, those are teenagers whose deaths at the hands of the police we can somehow understand.

But, really, when an unarmed teenager is shot six times by a police officer after being stopped for walking in the street in a residential area, all the explanations about his behavior (which, if we’re being honest, is pretty much exactly the sort of behavior that goes hand-in-hand with being a teenager) are just post hoc justifications for overzealous, racially-charged policing.

LTMC: What a lot of people don’t realize is that you could write a similar summary of just about anyone’s life.  I’ve “dabbled in drugs an alcohol,” I’ve been in fights with other kids, and while I’ve never allegedly been “caught on a security camera” stealing cigars, in my youth I did steal the occasional candy bar from the corner store.  This was all true before I turned 18.  I went on to graduate with honors from a large university, followed by graduating with honors from law school and becoming an attorney.  It is incredibly dumb and misguided to summarize a person’s value as a human being by only recounting the mistakes they may have made as a teenager.

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