Patterico's Pontifications

7/29/2009

Balko Utterly Demolishes a Few Arguments that Jack Dunphy and I Never Made

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:43 pm

Radley Balko is a smart man who sometimes makes apparently telling points about police misconduct. Yet whenever I read a Balko rebuttal to one of my pieces of writing, I find myself rubbing my eyes in amazement — because the argument Balko accuses me of making bears only a faint resemblance to the argument I actually made.

This trend continues today with a Balko-penned blog post at Reason that purports to respond to arguments made by myself and Jack Dunphy. I say “purports” because in nearly every instance, Balko fails to grapple with the actual arguments made by Jack and myself. Instead, Balko valiantly lays waste to arguments that are made to appear as if they originated with Jack and myself, but which in reality came to life only in Balko’s imagination.

For example, Balko says:

Patterico and Dunphy argue that Dunphy’s “lesson” here applies only to the specifics of his hypothetical—that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police. I can’t speak for Doherty, but I stand by my original characterization of Dunphy’s post, for several reasons.

First, if this was Dunphy’s point, it’s unclear why he would invoke it in response to the Gates case, where there was no armed robbery, no getaway car, and no specific description of any unusual characteristics. Either he meant for his “lesson” to be applied more broadly, or his entire post was a red herring.

Second, as emphasized in the excerpt above (a portion that Patterico neglected to include in his post) Dunphy explicitly sets up the hypothetical by stating that its lesson should be taken to heart by “anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer.” In other words, not just people driving 1932 Hupmobiles.

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

I was befuddled by the accusation that I had omitted Dunphy’s phrase “anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer.” After rubbing my eyes, I clicked on the link that Balko provided for my post, and was not especially surprised to see the very language Balko had accused me of omitting:

Balko Wrong Yet Again

Having established that Balko is sloppy with his facts, let me clear away some of the underbrush before I proceed further, by making two or three points in as clear a fashion as I know how:

  • Dunphy and I are not defending the arrest of Gates. Any argument that suggests we are, is a misleading argument.

    I have called the arrest an “inappropriate” action by “an offended cop who got high on his own authority and sense of outrage.” In a milder rebuke, Dunphy has called the arrest “imprudent.” It should be clear: Dunphy’s hypothetical is not designed to justify the arrest; rather, it addresses both parties’ behavior before the arrest.

  • Dunphy is not advocating unreasonable searches by cops, nor is he criticizing citizens who resist clearly unlawful searches or seizures. Any argument that suggests he is, is a misleading argument.

    In Dunphy’s Hupmobile hypothetical, the officer is acting legally. One of the points made by Dunphy’s hypothetical is that a cop can behave perfectly reasonably and legally, even when he is detaining, searching, or giving commands to a completely innocent person. The law is clear: a police officer may forcibly detain a citizen whom the officer reasonably suspects is guilty of a crime — and if the officer acts with reasonable suspicion, the officer’s action is legal even if that citizen later proves to be completely innocent. The point of Dunphy’s hypothetical with a comically named and absurdly rare car is to illustrate, in an exaggerated manner, a stop of an innocent person that is undoubtedly legally justified. (The fact that some real-world stops may also be justified, but less obviously so, does not render the hypothetical inapt; hypotheticals are generated to illustrate basic principles, which often must be applied to real-world situations that are less clear.)

  • Dunphy never said that “running your mouth” or “asserting your rights” alone might get you shot. Any argument that suggests he said that, is a misleading argument.

    He said that, in a situation where the officer reasonably suspects you of being an armed criminal, failing to obey the officer’s lawful orders may get you shot. Those lawful orders will likely include commands to a) raise your hands; b) get your hands out of your pockets; c) exit a car or house; d) lie on the ground — and so forth. If a citizen operates under the misconception that, because he is guilty of no wrongdoing, he is constitutionally free to ignore the officer’s commands and go about his business, he runs a serious risk of making some motion that the officer interprets as threatening. And the citizen may well find himself full of holes.

With these principles in mind, let us now turn back to Balko’s rebuttal:

Patterico and Dunphy argue that Dunphy’s “lesson” here applies only to the specifics of his hypothetical—that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police. I can’t speak for Doherty, but I stand by my original characterization of Dunphy’s post, for several reasons.

First, if this was Dunphy’s point, it’s unclear why he would invoke it in response to the Gates case, where there was no armed robbery, no getaway car, and no specific description of any unusual characteristics. Either he meant for his “lesson” to be applied more broadly, or his entire post was a red herring.

Let me explain to Radley Balko how an analogy works. An analogy is designed to illlustrate a principle. It is a fallacious attack on an analogy to assert that there are specific characteristics of the analogy that are not present in the real-life example that the analogy is designed to illuminate. The question is whether the principle illustrated by the analogy is applicable.

Here, Dunphy constructed an analogy to illustrate the principle that citizens should realize that, while they may be completely innocent, they may be approached by an officer who, unbeknownst to the citizen, suspects them of a serious crime. (In the Hupmobile example, the serious crime is an armed robbery. In the Gates scenario, it is home burglary.) Citizens should keep that in mind, and should not get offended when the officer treats them as a potential suspect. (The Hupmobile driver should not get huffy and disobey commands to get his hands in the air, since the police officer reasonably fears he may be armed; Gates should not have gotten upset at the officer for following him into his home, as the officer may have reasonably feared that Gates was arming himself.) Jack’s analogy entertainingly illustrates, not that the arrest of Gates was proper (remember, we’re not saying that!), but that the officer acted reasonably in ordering/asking Gates out of his home, and in following Gates into his home — when Gates, a possible burglar, refused to exit, and walked deeper into the house to obtain an ID (or, for all the officer knew, a gun).

So, yes: Dunphy certainly intended for his analogy to be applied more broadly. But that doesn’t mean he was saying the Gates arrest was justified, or that the Gates scenario involved a Hupmobile or anything like that. It was an analogy, and it made a good point, as any rational and unbiased observer can plainly see.

However, it is part of the nature of analogies that, when they are offered to people who refuse to be convinced, those people will inevitably resort to fallacious attacks on the analogy — because, to people not paying close attention, those fallacious attacks sound convincing. “Obama can’t be analogized to President Carter, because Obama is neither from Georgia nor a peanut farmer! Game, set, and match!”) Such fallacious attacks are what Balko is employing when he spuriously notes that in the Gates situation “there was no armed robbery, no getaway car, and no specific description of any unusual characteristics” (well, other than the fact that a possible burglar was seen entering Gates’s home, and the officer soon thereafter confronted a man inside Gates’s home, which actually is a fairly specific description of unusual characteristics that are not shared by anyone else in the world who is not in Gates’s home).

Balko argues:

Dunphy was responding negatively to the idea that the “teachable moment” in all of this ought to be for the police to be more cognizant of our rights, and not make rash arrests or employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn’t play a role in the Gates arrest). Dunphy’s counter to that sentiment clearly seems to be that if there’s a lesson in the Gates arrest, it isn’t for cops, it’s for everyone else, and the lesson is to avoid “running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression” when you’ve been confronted by a police officer.

Once again, I find myself rubbing my eyes as I find the argument described to be different from the argument actually advanced. The lesson, to repeat myself yet again, is to understand that even if you’re innocent, the officer may reasonably suspect you of a horrible crime, and if you “fail to do as the officer asks” in such a highly charged situation, you could get hurt rather badly or killed.

It is, I repeat, a rank distortion for Balko to twist this common-sense lesson into a claim that “anyone who asserts his constitutional rights when confronted by a police officer risks getting shot.” It is an even worse distortion for Doherty to claim that Dunphy said “running your mouth about your rights can get you shot.” Again, the specific hypothetical about getting shot relates specifically to a citizen who “fail[s] to do as the officer asks” when he is suspected of being an armed felon. And (remember about analogies) the broader lesson that every citizen should learn is that, like Gates, you may be utterly innocent and still be (reasonably and legally!) treated as a suspect.

It is the legality of the officer’s actions that Balko seems to misunderstand when he argues:

[E]ven within Dunphy’s hypothetical, the innocent driver of the Hupmobile has no idea why he has been pulled over. He doesn’t know about the armed robbery, or that the getaway car resembles his own car. This is precisely Dunphy’s point. He’s arguing that you can’t possibly know what’s going on in a police officer’s head when he stops you or confronts you. You can’t know what circumstances led him to stop you. So you’d best just shut up and submit, even [if] he asks you to do something that you aren’t obligated to do under the Constitution.

No, no, a thousand times, no! Revisit my second bullet point at the outset of this post. The officer in the Hupmobile example is asking for something that the driver/citizen IS obligated to do: namely, comply with his lawful demands while he investigates the driver as a possible criminal suspect. As I noted this morning, failure to comply with the officer’s demands in such a situation is not your constitutional right. Let me say that again: failure to comply with the officer’s demands in such a situation is not your constitutional right. In fact, it could get you arrested and prosecuted. (And, as Dunphy notes, it could even get you shot — if your cavalier dismissal of the officer’s commands is accompanied by a gesture that could be interpreted as threatening . . . something that may well happen if you think you have the constitutional right to do any goddamned thing you want in such a situation.) Dunphy makes no argument that assumes unlawful behavior on the part of the cop — and Balko’s suggestion otherwise is the clearest indication that Balko doesn’t really understand Dunphy’s argument.

This post is for about 1% of you. Rabid Patterico fans already understood everything I just said. Rabid Balko fans are likely to do the Internet Dance and employ every fallacious argument in the book to attack my post. Nevertheless, for a small handful of you with open minds, I felt the need to make these points.

Also, I wanted to point out Balko’s clear and undeniable error in accusing me of omitting a passage that I did not omit. I’m sure he’ll be correcting that with his usual speed and lack of accompanying grumbling.

183 Responses to “Balko Utterly Demolishes a Few Arguments that Jack Dunphy and I Never Made”

  1. Long post, but this part jumped out at me.

    He said that, in a situation where the officer reasonably suspects you of being an armed criminal, failing to obey the officer’s lawful orders may get you shot.

    Where did Dumphry specify that the officers directions were lawful?

    he said

    “And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.”

    There’s an ocean of distance between “what the office asks.” and “a lawful order”.

    It seems plausible to me that a police officer or a prosecutor would assume that the officer would be asking for the detainee to do things that are required by law. But this is not clearly stated.

    So am I in danger of getting shot if I object when the police give me an unlawful order that violates my rights? Yes. Should I be? No.

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  2. I think I’m going to comment on this in small bites.

    Dunphy and I are not defending the arrest of Gates. Any argument that suggests we are, is a misleading argument.

    No, but it seems clear to me that Dunphy is criticizing people who are upset by the arrest and looking for defend the police in this matter. This is based on many of the comments he’s made on this matter. There’s clearly a distinction to be made between this and defending the arrest, but there’s not a vast difference between the two positions in my opinion.

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  3. Joe, you are continuing the practice of missing the point compounded by making up stuff and claiming its what Pat/Dunphy wrote.

    In the scenario that Dunphy wrote, the orders he discussed were lawful.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. It seems plausible to me that a police officer or a prosecutor would assume that the officer would be asking for the detainee to do things that are required by law. But this is not clearly stated.

    I’ll do you one better. It is reasonable for any sane person, or a person with more than 3 working brain cells, to assume tha the officer would be asking for the detainee to do things that are requires by law.

    Balko fails on both counts. If the man didn’t have logical fallacies to use, he wouldn’t ever have anything to post.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  5. the “teachable moment” in all of this ought to be for the police to be more cognizant of our rights

    That’s goofy. The teachable moment in all this is what we can learn about the Barack Obama White House’s damage control instincts and acumen.

    So far it’s really really lame as theater generally and painfully awkward as racial theater specifically. Think NPR After School Special meets a very special episode of Family Matters.

    happyfeet (42470c)

  6. Here, Dunphy constructed an analogy to illustrate the principle that citizens should realize that, while they may be completely innocent, they may be approached by an officer who, unbeknownst to the citizen, suspects them of a serious crime. (In the Hupmobile example, the serious crime is an armed robbery. In the Gates scenario, it is home burglary.) Citizens should keep that in mind, and should not get offended when the officer treats them as a potential suspect. (The Hupmobile driver should not get huffy and disobey commands to get his hands in the air, since the police officer reasonably fears he may be armed; Gates should not have gotten upset at the officer for following him into his home, as the officer may have reasonably feared that Gates was arming himself.) Jack’s analogy entertainingly illustrates, not that the arrest of Gates was proper (remember, we’re not saying that!), but that the officer acted reasonably in ordering/asking Gates out of his home, and in following Gates into his home — when Gates, a possible burglar, refused to exit, and walked deeper into the house to obtain an ID (or, for all the officer knew, a gun).

    Three comments on this.

    The first is that if the officer did fear that Gates was arming himself I’d expect that to be in the officer’s statement. It wasn’t so I assume he had no such concern. Maybe this information will come out. If it does I’ll reconsider my opinion. But it hasn’t yet, and would have made the officer’s case much stronger so think it’s reasonable to assume it’s not there.

    My second comment is that you and I have assumed different motives on the part of Dunphry. You know him so I’ll assume you guess at his motives is better than mine. But my initial thought was that this analogy was spun to imply that Gates should be grateful he wasn’t shot.

    My third comment is that no one is complaining about the police detaining people and treating them like they are potentially dangerous criminals because they’re driving rare cars that were associated with a specific crime. People are complaining about the police detaining and treating people like they are potentially dangerous criminals when they’re black. You said elsewhere that the question is whether the principle illustrated by the analogy is applicable. I think that’s incomplete. The question is HOW relevant the analogy is. This analogy, if read strictly free of context is pretty trivial. To me it seems reasonable to assume that Dunphry intended the analogy to be read in the context of current events. Since this has been stated to not be the case, what’s his point?

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  7. It is much easier to argue against positions you wish someone had taken, or positions that you ascribe to them, as opposed to their actual positions. Take the angry angry pessimist, Balko, Rich the lying liar Puchalsky, and Karl not really a pron name Steel as object lessons.

    JD (46cf2b)

  8. SPQR, please quote me where Jack gave specific orders, or specified that the orders to be given would be lawful.

    Scott, I’ll bet you can find many many cases of an officer giving an unlawful order in about 20 minutes on google. Why don’t you give that a shot and rethink your statement?

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  9. The first is that if the officer did fear that Gates was arming himself I’d expect that to be in the officer’s statement. It wasn’t so I assume he had no such concern. Maybe this information will come out. If it does I’ll reconsider my opinion. But it hasn’t yet, and would have made the officer’s case much stronger so think it’s reasonable to assume it’s not there.

    I’m sure he would have included it, if he had felt the need to justify entering Gates’s home.

    My second comment is that you and I have assumed different motives on the part of Dunphry. You know him so I’ll assume you guess at his motives is better than mine. But my initial thought was that this analogy was spun to imply that Gates should be grateful he wasn’t shot.

    It’s always easier to get mad at someone when you get mad at what they didn’t say, as opposed to what they did.

    My third comment is that no one is complaining about the police detaining people and treating them like they are potentially dangerous criminals because they’re driving rare cars that were associated with a specific crime. People are complaining about the police detaining and treating people like they are potentially dangerous criminals when they’re black. You said elsewhere that the question is whether the principle illustrated by the analogy is applicable. I think that’s incomplete. The question is HOW relevant the analogy is. This analogy, if read strictly free of context is pretty trivial. To me it seems reasonable to assume that Dunphry intended the analogy to be read in the context of current events. Since this has been stated to not be the case, what’s his point?

    In light of your last sentence, I think you need to re-read the post. I know it’s long, but if you’re going to comment and ask me questions, PLEASE do me the courtesy of first understanding my position. That way you won’t waste my time by forcing me to correct your misstatements of my position.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  10. SPQR, please quote me where Jack gave specific orders, or specified that the orders to be given would be lawful.

    Hypo:

    Jack Dunphy tells a story in which a robber points a gun at a storeowner, and the storeowner responds by shooting the robber to death.

    Patterico describes this as Dunphy’s tale about a lawful shooting.

    Joe complains that Dunphy never used the word lawful, and haughtily demands a quote that includes that word.

    That’s a pretty good analogy for what you’re doing here, Joe.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  11. The courts require an officer to have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ the person committed a crime to stop and detain that person, and possibly frisk. Not ‘probable cause [needed to arrest]. Not ‘preponderance of the evidence’ [needed to hold for trial]. Not ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ [needed to convict]. Just a ‘reasonable suspicion’. So, when the report of a crime is made, or alert broadcast, anyone matching the description of the suspect[s] could be lawfully stopped by the police. And if you didn’t do the reported crime, you’d still be lawfully stopped. And if you didn’t do the original offense, but are committing a new one [have a sawed off shotgun in plain sight, etc], you can get arrested for that crime and the chances are pretty slim you’d get out of your charge just because you were unlucky enough to match a description of somebody else. That is why the stop in Jack’s hypo is legal. you may be 100% innocent of everything but having bad luck could cause things to end very badly for you. Your heirs may even have a pretty good civil claim too.

    rfy (856db5)

  12. rfy gets it.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  13. I’m very disappointed that Radley decided to double down on his slur against Dunphy.

    And it seems to me that Radley has gotten more vitriolic over the last few years towards conservatives and Republicans. Does anyone else think so? Perhaps Radley suffers from BDS?

    Brad (e542a0)

  14. I give up. Libertarians seem incapable of logical activity such as analogy and comparison. It’s all concrete thinking and there is a diagnosis for this.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  15. Scott, I’ll bet you can find many many cases of an officer giving an unlawful order in about 20 minutes on google. Why don’t you give that a shot and rethink your statement?

    You’re a bit dense, aren’t you.

    You think those items I would find are actually the norm, as opposed to outliers.

    I almost gave you the benefit of the doubt regarding your first post because, technically, you were right. He didn’t specify that there were lawful orders given.

    But now I see that you’re actually kind of stupid, and miss the point entirely.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  16. Libertarians seem incapable of logical activity such as analogy and comparison.

    I beg your pardon? :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  17. I’m surprised none of Dunphy, Balko or Patterico have cited the leading case on th limits of lawful police demands during valid investigations: Hilbel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, a 2004 SCOTUS decision of a type we know well: 5-4 with a Kennedy majority opinion.

    The opinion involved an arrest of an innocent passerby who refused to identify himself to an officer investigating a report of an altercation. Nevada, like 23 other states, has a law requiring persons to identify themselves if lawfully stopped.

    The question was whether this law was constitutional and the answer was “yes”.

    This case sets the a standard of constitutionality for obeying police commands related to bona fide investigations that will be very hard to beat unless the command is to acquiesce or cooperate with an illegal search, seizure, or interrogation.

    Now in the Hupmobile hypothetical, Dunphy was engaging in some slovenly argument; those circumstances don’t directly merit shooting the disputatious but otherwise law-abiding pilot of the Hupmobile. But it will lead to a valid arrest, which if forcefully resisted could lead to valid use of force by the officer. The argument of Dunphy would be less inflammatory and legally superior if the intermediate step had not been omitted.

    Cyrus Sanai (ada6da)

  18. Now in the Hupmobile hypothetical, Dunphy was engaging in some slovenly argument; those circumstances don’t directly merit shooting the disputatious but otherwise law-abiding pilot of the Hupmobile.

    Unless upon being stopped you throw open then car door and storm up at the cruiser, pounding on your chest and shouting unflattering comments and queries towards the officer.

    Might not get you shot right away, but keep it up and see what happens.

    Me? I just sit in the car and speak politely to the officer. I’ve gotten out of tickets because I was polite to the Officer.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  19. It was my impression that one had better do everything one can do to cooperate with the police when they are investigating a crime. This Gates did not do.

    The “Libertarian” comments here are not intended to clarify the issue of whenever Gates acted properly or Gates acted in a reasonable matter so much as to muddy the waters and confuse the issues at hand.

    I am unaware of the police ever having told me that an order I received was a “legal” one or a “lawful” one. I suspect no other reader has had such an experience either. An order to a mob to disperse isn’t prefaced with a citation of the law, nor are police checkpoints for criminal suspects explained in such a manner although the purpose of the stop is.

    Officer Gates did exactly this to Gates. His ractions are not one who wished to cooperate but rather those of an individual who wished to incite an incident.

    The only question was why he wasn’t charged with obstruction of a criminal investigation.

    As for the continued misrepresentation of ideas by the Left isn’t this the standard method of those who cannot win on the merits of their case or on the facts of the case? They distort through ommission or the use of strawmen. This is a cynical and calculated method to hide their repugnant and bombastic positions.

    Such individuals are distinguished by their impertinent droningm liberal sanctimony, and mendacious crescendoes parsing words taken out of context.

    These people are described in Isiash 5:20-23.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  20. Joe is clearly a member of that 1% to which Patterico referred.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  21. That settles it. I’m selling my Hupmobile…

    Gazzer (409de8)

  22. JD,

    One of the chuckleheads at Balko’s site wrote:

    I did like how (according to them) it was “very telling” that Radley had not responded to Patterico’s post within 20 minutes of it being published.

    The comment’s approval rating currently stands at +12. So that’s at least 13 people unaware of what you’re talking about.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  23. And then there’s this not-so-veiled threat:

    Many people have noticed that “Jack Dunphy” seems to be a loose cannon and the public would probably be better served if he were confined to a desk job and out of harms way.

    One wonders about an assistant DA approving of Dunphy’s post, though. I wonder what kind of job the LA district attorney’s office does in protecting citizens from rogue cops. Might be an interesting subject for an intrepid journalist.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  24. Did that Angry Optimist character take his ball and go home or is he still pouting over at Balko’s?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  25. Tells you something about the mentality of the people there, don’t it?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  26. Did that Angry Optimist character take his ball and go home or is he still pouting over at Balko’s?

    At Hit and Run he accused me and Dunphy of dishonesty and “letting the mask slip.” All because he was too fucking dense to understand an analogy.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  27. Patterico – The last time you pantsed Balko if I recall correctly was over the appeal of person convicted for the murder of little girl where dental impressions were a critical part of the testimony according to Radley. Radley conveniently left out a whole parcel of significant facts from his description of the case, which you helpfully provided in your posts. What he left out surprisingly made his arguments look weaker, which he has a habit of doing.

    He indicated he was going to revise his article based on your posts. Did that ever happen?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  28. Ah, Patterico. TAO was only posting to insult and stir the pot. C’mon. He came out of the box with that approach.

    Just more Bong Patrol stuff. He is of the Aleister Crowley wing of the Libertarian Party: “...Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law..”

    Hence the Godwin-ization of opponents.

    And I think he was being intentionally over the top, again for effect.

    Eric Blair (204104)

  29. Dunphy – though never purporting to speak for other cops or the LAPD – has his views linked and re-linked so often he’s become an archetypal proxy, a universal LE touchstone.

    I know a force one tenth the size of LAs with five officers interacting with civilians on an internet forum. Using screenames, they disagree with each other, sometimes heatedly. Very didactic stuff. Case-by-case dissections.

    I take it Pat’s around LA cops a lot. Is “Jack Dunphy” a prototype, middleman or media buff? You know him?

    steve (09b562)

  30. daleyrocks,

    That article about the murder of the little girl was about the first time in history that Radley didn’t immediately respond to a post where I criticized him. I even had some fun mocking Steve Verdon over how long it was taking Balko to respond — and he never did.

    Am I wrong to take his silence as an admission that I made several telling points that he couldn’t refute?

    I thought maybe he had adopted a policy of ignoring me entirely, but this imbroglio proves that’s not true. So why the utter silence on my criticisms of his Jimmie Duncan article?

    Perhaps he’ll weigh in here . . .

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  31. Oh: I don’t think he ever said he was going to revise his article based on my post. He did publish a longer article that still left out much of the evidence readers needed for the full picture. I criticized the full article as well, and was again met with uncharacteristic silence from Balko.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  32. I know Dunphy. He’s a real LAPD cop. And a good one.

    I don’t know him through work. I met him because of the blog.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  33. Steve,

    Would you provide a link to that site? Sounds interesting.

    fat tony (3164f4)

  34. It seems pretty clear that either,

    A) Balko isn’t really all that bright, or

    B) Balko is being deliberately obtuse and thus intellectually dishonest.

    His choice.

    Rich Horton (99f6d9)

  35. Here’s my concern: It is certainly true that the police officer giving orders may (perhaps almost certainly) have legitimate reasons to give you orders, and given those reasons you are obligated to obey. However, it is also certainly true that at least sometimes the police overreach their authority and give orders when not warranted. If the maxim is “always follow orders no matter what because you can’t know the reason why” what is the check against the (hopefully rare) case of an officer giving orders without justification? If no one ever says “hey officer, is this really necessary?” then a lack of even reasonable cause for suspicion will never come to light.

    Scipio (7315a6)

  36. what is the check against the (hopefully rare) case of an officer giving orders without justification?

    Your day in court, where the officer’s actions will be viewed under the law.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  37. That only works if a case goes to court. In the Gates case, (or in less public ones of the same sort) the officer’s actions would not be subject to review.

    Seattle Slew (e9f1c0)

  38. Sorry. I’m new to this. My was responding to Scott with #37.

    Seattle Slew (e9f1c0)

  39. Section 1983, other cops, luck.

    At the end of the day, though, it’s true that we place a lot of trust in our police to do a very tough job without making too many mistakes.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  40. Seattle Slew,

    I think there are several methods of review. An aggrieved party could not only file a lawsuit but could also file local/state/federal complaints and pursue any concerns with the media the way Gates did. The police may have more power than the average person (as well as more responsibility — you and I can walk away from trouble but the police can’t), but they can also be subject to greater scrutiny.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  41. On topic:
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    The rest:

    The rule of “reasonable suspicion” is one of the most precious things we put in the hands of the police. We depend on their good judgement, honesty, fairness, and integrity… their ability absorb and distill reason.

    Reasonability. Great word(s)

    Some cops are not up to the trust and are always suspicious and never reasonable.
    Hopefully these types don’t last more than 5 years in the job, but they are out there on the streets right now operating with rote ability to reason.

    I guess what I am saying is that “reasonable suspicion” is only as good as the officer.

    Most PD’s have done a good to great job at training for reason, but the job still attracts more than its share of formulaic A+B=C types.

    A cop with good interpersonal skills can really make or break a reasonable suspicion incident where the suspicion turns out incorrect.
    My default mindset is that cops are are self aggregating, insular, impersonal, former hall monitors who care nothing for the public, but who live for the rules… and I’m just getting warmed up… but I can be won over by sincere acts of graciousness and will move psychologically alongside the officer

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  42. That only works if a case goes to court.

    If it does not go to court, then little has been done to damage your liberties, no?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  43. “My third comment is that no one is complaining about the police detaining people and treating them like they are potentially dangerous criminals because they’re driving rare cars that were associated with a specific crime. People are complaining about the police detaining and treating people like they are potentially dangerous criminals when they’re black”

    The rare nature of the car involved can help the officer narrow down the suspect, almost to a statistical certainty. Although the suspect in Dunphy’s scenario WAS innocent (and driving the same car in an INCREDIBLE coincidence), for all intents and purposes, the officer has to approach him as if he WERE the suspect, because the chances that another person might be driving that exact rare car (which I assume is almost a collector’s item) in the SAME neighborhood where the crime occured, is reasonably impossible.

    Let’s say the general description of a suspect is “black, around 6 ft tall, and wearing a sports jersey”. Well, that potentially covers the description of a lot of black people. A police officer on duty has no reason to be on guard against random people whose everyday attire might match that of a dangerous criminal.

    But what if, say, the description was “black, around 6 ft tall, wearing a sports jersey, AND HAS A BUTTERFLY TATTOO ON HIS RIGHT CHEEK AND MISSING HIS LEFT INDEX FINGER.” The last two details are such a unique, distinguishable traits that a police officer officer who finds an individual fitting all of the above near the crime scene has to assume that he’s found the suspect.

    Again, at person might be innocent, someone who unluckily matches every single detail of a dangerous criminal. But that’s irrelevant for the approaching officer. He can’t possibly know until he investigates further.

    lee (86706b)

  44. “Here’s my concern: It is certainly true that the police officer giving orders may (perhaps almost certainly) have legitimate reasons to give you orders, and given those reasons you are obligated to obey. However, it is also certainly true that at least sometimes the police overreach their authority and give orders when not warranted. If the maxim is “always follow orders no matter what because you can’t know the reason why” what is the check against the (hopefully rare) case of an officer giving orders without justification? If no one ever says “hey officer, is this really necessary?” then a lack of even reasonable cause for suspicion will never come to light.”

    I think that’s something to consider. I was once stopped by a cop (speeding) who asked me if I could speak English. Nothing came out of it, but I often wondered if that was proper protocol.

    I guess the flip side is, if the citizenry enjoyed the power to rebuff police officers based soley on their interpretation of the event (“I don’t FEEL like cooperating with you, because I haven’t done anything wrong / what you’re doing is unconstitutional / this is racial profiling) how can anyone keep law and order? And this assumes the person is knowledgeable about criminal justice and such to even make such argument. I certainly don’t know everything.

    As far as I know (I could be wrong), I can demand the officer show warrants for searching my property, I can ask for the officer’s name and badge number, request informations about that officer’s record to the department, and I don’t have to answer questions about certain private informantion (my sexual orientation, etc).

    lee (86706b)

  45. I dunno… seems like a house on XXX Blabla street is even more rare than that car is.

    So the situation certainly isn’t completely parallel, but the occupants of that house were suspicious for occupying a house that just got broken into.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  46. Patterico, this is a much more nuanced and detailed discussion of your position and I appreciate it. I especially appreciate the link back where you state that in your opinion the arrest was inappropriate. It’s nice to see that we can agree on that.

    I think where some of the kickback is coming from is a disagreement on the definitions of certain words. The reason I say this is a reference at the very end of this long and well written post: ““fail[s] to do as the officer asks”.

    I understand from your argument that when you use the word “ask” in this context, that you really mean “order”. For many libertarians, however, there is a very large distinction between the two words. For us, the two words mean something very different because many times officers conflate the two by asking for things that sound like orders. Sometimes “do you mind stepping out of the vehicle, sir” is actually an order and the officer is just being polite. Other times, it’s just a request that you are not bound to honor. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the citizen to tell which is which, and officers can be ambiguous about it because it can help in court — a request and voluntary compliance is almost never (I’d say never, but I suspect someone would prove me wrong) a violation of your rights, but an unlawful order can get a case thrown out.

    The other problem for us is that often when we ask for clarification — “is this a request, officer, or an order” — we’re popped for Contempt of Cop. So, to many of us, the words need to be said specifically so we can understand what’s being discussed. In your world view, the words essentially mean the same, and “ask” often means “order”, and thus the confusion arises. I’m also starting to see that perhaps the conflation of the two is perhaps not intentional and is probably not readily apparent to someone on the other side of the fence.

    I think we can all agree that when an officer is ordering you to do something, it is often in your best interests to comply with those orders (an officer ordering you to get in your car and drive off when you have been drinking may be an order you might not want to follow), and not doing so could lead to adverse consequences — even if those orders are unlawful and unconstitutional. But at the same time, you aren’t obligated to comply with any requests and you don’t have to answer any questions other than identifying yourself and not doing so shouldn’t result in retaliatory actions by the officer.

    I hope this helps you see a little bit of the other side and will consider what I’ve said.

    jmc (ceabec)

  47. So am I in danger of getting shot if I object when the police give me an unlawful order that violates my rights? Yes. Should I be? No.

    There is rarely any way for John Q. Public, confronted by Officer Friendly, to know then and there whether Officer Friendly’s orders are lawful or unlawful. Maybe Officer Friendly is having a bad day; but maybe he’s bracing John based on reasonable suspicion.

    This is why John’s remedy is almost never resistance or defiance, and almost always polite cooperation accompanied by a stated reservation of rights, followed by a civil claim.

    That was Dunphy’s point. There’s an appropriate place for arguing with the authorities over the finer points of Fourth and Fifth Amendment law. It’s called a courtroom. Do what the man with the gun says, for now, and vindicate your rights later.

    BC (a23a51)

  48. Nice job, Patterico. I’m glad you took the time to clarify what Dunphy was trying to express. It makes more sense and is clearer now. I explained the context of my original posting you deleted in my email to you and on Reason. Nobody wants to believe that a cop is ready to pop you on the spot just for stopping you in the act of doing his job, which is something all of us want to believe is the very last option.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  49. jmc — as another veteran of this field, I think your post really demonstrates a dangerous habit of libertarians to over-think these kinds of situations. The idea that you would even think that a mere expression of politeness — couching a direction in the form of a request (“order” v. “ask”) — might really be a conflagration with a sinister motive, leaves me simply scratching my head.

    What’s really at issue here is a willingness of citizens in a society of laws to cooperate with the public officials entrusted by the polity with the duty to see that those laws are obeyed.

    With 30 years of exposure to this field, including interactions with law enforcement officers from dozens of different agencies at the local, state, federal, and international level, I can confidently state that if you simply give the officer the opportunity to quickly evaluate what, up to that moment of first contact, are largely unknown facts and circumstances to him, he or she will gladly provide you with an explanation of all the reasons why it was necessary for him/her to interrupt you in the conduct of your affairs.

    But, when the first reaction is the challenge him/her, and prevent him/her from quickly evaluating those unknown circumstances — who are you, do you live here, is there something you can show me that proves that, etc., — you NEEDLESSLY make his/her job more difficult and stressful.

    So the libertarian makes the judgment “I’m right, the cop is wrong, I’m going to assert my constitutional rights and not cooperate” while possessing all the necessary information — the libertarian knows his or her own name, knows they reside at the address in question, and know that their driver’s license shows that to be the case — and thus deprives the officer of quickly evaluating the facts and bringing the encounter to a close.

    Whatever the officer did wrong in the Gates case, his conduct all resulted from an unwillingness by Gates to simply and quickly allow the officer to discover the facts he needed to discover to resolve what, for the officer, was an unknown situation when he arrived at Gates’ residence.

    It doesn’t require genuflection — it just requires courtesy.

    WLS Shipwrecked (585a41)

  50. SPQR, please quote me where Jack gave specific orders, or specified that the orders to be given would be lawful.

    Hypo:

    Jack Dunphy tells a story in which a robber points a gun at a storeowner, and the storeowner responds by shooting the robber to death.

    Patterico describes this as Dunphy’s tale about a lawful shooting.

    Joe complains that Dunphy never used the word lawful, and haughtily demands a quote that includes that word.

    That’s a pretty good analogy for what you’re doing here, Joe.

    “Lawful” would be the conclusion. If that was the story it would be hard to debate.

    Let me rewrite it a little to try and show you what I’m getting at

    Hypo:

    Jack Dunphy tells a story in which a man points a gun at another man and the first man responds by shooting the second man to death.

    Patterico says this it’s lawful to shoot when in fear for your life. Joe says fear was not included.

    I’ll also point out that jack DIDN’T say:

    Refuse to do as the officer asks and you’ll get arrested.

    or

    Threaten the officer in any way and they’ll use force.

    He said refuse to do as the officer ask and you could be shot.

    If they ask a woman to show their boobs? If they ask the driver to answer a question that might incriminate themselves? If the stop has involved 2 hours of me sitting there road side while the cop sits in his patrol car? If for some silly reason the driver decides that they’re going to sit mute and still? The officer might still shoot them?

    Here’s the key part of the analogy:

    And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

    You seem to be assuming the officer only asks me do things required by law. My first read was that I was refusing to do things because I had a constitutional right NOT to do them.

    Do I have this right? Your assumption is: “The police wouldn’t ask you do that wasn’t a lawful order during a clean stop.”?

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  51. Also, I wanted to point out Balko’s clear and undeniable error in accusing me of omitting a passage that I did not omit.

    Very True.

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  52. I still think Chris Rock’s video should be required viewing.

    Supposedly Dillinger said “You can get more with kind words and a gun than with just kind words.”

    Common sense dictates that when confronted with authority backed by the potential threat of deadly force, you comply.

    That being said, if an officer asks you for ID, it should be no big deal. If he asks if he may search your car, tell him to get a warrant.

    In the first case, he is only trying to get the facts of what is happening. In the second, he is trying to make a case against you. It is wise to be wary.

    Dr. K (eca563)

  53. In response to Joe’s statement: “The first is that if the officer did fear that Gates was arming himself I’d expect that to be in the officer’s statement. It wasn’t so I assume he had no such concern. Maybe this information will come out. If it does I’ll reconsider my opinion. But it hasn’t yet, and would have made the officer’s case much stronger so think it’s reasonable to assume it’s not there.”

    No it is not reasonable to ‘assume’ that. All you do is make an ass out of U.
    The officer also didn’t state in his report that Gates had a respiratory rate of 20 times a minute. Does this mean that the professor wasn’t breathing? Duhhhhhhh-NO!!!!!!! In police reports you don’t necessarily have to state the obvious, otherwise, reports would end up being book length! It is known by all reasonable parties, defense attorney, DA, other officers reading the report, that the reason you follow a possible suspect into the house is to insure that he doesn’t arm himself; be it with a knife, gun, grenade launcher, blunt object, or ANY OTHER DAMN THING HE IS INVENTIVE ENOUGH TO THINK OF!!!!!! Or escape out the back door. The officer must maintain control of the suspect at all times for his safety. See Terry v. Ohio. Quit being so fucking obtuse.

    You also state, “If they ask a woman to show their boobs? If they ask the driver to answer a question that might incriminate themselves? If the stop has involved 2 hours of me sitting there road side while the cop sits in his patrol car? If for some silly reason the driver decides that they’re going to sit mute and still? The officer might still shoot them? “— This is just a total asinine statement and does not deserve a reply, as I am so very really, really concerned that a police officer would ask to see a womans boobs in a felony stop situation.

    And let me assure you, if you fail to do as an officer asks when he has initiated a felony stop, it indicates that YOU are gonna be a big problem and it also indicates that YOU are a threat to the officer.

    For instance, the officer orders you out of the vehicle at gunpoint, lie face down on the pavement with your hands behind your head, and you refuse. You IMMEDIATELY become a threat to the officer by resisting his order. Officer then becomes more highly aware of potential danger that YOU represent. Then any move that YOU make that is not in compliance with his order can subject YOU to repercussions that YOU would not want to happen. Reach toward your waistband–YOU get shot. Reach toward your pocket—YOU get shot. Reach inside your coat–YOU get shot. Reach under your car seat—-YOU get shot, etc.,etc., etc.

    Whereas, if YOU had simply complied, Officer approaches, handcuffs you, searches you for weapons and ID. Upon discovering that you are not the perp that he is looking for, he removes the handcuffs, apologizes, and explains that you fit the description of a suspected armed robber, murderer, or whatever type of possibly dangerous perp you can inmagine. Incident ends peacefully with you going on your way and not in a body bag.

    If the officer asks you to do an illegal act, the time and place is not then to redress the issue, but in the proper places, i.e., complaint filed with IAD, FBI, or filing a civil suit. How many times have the police asked you to show your boobs, shoot somebody, dance a jig while naked or any other thing that your warped mind can imagine? None, I imagine. Such a police officer would immediately be suspended, sent for a psych evaluation, be subject to criminal and civil penalties, fired, and/or locked up in a mental institution because he has most likely gone totally fucking nuts.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  54. jmc #46 – I think I see your point. From that point of view, “asking” versus “ordering” can be confusing. Is the officer just being polite? Or does he/she really expect you to exit the car?

    Regardless, I think you should exit the vehicle. And not worry about whether he/she is trying to trick you into doing something that may lead to your arrest. Of course, if he asks you to do something you know is illegal, asking for clarification seems likes a reasonable request.

    I think the problem stems solely from one’s pre-conceived notions prior to being stopped by a police officer. Yes, you are pre-judging and/or stereotyping – that is a basic human instinct (regardless of how we denigrate the words today). If you work from the perspective that the police officer is just doing the job we’ve hired him to perform, things tend to run smoothly. If you work from the perspective he is only stopping you to hassle you, things tend to run less than smoothly.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  55. Patterico,

    These are also the same type of people that bitch and moan after recieiving a citation for doing 37 mph in a 20 mph school zone. Them not having the benefit of just previously investigating a fatality accident with a 9 year old girl, and then having to notify her parents that she has been killed by a speeder in a school zone. They just can’t see that actions have consequences. And IMHO, if they are too stupid to realize that failure to follow the instructions of a police officer in a highly tense and dangerous situation that he may be investigating, then they deserve whatever their “obtuseness and I have my rights” ass gets. The better the sooner as this tends to strenthen the gene pool.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  56. I see Balko had time to write a lengthy comment on his site defending his previous posting of stories about which he was insufficiently skeptical.

    He hasn’t found time to correct the error I brought to his attention earlier in the thread, though.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  57. That’s what happens when you live in a world full of straw men.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  58. Great points Patterico.

    The people who can’t handle Dunphy’s (and yours) basic common sense are doing language gymnastics trying to make it wrong but it never floats.

    I still can’t get over the one poster at Reason who said his entire family ‘knows the drill’.

    That really says it all.

    harkin (f92f52)

  59. You can argue with these people all day, but committed Libertarians are no different than any other political extremist. They weren’t reasoned into their position in the first place, they can’t be reasoned out of it.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  60. An e-mailer says:

    It brought a scenario to my mind that I think is reasonable. I am the driver of the Hupmobile. The officer stops me and orders me out of the car. I get out and ask what this is about. The officer orders me to put my hands on my head. I put my hands on my head and again ask what this is about. The officer then orders me to my knees. I refuse. I tell him I have bad knees and again ask him what this is about. He orders me to my knees again. Now, I’m angry, so I again refuse to get on my knees and start reciting the constitution and inserting some choice names for the officer and implying that his breeding is questionable. I simply stand there, with my hands on my head, swearing up a storm.

    Under Dunphy’s analogy, that officer just might shoot me. That is what the analogy implied to me. That is what made me angry. Regardless of how dangerous the officer thinks I am, he has no reason to shoot me simply for doing what I did, “asserting [my] constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure [and] failing to do as the officer asks.”

    I did not fully comprehend Dunphy’s analogy until you added in the part about making a quick move or reaching for my wallet or doing something else that would justify the officer fearing for his life.

    Fair enough. But as peedoffamerican notes before, if you fail to do as the officer asks in a felony stop, you do indeed increase your risk of getting shot — because what he “asks” is going to amount to a lot of orders shouted at you as he points a gun at you. (I think Dunphy’s post assumed people understood that; his assumption was evidently in error.)

    Under Dunphy’s analogy, even in the situation described by the e-mailer, the driver might indeed get shot. Now, if all he did was stand there, the shooting would not be justified. However, by not complying with lawful demands issued by an officer who suspects he is confronting an armed and dangerous individual, the driver is really escalating things into a dangerous scenario, simply by refusing to comply with the orders.

    If he truly has bad knees, he may be able to avoid a misdemeanor resisting charge. But he is unnecessarily escalating the situation and does indeed heighten the danger to himself.

    I think Dunphy and I assumed that most people understood that’s how felony stops go down. Some of the other commenters here don’t seem to — they apparently think that the officer’s first reaction in a felony stop will be to ask to see the driver’s boobs or something. (Link is to Joe’s comment 51.) Whatever.

    Anyway, the clarification has now been offered for people who didn’t understand the nature of a felony stop. I think that at this point some people understand better. Others will remain pigheaded. It’s the Internet; that’s how it works.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  61. By the way, I have no problem with the idea of talking back to an officer in an appropriate situation. (If an officer tries to take my video camera on a public street, for example.) I don’t recommend this approach to most, however, because I know when it’s appropriate to do and when it might not be. Most people don’t — and if they get overly aggressive when the officer is in the right, they risk a valid arrest and possibly getting hurt or killed.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  62. Do what the man with the gun says, for now, and vindicate your rights later.

    Well said.
    Should the officer have arrested Gates? Probably not. Should Gates have run his mouth off about racism to the officer? Definitely not.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  63. Didn’t Dunphy’s hypothetical have something about a person reaching for their paocket, or wallet, or some other sort of furtive gesture? That is markedly different than standing there with their hands on top of their head, and would dramatically descrease the chances of bad things happening. Regardless, those that continue to dishonestly misrepresent the arguments advanced by Dunphy and yourself will continue to do so, no matter what you say. There have been a couple that seem to be willing to actually discuss the matter, but they are outliers (and should be commended).

    JD (7cad2c)

  64. Regarding Libertarians: It’s wise to be skeptical of all ideologies, including your own. Otherwise you’re just an ideologue.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  65. Do you know that one can assert your rights politely, right? Asserting your rights doesn’t mean making agressive looking moves.

    Officer: Let me search your car.
    Me: No. What’s your probable cause?
    Officer: I heard that a man in a white Honda robbed a bank.
    Me: That describes about 1,000 vehicles in a 10 mile radius. That’s not a probable cause.
    Officer: Are you hiding anything?
    Me: No, I just don’t want you rifling through my stuff. Can I go?

    Even in a felony stop, that’s legal. If you’re given probable cause (such as you are in one of 5 remaining versions of the getaway car) then the search is warranted. Not consenting to the search is not validly asserting your constitutional rights. However, if there is no probable cause given to you by the officer, you can assert your rights and don’t deserve a bullet in you.

    By the way, way to soft pedal the “shooting would not be justified” in the example of the emailer with bad knees. In my neck of the woods, we call that (attempted) murder [depending on the outcome].

    Mo (6a6617)

  66. “However, if there is no probable cause given to you by the officer, you can assert your rights and don’t deserve a bullet in you.”

    What can I say that I haven’t already said a dozen times?

    “By the way, way to soft pedal the “shooting would not be justified” in the example of the emailer with bad knees. In my neck of the woods, we call that (attempted) murder . . .”

    In my neck of the woods, where the elements of a crime matter, we’d probably call that attempted voluntary manslaughter.

    Patterico (4d1a2f)

  67. In theology (or, rather, in exegesis) it is a generally accepted rule that a parable (or any other analogy) has just one point of comparison. It’s told for one reason, and it’s not fair to take other elements of the analogy and create other arguments. At least you can’t do that and imply that this was the intention of the author.

    So, for instance, it would be ridiculous to draw inferences out of Dunphy’s choice of a Hupmobile as an indication of some kind of message. Dunphy intends to make the point that an officer in the pursuit of his duty to enforce the law is a special case, and that the purposes of BOTH the officer AND the suspected offender are best served by cooperation. Errors or abuses of the law can be better sorted out afterward, out of the context of the confrontational situation.

    I frequently deal with people who are in conflict and have to help them to listen to each other. Very often the problem is that one or both of them is taking the other’s words and applying them to their own pet issue, rather than taking them for what they are. I think that politics junkies (like most bloggers) might be especially vulnerable to this. We all look for what someone “really means” or the hidden meaning behind the news. Sometimes it’s just plain entertaining to twist someone’s words or exaggerate their point. But at some point it becomes counterproductive.

    If we want to actually resolve the arguments over the Gates arrest, rather than just have fun lobbing rhetorical bombs, then we’ve passed that point of productivity.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  68. “Regarding Libertarians: It’s wise to be skeptical of all ideologies, including your own. Otherwise you’re just an ideologue.”

    If you’re a skeptic, I suppose. I don’t think wanting to be able to exercise your Constitutional rights without being shot is radical enough to merit calling one an ideologue.

    As I said before, lots of very intelligent, very radical, very ideological people fought several bloody and costly wars to try to guarantee the rights that the cops on here want to shoot us for asserting.

    If I were one of you power-mad, totalitarian, beefheads, I’d be ashamed to call myself an American.

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  69. Boot-lickin’ authoritarian racists, all of you.

    JD (b09e6a)

  70. Taktix, all you’ve done with your repetition of that utterly false strawman is establish your lack of reading comprehension.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  71. I have no idea what some commenters are referring to regarding their faux macho posturing to actual police officers in the real world. The man has a gun, the man has a nightstick, the man has a taser gun – and yet they’re telling us that they’d immediately start mouthing off to the officer? Yeah, riiiight. I’ve had a few encounters with rural cops from small towns that stopped me for no valid reasons whatsoever (or none were given) – but did I comply with all of their instructions? Damn straight – because so what if I’m right in the court of law, yet 10 feet under the ground? Stupid is as stupid does, and if any of these big, tough mouth – breathing keyboard jockeys ever had the opportunity to trash – talk a policeman in the flesh with his weapon drawn they’d soil their pants so badly they’d be arrested for creating a public nuisance.

    They’re only making more arguments for the principle of Darwinism in action.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  72. I love how there is such persistence to claim Dunphy was doing anything more than noting that it’s risky to scare a cop, because cops are human and can’t know if you’re a bad guy or not. Probably shouldn’t whip out a cell phone if he thinks you’ve possibly got a gun.

    Pretty simple stuff. Cops shouldn’t no-knock their way into a house in Texas (without a very good reason) for much the same reason.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with ‘exercising constitutional rights.’ But I guess it’s an effective troll for taktik to say people get shot for talking back to meatheads.

    The real world isn’t black and white. Cops actually live or die based on this issue, and whether I like it or not, I don’t get to be a jerk every time I’m irritated.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  73. Even in a felony stop, that’s legal.

    I have already described my own experience with the drug war. At what point would you have advised me to resist? And would you have contributed to the support of my family, once I was no longer able to ?

    Your advice is worth about the price of the time you spent typing it. I am so tired of anarchists masquerading as libertarian.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  74. Most people don’t — and if they get overly aggressive when the officer is in the right, they risk a valid arrest and possibly getting hurt or killed.

    As I said before, it doesn’t matter if the officer is in the right. If the officer *thinks* he’s in the right (which is *all the time*) and you do not comply, it’s going to up to your estate to seek the appropriate redress.

    Because also as it has been said over and over and over and over again, there is *no way* that a person stopped (who was minding his own business) can know a priori whether it’s a felony stop or not.

    Look at that case in Hollywood, FL that broke yesterday (a few days ago?) If that women would have tried to escape when the cops were plotting to frame her, she would have been shot, and it probably would have been called a justified shooting. (and as a point of law that may be even the correct call – the rules of deadly force normally authorize shooting those trying to escape custody)

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  75. The real world isn’t black and white. Cops actually live or die based on this issue, and whether I like it or not, I don’t get to be a jerk every time I’m irritated.

    Comment by Juan — 7/30/2009 @ 9:21 am

    Not unless that officer happens to be Mother Theresa, the Pope, or St. Francis. Then they are usually the ones that are compiled annually in the FBI’s list of Officers Slain in the Line of Duty.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  76. An amusing but mostly true way of seeing thing sfrom a police officers point of view.

    Why Cops Hate You

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  77. Patterico, it’s never a good idea when examining an analogy to assume other people’s expectations of the known instance will always match yours without a good reason. An awful lot of Libertarians have explicitly had poor experiences with asshole cops, and few good experiences with decent cops. Even if the vast majority of cops are decent and most stops don’t include blatantly unlawful orders, the facts are that some cops are assholes, and that some citizens exist whose experiences are statistical outliers.

    Dunphy’s concluding statement was very broad, and indicated that any given suspect could be shot for disobeying any given order. His analogy preceding that statement demonstrated why a cop might have reason to suspect an innocent individual, but did not justify the broad statement. It was poorly worded, and your initial posts seemed to be asserting that this wasn’t the case, although your most recent comment indicates an understanding that your assumptions shaped your interpretations of Dunphy’s analogy and statement.

    For those who accuse libertarians of being bad at logic: I disagree. For me personally, I have a strong math background. I’m good at logic based arguments, but I’m also very precise. To the point of annoying my friends sometimes in fact. I instinctively note issues with universals such as “all”, “every”, “any”, or any generic term without qualifiers such as “men”, “women”, “feminists”, “cops”, or “orders”. I tried to avoid those terms in my own statements, and added qualifiers where necessary. Noting universal statements and their flaws is not an illogical thing to do, although it is incompatible with fuzzy logic. Assuming a qualifier was intended, and that others would also assume that same qualifier, is illogical. Almost all of this argument would have been avoided if Dunphy had added the word “Lawful” in his statement.

    I may be part of that 1% though. I’m a fairly regular reader of Balko, and occasional reader of your blog.

    Phlinn (8ca883)

  78. Hmm… regarding Dunphy’s statement above, replace “Indicated” with “Was compatible with the interpreations that”. Hoist on my own petard with that one…

    Phlinn (8ca883)

  79. Also see this for a look into a cop’s daily grind if you have the guts to.

    Remember Us All

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  80. An amusing but mostly true way of seeing thing sfrom a police officers point of view.

    so citizens are also right in their general distrust and fear of police officers, then?

    i get the general dislike, the exhaustion, the wee graft, the petty abuses of power. that’s all at least in line with expectations, if not ideals.

    what i don’t get is the strange expectation of being loved or respected. so much of this revolves around a localized, americanized variation of lese majeste (the fixation on “respect” is not unlike what you’d find among decadent honor culture traditions or even a lot of hip hop, really) because skip gates didn’t show the proper deference. skip gates also apparently became malcolm x for some people at some point in this narrative, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of weird.

    dhex (ca7f40)

  81. so citizens are also right in their general distrust and fear of police officers, then?
    Comment by dhex

    No moron, it is an amusing way of looking at what officers daily have to put up with in dealing with your lack of common sense. While it states that he may “want to choke the living shit out of you”, he has the professionalism not to give into his basic urge. Unlike some of you that want to vent and scream at the officer just because “it is your right to be an asshole to a cop.”

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  82. What an odd way to view the world. dhex doesn’t understand why police officers might consider their office (not themselves necessarily) as worthy of respect. It’s as if dhex thinks that police officers are just assembly line workers, putting a bolt in a hole over and over again. Even that mundane level of work, done conscientiously, is worthy of a measure of respect for the person who is contributing to society according to his/her ability. But the police officer is *serving* the society, including you when he stops you. He isn’t just a prick enforcing the law because, like the tattletale in school, he loves to see other people get in trouble. He enforces the social limits that make it possible for you to pursue your life without being constantly in fear for your life.

    You don’t think that deserves respect? Sure, the officer doesn’t do his job flawlessly. We can only recruit officers out of the same population from which we recruit criminals – that is, regular human beings. So naturally they’re going to be susceptible to the same emotions, temptations, and stresses that all of us are… with this exception – they are taking on a lot of OUR worst stresses in addition to their own.

    Where you might experience the stress of a serious adrenalin-raising confrontation once in a year, the officer experiences that once or twice or three times a day. But he or she does that on your behalf so that you don’t have neighbors shooting one another, so that you don’t drive on a highway with too many maniacs on it, and so that you don’t have to break into a sweat everytime you try to use an ATM.

    Personally, even if I wouldn’t choose a particular officer as a friend, I respect the officer who does his job, even imperfectly. Better him than me.

    Or, better him than dhex.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  83. “Taktix, all you’ve done with your repetition of that utterly false strawman is establish your lack of reading comprehension.”

    If by “reading comprehension” you mean “reading everything under the assumption that police are always in the right” then, yes, I lack your definition of “reading comprehension.”

    I must have fallen asleep in class the day they covered Kowtowing to Police Officers when I was getting my B.A. in English. Must have been all that pot.

    Sorry for not being a willing subject, and not being appreciative to the “thin blue line” that protects me from evildoers, like those damn potheads and those hippy protesters trying to voice their decent at a George W. Bush rally.

    Thanks again!

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  84. Did you also fail basic reading comprehension or do you just intentionally act and say stupid crap?

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  85. In Taktix world the worst threat from which police might “protect” him is marijuana smokers and George Bush protesters. (Innocent youth who are only trying to “voice their decent” – and this from an English major.)

    I guess if you live in a utopia where there is no crime, it’s easy to take the police for granted.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  86. Patterico – you let the mask slip yesterday when you said that the teachable moment was applicable to Gates. You cannot have it both ways: it either makes sense to invoke the Hupmobile analogy because you think it is applicable to the Gates arrest, or it is a total red herring that has nothing to do with it.

    Remember what I said and what your response was?

    “Patterico framed the teaching moment as obey the commands of the police unless you are 100% correct. fine, but what does that have to do with Gates?”

    Gates didn’t.

    You said it yourself: Gates did not obey, and therefore the teaching moment is applicable to him, even though the arrest was unlawful (or, “imprudent”, as Dunphy underwhelmingly states) – you think Gates got what he deserved. There is no other cogent read, and the number of irrelevant denials and attempts to distinguish on your part does show, indeed, that your mask slipped.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  87. I guess if you live in a utopia where there is no crime, it’s easy to take the police for granted.

    I am a little more scared of people like you, who see “evil” people lurking around every corner, where every little old lady is a potential racist. It is people like you who engage in “ticking time bomb” and “lifeboat” ethics, letting a few of society’s bad apples spoil the rights the rest of us should have. For you, the cliche “Better to let ten guilty men go free than to jail one innocent man” is backwards: you’d rather everyone be in jail and slowly released as they prove themselves. To you, of course…but you’re not a statist or anything….right?

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  88. “In Taktix world the worst threat from which police might “protect” him is marijuana smokers and George Bush protesters. (Innocent youth who are only trying to “voice their decent” – and this from an English major.)

    I guess if you live in a utopia where there is no crime, it’s easy to take the police for granted.”

    I have the 2nd Amendment, sir, I don’t need your help.

    Taktix® (c97f04)

  89. correction to post 86 – *potential rapist (not racist).

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  90. The angry angry angry one is back talking about costumes and masks again.

    JD (4217af)

  91. The internet truly is filled with interesting people, isn’t it? Taktix doesn’t need protection from the police because he’s packin’ heat. I feel safer already. And our friend the Angry Optimist considers me to be a hater and a bigot because I respect the police.

    I, of course, didn’t attempt to claim that officers of the law are without fault. Quite to the contrary. But AO has decided that everything is black and white to me – in my case that the cops are good and everyone else is evil. Presumably it’s the reverse for AO – he appears to see the cops as the evil ones. Thankfully, Taktix will be around to protect us from them.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  92. What does “respect the police” even mean to you, Gesundheit? The reason I am vitriolic about abusive police officers is because I respect the institution – the rule of law over the rule of man.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  93. I’m so excited it’s less than four hours until the beers of good feeling and hope. This is a very very historic day.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  94. Angry Optimist, you keep repeating the same strawmen.

    Its gotten old.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  95. Daddy do you remember where you were when the Barack Obama drank the beer with the white man and also the black man?

    Of course, sweetheart. Everything in my life happened either before that day or after. I was in Ralph’s picking up some bananas cause I was thinking about maybe doing that Japanese morning banana diet when everyone got very quiet. We knew. We just knew. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place, sweetie. I can’t explain it. But that was the day your mom and I decided to have kids after all, and nine months later you were born.

    I love Barack Obama, daddy.

    Me too, honey.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  96. SPQR it is all that he has.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  97. No discussion of Justin Barrett being a victim of the Libertarians yet? Pity.

    [note: fished from spam filter]

    Jaybird (1994ca)

  98. Common sense tells me that if you have to use 1000 words to defend 150 words, then the original 150 words were probably either very wrong or very poorly phrased. After giving it a fair read, Dunphy’s article is hardly worthy of the 2 wall-of-text Patterico posts that defend it. To continue to assert that it was merely friendly advice on how interact with Law Enforcement is insulting. Next time, rather than dissembling endlessly, just post that “Why Cops Hate You” screed that someone linked above. That seems to sum up your position.

    XI (25271c)

  99. AO: I will assume that you’re asking your question in good faith. I guess that when I talk about respecting police officers I’m talking about giving them the benefit of the doubt, attempting to cooperate with them for the sake of society, and not giving them grief until I have a strong reason to believe that the officer in question is corrupt. Corrupt – not just mistaken. A mistaken officer deserves my cooperation to help him understand that he’s got the wrong guy. And it’s also in my best interests to make that go as smoothly as possible.

    On the other hand, if a police officer is corrupt, then not only does such a person not deserve our respect, but he has earned even greater outrage than would ordinarily accrue to a simple citizen. He has betrayed a trust. And by that betrayal he has not just violated someone’s civil rights, but he has undermined his department, his fellow officers, and the trust that citizens place in police officers.

    These days we have lots of reasons not to trust authority (although I doubt it’s ever been different). But even though there are many examples of corruption in law enforcement, in legislation, and in my own profession of pastoral ministry – that still does not mean that we can afford to write off the whole system.

    If we lose our respect for law enforcement because of the wrongdoing of some, then we will fall into vigilantism (like Taktix suggests with his last post). If we lose all respect for the institutions of government because of the outrageous wrongdoing of some of our lawmakers, then we will fall into anarchy. And if we lose all respect for the office of those who are called to preach and teach in churches, then we each become a church to ourselves, each one doing what is right in his own eyes.

    I’m not blind to the evils of authority. In fact, I’m rather cynical about it, and I tend to assume that politicians are going to lie to me. And yet, I still believe that we will lose far more if we simply reject these institutions. I feel that much more strongly in the case of the local police than in the case of the local legislator, because the policeman whose manner I might not like is also the guy that I will call on when it’s dark, and someone is moving about in my house. I would like that policeman to be on my side. And I think that I ought to do my part to make it a good partnership.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  100. Gesundheit – you do not need churches as some kind of bulwark of morality. And loss of faith in institutions, while you may see that as a bad thing, can also be wholly warranted by the number of times said institution has abused the faith placed in it by the populace.

    Regardless, XI has it – this post is nothing more than what Radley Balko said last time: attempting to distinguish, on the facts, why the “principle” applies in the narrow hypothetical. Dunphy said what he said, and he meant it: aggressively asserting your constitutional rights can get you killed, and his tone meant he approved of it, no less. Furious backpedaling notwithstanding, it is an insult to all of our intelligences to now claim that it was just a routine “hey, do not do stupid stuff with the police”. If Dunphy wanted to write that, then he should have left Gates entirely out of it.

    He wedged a hypothetical in with the Gates case. If it was not to extend the principle across the board to each case, why include Gates? An article about why it is not smart sometimes to be uncooperative would have sufficed.

    Here’s the principle as I understand it, from Mr. Patterico’s post:

    Let me say that again: failure to comply with the officer’s demands in such a situation is not your constitutional right. In fact, it could get you arrested and prosecuted.

    So, is Patterico saying that Gates should have been arrested for something else?

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  101. #60

    As you appear to now agree, all this back and forth arises because Dunphy did not spell out the legitimate lawful steps an investigating officer may take in a felony investigation, and the authority he possesses when his orders are not followed.

    Dunphy’s hypothetical was not that the innocent driver pulled a gun, but rather a refusal to comply with instructions. That, in and of itself, does not justify ANY use of force. That only leads to legitimate use of force where the officer chooses to arrest based on failure to follow reasonable orders and then is then resisted. At that point, the innocent driver is no longer innocent.

    Cyrus Sanai (ada6da)

  102. What does “respect the police” even mean to you, Gesundheit? The reason I am vitriolic about abusive police officers is because I respect the institution – the rule of law over the rule of man.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist — 7/30/2009 @ 11:16 am

    Respect the police means to cooperate when they command certain things in the course of an investigation of a possible home invasion, not screaming that he is a white racist cop.

    What respect would you give to an armed robber and you can’t fill your hand with anything but skin? Same respect I hope you would give to the armed officer who thinks that YOU might be the robber. After all, a little courtesy on your part is all that is needed to prevent escalation.

    And your “abusive officers” should be changed to abused officer if you are referring to Ofc. Crowley. After all he was accused of being white racist trash from the moment he arrived on scene by Loudmouth Gates, of which Ofc . Crowley was protecting said loudmouth’s property. If it had been reversed, and Ofc. Crowley had been black, with Gates being White, and screaming that Crowley was just another n**ger (only using for illustration) harassing a White man, all of you would be screaming for the professors head instead.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  103. You would also be defending the Black Ofc. Crowley for most likely slapping the hell out of the White racist insolent prick.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  104. Patterico:

    Have you ever, in your entire career, lost or heard of any prosecutor losing to a defense motion to suppress a roadside search based on the idea that the defendant might have feared for his life if he didn’t comply with the officer with the gun when the officer “asked” to search the car?

    Unless that’s a relatively regular occurrence and we libertarians are simply ignorant of the state of law, that’s where we get the reasonable suspicion that your and Dunphry’s advice is less about our safety and more about treating our civil rights with contempt because, well, you’re the law, dammit, and “rights” are for you, not “civilians”.

    Since innocent people have been convicted, it’s entirely possible my refusal to talk or allow a search means the difference between a stint in prison (or death row) and going home leaving only an angry cop whose job to arrest somebody for a crime was made harder by my lack of cooperation.

    Of course, I might get shot, but then again, as we learned with the BART cop, even being cuffed is no guarantee of my not getting shot if I say something a cop doesn’t like. If cops are as professional as you suggest, it’s not likely that I’d be shot as long as I don’t make threatening moves or resist being detained. If you’re saying I’m still at risk, I question how much this is about the law and safety and how much it’s about me being a second-class citizen because I’m not representing the government.

    Sandy (176063)

  105. see, peedoffamerican, I guess it is easy to argue with the libertarian in your head. I would have just as vigorously defended the dumb racist’s right to say what he likes as much as I have defended Gates’ dumb actions in this fashion. The fact that you are so limited in perspective and assume that “if I am not with you, I must believe the most cartoonish and opposite positions you do not hold” bespeaks to your limited intellectual power.

    If an officer slaps around a citizen because that citizen called that officer names, that officer should go to prison. I do not care what color they are. I understand that principles are probably something difficult for you to comprehend, but please do your best.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  106. Just don’t leave the weed in the car, Sandy. It’ll be all good.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  107. Wow, another strawman dies to Angry Optimists’ superior kung fu.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  108. SPQR – you are going to have to be less enigmatic. Maybe you would like add something substantive? I can see that many of Patterico’s followers (like you, daleyrocks, JD, Eric Blair) like to snipe on the sidelines without actually adding anything to the conversation, but maybe you can be different. You just gotta try, little guy. That’s all we’re asking.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  109. “As you appear to now agree, all this back and forth arises because Dunphy did not spell out the legitimate lawful steps an investigating officer may take in a felony investigation, and the authority he possesses when his orders are not followed.
    Comment by Cyrus Sanai — 7/30/2009 @ 11:45 am “

    No, Dunphy’s mistake was that he actually believed some of you have more than 3 brain cells and might, just maybe be able to apply logic. Not that some morons might leap to a totally illogical conclusion that if you mouth off to an officer, and BLAM YOU DEAD.

    He was also figuring that maybe just once you might have seen the show “Cops”
    and might have just possibly seen a felony stop occur on the episode. This where the officer orders you to exit the vehicle with both hands in plain sight. Lay facedown on the pavement with both hands behind your head. The officer then approaches cautiously while covering or being covered by a fellow officer with a drawn weapon. Officer then places cuffs on suspect and searches him for weapons and ID. And that if you fail to do so, by making any furtive movement, by reaching into pockets or such, or running suddenly towards the officer, then it is possible you might just get your ass shot off.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  110. peedoffamerican, you sound like an Internet Tough Guy. You probably have never even drawn your weapon, and like most slow, lazy police officers, you live vicariously through fantasies and television shows.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  111. Angry Optimist, your claim that my comments are not substantive is a pretty amusing bit of projection. You repeatedly try to put words in Dunphy and others’ mouths that are plainly ridiculous and seem to think that your contribution is made all the more profound by repetition.

    And the “Internet Tough Guy” line? Comedy gold, coming from you. Comedy gold.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  112. Mo at 65:

    You can refuse the request for permission to conduct a consent search, but you it’s ultimately up to the officer to decide if he has PC or not to search your car. If you consent, he won’t ever have to justify his conduct as having been based on PC.

    If you refuse, and the officer believes he has PC which he can articulate later in court, he’s going to search your car. He doesn’t need a warrant (automobile exception to 4th Amendment warrant requirement).

    So, it’s not a roadside debate between citizen and officer about whether PC exists or not, and whether a search will or will not happen. It’s simply a matter of giving consent or not giving consent.

    Shipwreckedcrew (7f73f0)

  113. 104
    Comment by The Angry Optimist — 7/30/2009 @ 11:53 am

    Sure you would defend him — NOT. Since you are defending the indefensible it becomes impossible. Black Gates has no constutional right to slander the officer as a White Racist especially when said officer is there to protect Gates’ property in the first place.

    And a White Gates, while using a constitutionally protected expression but not a morally protected one, is still being a total ass and deserves no defense.

    However, if either the officer or suspect had used the term “n**ger” , I would not necessarily condemn the person that slapped hell out of the other. Such usage can be found to be “fighting words” that could lead the person to commit an assault before he could stop himself.

    If Crowley had used such a term to Gates, and Gates pursuantly knocked the crap out of the officer, I would have told the officer, “Well pard you had that one coming.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  114. “peedoffamerican, you sound like an Internet Tough Guy. You probably have never even drawn your weapon, and like most slow, lazy police officers, you live vicariously through fantasies and television shows.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist — 7/30/2009 @ 12:06 pm”

    HAHAHAHA That’s real funny coming from someone who has never been on the frontlines except for the frontline of a checkout counter. For your information asswipe, I have had to draw my weapon on several occasions, of which Thanks to GOD, I never had to actually pull the trigger. Two of which were only a hairsbreath from final squeeze from the matchpoint. And two occasions where I have actually been shot at.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  115. From the FACTS actually known:

    Officer Crowley was approaching someone who, Crowley thought, might be (I) a perpetrator of a crime, (ii) a victim of that crime, or (iii) a person rightfully in the right place with no crime having been committed.

    Gates, who knew that (i) he, with the aid of an associate, had “broken” in through his own front door, and (ii) he himself thought his door had been damaged in an attempted illegal break in,
    saw in an approaching police officer the personification of all that is perceived to be wrong in the relationship between blacks and police.

    I’d say the problem here is that one of Crowley or Gates is a victim of an hallucination. Perhaps that person needs some mental care.

    Oh, and I’d be thrilled to have Crowley added to the our local police force.

    Ira (28a423)

  116. As I see it, internet bickering aside, there is only one substantive difference between Dunphy’s article and this:
    http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/justin-barretts-jungle-monkey.html

    …the latter is overtly offensive enough to get a cop fired. Thats it. They both convey the same “shut your mouth or we’ll shut it for you” message.

    XI (25271c)

  117. e. Black Gates has no constutional right to slander the officer as a White Racist especially when said officer is there to protect Gates’ property in the first place.

    Yes, actually, Gates does and did have that right. The fact that you think differently shows stunning ignorance and your lack of knowledge about the First Amendment.

    if either the officer or suspect had used the term “n**ger” , I would not necessarily condemn the person that slapped hell out of the other.

    Of course you would not. You think that things are solved by fists and force. At root, you are an Attila; a Hun, a believer in the idea that your beliefs are the end all, be all, that’s why you stretch “fighting words” to such absurd ends to justify the use of force where it is clearly illegal.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  118. And since your know nothing ass probably does not what matchpoint means, here it is. The matchpoint is the point that the trigger will stop just before the hammer falls if done correctly by a gunsmith. It allows the shooter to stop his action if the target/situation is no longer actionable.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  119. That’s real funny coming from someone who has never been on the frontlines except for the frontline of a checkout counter

    I am a veteran of the Iraq War: February of 2007 – March 2008. Like I said, I recognize Chairborne Rangers when I see them, and you are it, friend.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  120. CS @ 100 — your missing several steps in between.

    When the officer orders the driver out of the car, and then onto the ground pursuant to Terry, if the driver refuses to comply the officer can use the reasonable force necessary to create that result. It doesn’t have to be part of an arrest to be lawful.

    When conducting a felony car stop, the officer is entitled to use reasonable force to insure his own safety and the safety of those around him. If the subject is compliant and obeys the commands, no force would be justified. But if the driver refuses, the officer is perfectly justified to “take him down”, gain control, cuff if necessary, and conduct a quick pat-down to make sure the driver does not constitute a threat while the officer conducts his investigation.

    Shipwreckedcrew (7f73f0)

  121. If the pompous Harvard guy were Muslim this whole going to the White House to drink beers thing would be really really offensive. I think Muslims probably better protest just to be safe.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  122. Angry angry angry anarchist – I will quit sniping from the sidelines when you quit repeating the same tired talking points over and over and over and over and over and over and quit patently misrepresenting the positions of Patterico and Dunphy. I know it is easier for you to argue with the positions you wish they had as opposed to the positions they have actually clearly stated.

    JD (848a9f)

  123. No TAO, slander is not constitutionally protected speech. See Defamation, Libel and Slander Law .

    And the stretching of fighting words is because SCOTUS has ruled on their use as provocation. See Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire Fighting words are those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. While there have been cases that overturned laws against fighting words, the court still holds that some words can incite an immediate breach of the peace and can be used as a defense against an assault charge.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  124. I told you the people at Reason speak “legalese” (their term) but do not understand it. And they have proven it on every thread here. What they resemble most of all, though, is Veruca Salt from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. “But I want it”.

    nk (01b1e5)

  125. “I am a veteran of the Iraq War: February of 2007 – March 2008.
    Comment by The Angry Optimist — 7/30/2009 @ 12:38 pm “

    Oh really? If true then thanks for defending this country. What unit? What brigade? What division? What was your MOS? What’s the first step in field stripping an M16?

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  126. “You said it yourself: Gates did not obey, and therefore the teaching moment is applicable to him, even though the arrest was unlawful (or, “imprudent”, as Dunphy underwhelmingly states) – you think Gates got what he deserved. There is no other cogent read, and the number of irrelevant denials and attempts to distinguish on your part does show, indeed, that your mask slipped.”

    Angry Optimist:

    Fuck you. If you’re too fucking stupid to understand my explanation, and you’re going to accuse me of something I have specifically denied (and explained why I denied it), I am done with you.

    Patterico (d1c1cd)

  127. Comment by happyfeet — 7/30/2009 @ 12:45 pm

    Then they better smoke hashish, as I understand Obama has some prior experience with such things.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  128. Sorry, JD, no misrepresentation. I am just not buying Patterico’s parsimony in this regard. A teachable moment of “here are the circumstances under which you should comply” is fine. A cramming together of that + Gates + the “full of holes” remark…it is either all one big coincidence or there was a deeper meaning behind it. I suppose if you want to (again) be parsimonious and deferential to Dunphy, that is your choice, but plenty of other smart people read Dunphy the way he really intended to be read, and no amount of backpedaling will cure that.

    peedoff – fine, then let the officer sue. you should note, though, that defamation and slander do generally cover “opinions”. Regardless, that’s another red herring to your real opinion: that people should be beat up when they say things you do not like. Anyway, Chaplinksy is, for all intents and purposes, dead letter, so, yes, you are stretching the concept because you desperately want the State and its Agents to be right here, because you have an authoritarian heart.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  129. Oh really? If true then thanks for defending this country. What unit? What brigade? What division? What was your MOS? What’s the first step in field stripping an M16?

    When I was in Iraq, I was with the 1CD. No brigade – the Bn Cdr reported directly to a one-star, but also we were phasing into sustainment brigades. My AOC is 42B, but I was once a 37F when I was enlisted.

    The first step in field stripping an M16 is to make inspect the chamber and make sure its clear of rounds.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  130. oh, and you do not have to thank me. I am just doing my job.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  131. Angry angry angry angry anarchist – Dunphy has repeatedly told you and yours what he intended. You do not get to state what he intended, especially when it runs counter to what you wish he intended. That is intellectually dishonest at a base level.

    Thank you for your service. Glad you made it back alright.

    JD (848a9f)

  132. thank you.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  133. I think that it might serve Angry and Peedoff to quit questioning each others service.

    JD (848a9f)

  134. JD, someone’s got to run out of strawmen first.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  135. TAO, thanks for your service in Iraq.

    It’s lame that the only way you debate is to misstate other people’s views. After 1000 corrections, it’s kinda hard to give you the benefit of the doubt. Gates was lawfully arrested, and no one is saying people should be shot or arrested merely for exercising rights or expression. It’s something else that occurs in addition. You know that, but you’re ignoring it.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  136. Dang he might just be ex-military. He did get the field strip right. Most just look it up and don’t think to inspect the chamber and make sure its clear of rounds part.

    And yes it is necessary to thank you for service to this country, it is the civilized thing to do.

    And as for my creds, you can rest assured that they are sound to, having worked on different departments both in Texas and in Georgia. With over than 25 years of experience as a Peace Officer and also a short stint as a Correctional Officer of which I would not choose to do again except under dire circumstances. Who would want to babysit a bunch of grown men that are mostly animals is beyond me.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  137. I always remove the magazine first.

    nk (01b1e5)

  138. That’s how I always taught it back in my day, nk.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  139. The simplest solution to this mess? Take away or make it easier to pierce Sovereign immunity. then require all police actions are videotaped while on duty. This way there is an objective recording of all activities.

    9 times out of 10 I think recording everything would help the police, because I believe they’re *less* likely to lie, and it would also reduce the temptation to lie on a police report as they know they’re being recorded. and that one time out of 10 that it bites the officer, then maybe the few bad apples will get weeded out over time.

    Trust but Verify, and make sure that everyone is capable of being held responsible for their actions.

    is that too unreasonable?

    bloodstar (c9dd5d)

  140. I think that it might serve Angry and Peedoff to quit questioning each others service.

    Comment by JD — 7/30/2009 @ 1:23 pm

    Agreed JD, he seems to have established his bonafides. They are good enough for me. A lot of the commenters that I run into on various sites like to blather about how great a military enlistee/officer they were, but always fail to establish their bonafides when questioned. They then turn around and try to discredit the military and all that it does. This pisses me off, when they falsely claim to be members, and then turn right around and dis everything the military stands for or does.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  141. ates was lawfully arrested

    you keep saying this, but I have not seen you counter Volokh or any of the other cases that I presented. Massachusetts law is pretty clear that disorderly conduct is very narrow, and there is no way that the elements of DC, under MA law, were fulfilled in the Gates arrest.

    If you like, you can prepare a brief to the contrary.

    gentlemen, you should have dropped the magazine on the range and carried it off on your gear. Clearing the chamber is to make sure that you ejected the round when you were on the range.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  142. I always remove the magazine first.

    Comment by nk — 7/30/2009 @ 1:30 pm

    I will give him the benefit of doubt that he is not giving Patterico or Dunphy. Since I can logically see that it would be pointless to check for rounds in chamber if the mag were still present. After all, making sure the weapon is unloaded requires that the mag be removed also.

    Can anyone say teaching moment?

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  143. Granted, Angry, but some of us carried M-16′s and/or AR-15′s off the range too.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  144. I don’t believe that it’s a question of giving the benefit of the doubt, I believe it’s a question of meeting of minds. Our visitors from Reason have a view of what the law is, as opposed to what they think it should be, and nobody will convince them otherwise. I have seen it on other sites and other threads where they perseverate a sentence from a dissent time afer time after time….

    nk (01b1e5)

  145. nk – the law is that Gates arrest was not lawful.

    SPQR – it applies across the board. When you enter a FOB, there should be a clearing barrel.

    The Angry Optimist (2aba7b)

  146. Here in Georgia, I would have charged Gates with Obstruction of an Officer. “[OCGA 16-10-24 (a)] provides that a ‘person who knowingly and wilfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties (other than by offering or doing violence to his person) is guilty of a misdemeanor.’ “

    Note he would not have been charged under section (b)that requires a threat or use of force against the officer and is a felony.

    Situation resolved the moment he refused my lawful order to evacuate the premises for his and my safety. Afterwards, if he had calmed down to the point that he was not attempting to cause a riot, officer discretion would have allowed me to Quote unarrest him.

    It is amazing the calming effects that cuffs can have on most people when they see that you are serious as a heart attack. And no this is not gestapo tactics, it is a means of establishing control over a situation before it can escalate further.

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  147. I’m a big fan of Reason magazine, and libertarian thoughts in general, but it’s clear to me that (A) the reason writer failed to understand the analogy (B) he made way too much out of “putting holes in you” statement.

    Had Officer Dunphy written “If you’re being inexplicably belligerent and uncooperative to an officer legally permitted to search / question you, you might risk getting shot if you make threatening gestures, especially because the probablitiy of you being the actual suspect is high (the hupmobile)”, or something like that, this misunderstanding probably doesn’t exist. But I generally understood “the next time” to be alluding to situations not unlike the Gates and the hypothetical situation, where the suspect was escalating the situation to the point where self defense MIGHT be a possibility.

    Maybe those who insist that JD used cavalier language has a point, but I find it REALLY difficult to believe that anyone can make an intellectually honest argument that officer Dunphy was actually urging cops to shoot people for merely arguing back with them, on constitutional grounds or otherwise.

    lee (86706b)

  148. As I see one “Reason” reader/”libertarian” after another express nothing but contempt for the police, I find myself asking: why?

    If they are constantly harassed by “the authorities”, these folks must be doing something to attract their attention. By the same token, if they find police officers to have disagreeable manners, perhaps these folks should take a long look in the mirror and evaluate their own attitude and behavior.

    I mean, except for a couple of roadblock/license check situations, I haven’t spoken to a cop in 10 or 15 years. I’d like to know how many times a day/a week/a year the “Reason” readers/”libertarians” have to “deal” with a cop.

    Of course, my perspective may be skewed by the fact that I am a law-abiding citizen, as are all of my family and friends. Generally speaking, we avoid “questionable” activities, “bad” neighborhoods, and “unsavory” characters.

    Perhaps if the “Reason” readers/”libertarians” hung around with a better class of people, their opinions of police would be significantly different.

    Bubba Maximus (456175)

  149. Two NOT hypothetical uses of force by me, you be the judge if I was correct or not.

    First: Report of purse snatching by an unidentified white male, early 20′s, light brown hair, faded blue jeans, black jacket, and black tennis style shoes. Report was given by an elderly black female with eyeglasses.

    I observe a white male, with blonde hair, wearing brushed light blue jeans, wearing a navy blue jacket, with dirty navy blue shoes 2 blocks from the scene. He quickly steps into the alleyway after spotting my patrol car.

    Do I have probable cause to stop and arrest him? No, but I have reasonable suspicion to investigate, sense he matches the general description given to me by an elderly black lady with corrective lenses, and immediately tries to step out of my sight.

    Upon approaching the possible suspect, he has his hands inside pockets of jacket. I order him to remove both hands from his pockets so that I can see they do not hold a weapon. He is then ordered , oops better insert lawfully here for the morons, to produce identification. He does so.

    Criminal history check is done via radio, and is discovered that subject has several instances of theft and other infractions such as assault. Subject again places hand in jacket pocket. I warn him to remove hand immediately again. Subject complies.

    During follow up questions, such as where you heading, where you been, etc., he again reaches into his pocket. This time I quickly draw my baton and rap him sharply across wrist area, causing him to remove his hand immediately.

    Was I justified? I warned him twice already.

    At this point, a Terry v Ohio frisk was done. In his pocket, lo and behold, I discovered a womans wallet and a 5″ blade folding pocket knife. Upon, checking the woman’s wallet, I discover that it is the victims’,since the perp is definately not an elderly black woman 40+ years older than him with the victims’ ID in it to boot.
    Subject arrested and handcuffed.

    His reply is of course, “I found it!” Yeah sure you did, right inside that womans’ purse you snatched.

    Questions: Was I justified in the initial stop? Was I justified in the use of force? Was I justified in the arrest?

    Scene 2: While my partner and I are transporting a handcuffed prisoner that had been combative back to the jail, arrestee becomes violent once again and begins to kick the back of drivers side seat. Oops better say lawfully transported again, some people might not understand that lawfully is always implied when officers act under color of authority. Although certain actions some rogue officer might commit illegally, lawfully is still implied whether it be stated or not.

    Okay as I said, the arrestee begins to kick the back seat of my partner who is driving. This causes my partner to jerk the steering wheel to the left, which for those of you who need further enlightenment means, toward the direction of oncoming traffic.

    I reach back across seat, because units barrier screen had not been installed as they were on order for the new units, and I sharply rap the arrestee across his shin with my baton. Amazing the kicking stops immediatley. Ever see a grown man cry when he can’t rub what hurts?

    Question: Was I justified in using force without warning him first?

    Now! I know I didn’t say that I was in fear in either case above. But use common sense people, If someone you are questioning matches a description of a perp, has been found to have been convicted for assault, and continues to reach into his pocket after being warned, shouldn’t you at least be a little concerned? Also, why would I note the patently obvious in a report when any reasonable person can read between the lines and come to the same conclusion based upon the facts given?

    Same applies to second case of striking arrestee across shin. Who can not see that any reasonable person would automatically be concerned for his safety, and rap the offender across the shin to stop an assault on another, and prevent a possible accident that could take innocent lives?

    peedoffamerican (83dc9b)

  150. Oscar Grant

    Cuffed.
    Facedown.
    Shot.
    Dead.
    By.
    A.
    Cop.

    JerryS (15a790)

  151. Comment by JerryS — 7/30/2009 @ 5:44 pm

    No one ever said all cops were saints or perfect, you drooling simpleton.

    But that still doesn’t mean you get to ignore what the cop says.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  152. Scott -

    Did you miss the cuffed, facedown part?

    Cuffed, facedown, on the ground.

    Still got shot.

    Dead.

    JerryS (15a790)

  153. “Sorry, JD, no misrepresentation. I am just not buying Patterico’s parsimony in this regard. A teachable moment of “here are the circumstances under which you should comply” is fine. A cramming together of that + Gates + the “full of holes” remark…it is either all one big coincidence or there was a deeper meaning behind it. I suppose if you want to (again) be parsimonious and deferential to Dunphy, that is your choice, but plenty of other smart people read Dunphy the way he really intended to be read, and no amount of backpedaling will cure that.”

    Plenty of other people with a prejudice against cops gave it the same crabbed and out-of-context reading you did. Now that the nature of a felony stop has been explained to them, many of them have reconsidered. Some, like you, have been pig-headed and stupid.

    Nobody is backpedaling. We’ve tried to explain some concepts you were too dim to understand. We now see it was a waste of time.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  154. Btw, TAO, your hero Balko still has his flatly false statement about my post, up at Reason and at his own site. Even though I left him a comment about it last night; he has posted on his site since; and he has posted in the same comment thread since then.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  155. In other words: he clearly knows about the mistake. But he is far too busy doing other stuff, like telling two of his commenters (who are fed up with his unreasonable readings of Dunphy) to go fuck themselves.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  156. Yeah Jerry, I remember a case just like that in Dallas about 30 years ago. A white police officer with the highest felony arrest record and also several police shootings was accused of the very same thing. Shooting a black perp while he was handcuffed and face down. Hell they even had some supposed witnesses that swore that is what happened. Autopsy revealed that suspect was shot standing up and facing the officer when he was shot. All of the entry wounds were from the front and he had one bullet hole thru his arm that entered his chest. Turns out that it is SOP for all suspect’s to be handcuffed even if they have been shot and might not pose anymore threat to the officer.

    And as for the Oscar Grant shooting, he was not shot after he was cuffed either. He was shot and then cuffed as per SOP. From the video it does not appear that the officer intentionally shot him with his service weapon, due to the surprised look on the police officers face when the gun discharged. The officer was also armed with a taser and this is most likely the weapon that he thought he was deploying against the resisting suspect. Ever seen the taser he was carrying? Damn, but it does look and feel very similar to the officers service weapon.

    But no matter, go on believing that an officer is a homicidal thug with no concern over the many witnesses that were present. And that he was just waiting to bust a cap on some poor black man, and risk his own life and freedom in the process. Don’t allow that the officer is just a human being and that he could have honestly made a mistake and thought he was deploying a taser instead of his firearm while in the heat of battle while trying to subdue a kicking assailant. Yeah let’s all crucify him right now. No trial, no jury, no judge, just hang him from the nearest oak tree.

    peedoffamerican (2ba2a6)

  157. Jerry – What did that incident have to do with this one?

    JD (f8be7b)

  158. Jerry for a better look try this video it clearly shows that the officer is stunned that he has discharged his service weapon. Hell even the lib newscaster acknowledges it.

    BART Shooting – UPDATED!!! NEW angle of the shooting!!!!

    peedoffamerican (2ba2a6)

  159. But Jerry, you go on living in your paranoid little world and that all a police officer dreams about is trying to bust a cap on someones ass for no reason, and in front of a bunch of witnesses to boot. Just like some people have done when they hit the accelerator instead of the brake. Why hell no it couldn’t be a tragic accident could it? They hit that accelerator on purpose in order to mow down those innocents in a crosswalk.

    My GOD Patterico, where do all these idiots crawl out from?

    peedoffamerican (2ba2a6)

  160. Patterico said, “In other words: he clearly knows about the mistake. But he is far too busy doing other stuff, like telling two of his commenters (who are fed up with his unreasonable readings of Dunphy) to go fuck themselves.”

    Hi, I just got home from work and thought I would leave a comment. Yes, I was one of those commenters. This experience has been very educational.

    The funny thing is I am predisposed to be on Balko’s side. During much of the 1990′s I was even a registered and contributing member of the Libertarian Party too. Balko’s blog was my favorite Libertarian (capital L) web site to visit.

    I think that Radley Balko has jumped the shark.

    [note: fished from moderation for profanity (f-word) in the quote. It's automatic and has to be released.]

    Brad (e542a0)

  161. Jeez Louise, if I was a homicidal maniac bent on busting a cap on someone’s ass, I damn sure wouldn’t do it in front of a hundred witnesses. I wouldn’t even be stupid enough to do it in front of one witness that I thought would go along with it. I hope that I would take the poor sucka out into the boonies somewhere, bust the cap, and then feed the poor SOB to the fucking alligators no less.

    Can people actually believe the crap that they are spouting, or are they really mentally ill?

    peedoffamerican (2ba2a6)

  162. Hmm… that’s odd. I just tried to post a comment a few minutes ago and it doesn’t seem to have registered. Blocked by a filter? But there wasn’t even a link present. Huh.

    Brad (e542a0)

  163. D’oh! That explains it. Kind of ironic to be filter blocked because of an exact quotation of the host!

    Brad (e542a0)

  164. Jerry, ifI recall correctly that shooting was discussed on this website ad infinitum.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  165. Of course no system is perfect. Are Ron Paul or Bob Barr perfect?

    What I see here is an over the top focus on rare and extreme cases. I also think that people who call others with more moderate views on police procedures “badge licking authoritarians” are (i) working out personal issues, and (ii) shouldn’t mind being called “self indulgent nihilists” in turn.

    Mike K. often cites a relevant quote regarding this kind of thing: the search for perfection is the enemy of achieving the good. Or words to that effect.

    Politics is the imperfect art of the possible, not the perfect.

    In other words: “Lighten up, Francis.”

    Eric Blair (da8b51)

  166. I am not a lawyer but I have seen conflicting claims regarding what is essentially a strawm,an issue, that of disturbingthe peace. Clearly Gates obstructed a police investigation and should have been charged for that.

    The question is I have seen it asserted that anyone causing a disturbance can be detained according to Massachusetts law.

    I do not have access to Lexus but perhaps Patterico could clarify the matter or have one of his associates research the matter.

    I am tired of the selective filters some here put on.

    Unless things have changed greatly I am surprised about the debate regarding the M-16. I was always taught to insure the weapon was placed on safe, then to insure there was nothing up the spout. If these two things are not done it really won’t matter to anyone in front of you if you remove the magazine or not.

    I would also appreciate some clarification. In the dark ages, all battalions except for some aviation battalions in the air cav, were brigade assets (or TF), with the division hq serving as a logistical and administrative hq with the assets one would associate being required to fulfill these duties. But a field battalion that reported directly to the dividion hq?

    Is this accepted or normal practise in today’s army?

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  167. I don’t think TAO actually read the police report, otherwise he wouldn’t be sticking to his interpretation of the arrest and Massachusetts law. They have smart cops in Cambridge from the looks of it.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  168. “What I see here is an over the top focus on rare and extreme cases.”

    Because each of those commenters believes they are SPECIAL!!!!! and will absolutely positively be involved in one of those rare and extreme cases in any interaction with the police. BE PREPARED!

    It’s sort of like celticdragon believing that all police are related by blood to the ones who harassed his wife before they were married.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  169. Hi daley…I think it is just some kind of Keyboard Kommando thing.

    Eric Blair (204104)

  170. Eric – I liked your Bong Wars! explanation.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  171. You know, daley, years ago I hung out with some of the “Reason” crowd. I know of what I speak.

    I’m more of a rational anarchist (as in Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”).

    Eric Blair (204104)

  172. happyfeet–

    Sorry, don’t smoke weed or tobacco. I walk home rather than drive if I have a couple at the bar. I don’t do illegal substances, and I show my ID when purchasing my legal limit of allergy medicine. I don’t start fights, and I’m white, upper-middle class, and male. I’m probably the most boring person on this blog, legally speaking. I don’t even have much in youthful indiscretions to confess, and I drive very defensively and sedately. I’m fairly unlikely to get hassled, because I look like somebody who has the wherewithal to make a fuss if a cop moves from “just doing his job” to “working his aggression out on a punk.” My interactions with police have all been personally fine to date, and I’m a minarchist, not an anarchist: I want a police force. And I’d love it if no cop ever had to die or be injured in the line of duty.

    But that doesn’t mean that a wrong door raid can’t happen, or criminality can’t implicate me despite innocence (ask Cheye Calvo about that). It doesn’t mean the scenario Dunphry proposed that you’re all defending can’t happen, followed by a wrongful arrest based on coincidence. The Innocence Project would go out of business pretty quickly if that were true.

    And I even care about the rights of people less white or wealthy than myself. I also want a police force that operates within the limits of the constitution, because I’ve seen countries where they don’t bother so much with that, and I don’t want that shit where I live. So yeah, I want to fight battles on small issues so I never have to fight them on large issues. And that means defending assholes who are within their rights to be assholes, and resisting the attitude that officer safety means I can’t assert genuine rights (because no non-lawyer can know what’s genuine) at the time of arrest for fear of being shot, as Patterico has stated (for non-prosecutors/lawyers) in his comments (“By the way, I have no problem with the idea of talking back to an officer in an appropriate situation. (If an officer tries to take my video camera on a public street, for example.) I don’t recommend this approach to most, however, because I know when it’s appropriate to do and when it might not be. Most people don’t — and if they get overly aggressive when the officer is in the right, they risk a valid arrest and possibly getting hurt or killed.”) And since Patterico has admitted that Crowley was in the wrong in the arrest, even asserting my rights when the officer is in the wrong can get me arrested, hurt, or killed–otherwise Dunphy wouldn’t have addressed Gates’s behavior before the arrest.

    And that disingenuousness (safety being used as an excuse to roll over the fifth amendment “until later, in court”) is the source of my growing mistrust of the executive branch, from the President to prosecutors to, yes, police as policing is currently practiced. I’m motivated not by a desire to smoke dope, not by a desire to see the police thwarted when investigating robberies or rapes or murder, but a suspicion that ease of doing his job is causing Patterico to advocate us going down the wrong path if you truly care about limited government. And given all these incidents, I and many other libertarians think these incidents aren’t extreme rare cases, but depressingly common. Otherwise I wouldn’t be bothered. Really.

    So laugh off every libertarian as a crazy dope-smoker if you like, but then you’ll just be repeating the great electoral success the conservative movement has had recently. If half this much energy had gone into limiting government instead of justifying its every–as admitted by Patterico–unwise arrest based more on emotion than probable cause during the last eight years, we probably wouldn’t be looking at a solid liberal lock on government.

    So pat yerself on the back, enjoy how much you’re keeping “them” in their place, and get ready for Obamacare. The needle won’t hurt that much. Well, it will, but the health czar has determined topical anesthetic to be unnecessary. But at least the proles won’t get uppity with their whiny “rights.”

    PS –Patterico’s lack of response to date leads me to believe my suspicion is correct: if you don’t protect your rights when being questioned/detained by the police, you lose them. Permanently. No givebacks just because Dunphy has a gun and you don’t. And Patterico’s job isn’t to prove my innocence; it’s to convict someone for a crime. It’s my (and my lawyer’s) job to deny him that conviction, especially if I’m innocent.

    Of course, all this could be avoided if Dunphy would come back and just say “my statement was overly broad in wording and could reasonably be construed to convey something I didn’t mean. You are always free to refuse a search of your car after I have made sure you aren’t a threat to me.” But continuing to insist that the other side must be ca-raaaaazy to read it as anything other than a narrow what-if is leading me to have even less trust that safety is the reason that wording is being defended so vociferously.

    Sandy (172093)

  173. “Of course, all this could be avoided if Dunphy would come back and just say “my statement was overly broad in wording and could reasonably be construed to convey something I didn’t mean.”

    Sandy – Of course, all of this could have been avoided if you, Balko and his other acolytes had read Jack’s posts as normal reasonable Americans instead of nitpicking whacko paranoid loons. In fact, the first half of your comment sounded very normal and sane before you veered off into cuckoo land blaming others for your reading comprehension problems and fears of law enforcement. Good luck with that.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  174. Not to digress too much, but regarding the BART shooting: Why is it OK, so long as we can plausibly believe that it was an accident? Even if the final fatal act was inadvertent, there is still some pretty disturbing misconduct leading up to it. Even before this “new” angle came out, I did not believe that the officer intentionally murdered that kid.

    XI (25271c)

  175. [...] P.S. I suspect it was. I suspect Balko is annoyed at me because I have a habit of documenting when he omits or distorts critical information (as he did when reporting the facts of the Jimmie Duncan case), or when he makes a flat-out factual error (as he did in his recent response to me and Jack Dunphy). [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Balko Tries to Prevent Patterico from Reading Him (e4ab32)

  176. Some years back, I got stopped by the police in a field investigation of an armed robbery. They did the whole package: pat down search, searched my backpack, field interrogation while I was sitting at the curb, showed me to the victims of the robbery. Now, the police had perfectly reasonable probable cause: the robber was a white guy, about 5’8″ in his mid-forties wearing a hat who fled on foot from the scene. I matched all the particulars of the description and was stopped while walking about a mile away from the scene of the crime twelve minutes after it had occurred.

    Since I was guilty of nothing, I was perfectly happy to cooperate as much as possible. Suppose, though, that I had a couple of blunts in the backpack. If I had objected to the search, would the officer who stopped me have had sufficient PC to search my backpack regardless? (I think the answer is probably yes.) Could I have been successfully prosecuted for having the blunts? (I expect the answer is also yes.)

    The experience was unsettling. Afterwards, I thought of an amendment to the old saw that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. A liberal is a conservative who has been arrested.

    W Krebs (92d1bd)

  177. How about if the average policeman tends to act like a power mad control freak. Failure to comply with any instruction or not answering any question can get you tazed, beaten, a knee in the back and face in the gravel, and arrested. I recently had an officer threaten me because I asked why I was stopped while driving home. I was not issued any citation.
    BTW, I am a 58 year old Marine, Vietnam vet, history teacher.

    David (c2c5d4)

  178. Why would I shit my pants if a cop pulls his gun?
    The cop shoots me, and his life is ruined, he/she has more restraints than I do.

    If I get jacked by someone with a gun, I am afraid of being shot. They’ve already got nothing to lose, a cop has everything to lose.

    I’ve been threatened with a gun three times. Twice by cops.

    Once when I was a juvenile, I was caught unawares by two armed security guards.
    They used to leave their car running when they went into a building to check door locks, I thought they were assholes, so I took their “patrol car” and hid it from them off in the woods out in the lower 40 of the property. It took them a week to find their car
    A few weeks later when I was walking through the area in the dark they jumped me, pulled me into a room, sat on me and stuck a gun in the side of my face. Told me to knock that off if I knew what was good for me… hit me a few times and let me go
    So next time I saw their car parked with the window open I moved one of those old school sprinklers to water the interior.
    I just learned not to be caught unaware.

    I got felony stopped by a motorcycle cop for having a license plate that came back as registered to another vehicle. There had been some bank robberies around town and cops were sorta uneasy. I got pulled over, the cop has his gun out yelling control BS at me and I’m yelling what the f*** is wrong with you, you dumb piece of…. but I complied with every order and at the time I kept my registration up on my visor because I had been getting stopped so much, so I was lucky enough to be able to get all my shit together with my hands in sight and without digging into the glove box.
    I’d gotten some special plates for my truck and the DMV screwed up the paperwork and that led to me laying down in the hot street.
    Everything got sorted out, (although the DMV was a nightmare) I apologized to the cop for cussing him, he told me it was part of the job and to get my butt down to the DMV and clear up the mess before I went to LA and got myself shot…. then I read he got hit by a car the next week while out on patrol and I sent him a get well soon card at the station.

    I had a cop threaten to shoot me when I was a juvenile and I knew he wouldn’t do it.
    I set off some cherry bombs outside the house of this rich grumpy old lady so she would call the sheriff.
    I owned the high ground around the area and there were only two ways into her place along a lonely stretch of road and I could see any car for a long ways. I could also short cut through on foot and beat any vehicle from point to point.
    I ambushed the sheriff deputies with oranges and broke their light bar with a green one.
    I’d hit them after dark and fired fastballs just to the right of their spotlight when it went on, hoping to get one through the drivers window. They jump out and immediately get snagged in poison oak and blackberries, twenty yards away from me, but they cannot get to me from there. They’ve got their flashlights on and I’m moving through the woods and an orchard… I just duck, move and drill down on the flashlights, duck, move and drill down again. I hit both cops, one of the cops at least twice and he gets angry and he pointed his old school revolver at me and yelled some nonsense like “I got six rounds of .38 aimed right at you” so I ducked left and circled right then drilled them from the other side and heckled him for threatening me with being shot for throwing fruit.
    Then I went off behind some trees and lobbed high ones onto the lights

    I knew he would not really shoot… he might beat my ass if I let his shooting threat lure me into giving up, but he wouldn’t shoot.

    Power is an odd thing and it can be reversed.
    I read a story about Donald Trump and how Trump went into his bank and told them that if the bank did not adjust the terms of his $400M loan, he’d stop paying and they could take over a 1/3 complete project. The bank kissed his butt and changed terms. Trump turned power on its head because the bank felt it had more to lose than he did and he called their bluff.

    I had problems with authority and power when I was young, so I learned to use the restraints to power against people… in our society that can work. It works in Iraq and Afghanistan too…. hide behind the women and children.

    I’d much rather have a cop pull a gun on me than be the only white guy stuck in a tank of Mexican gangbangers.
    Odds are, cop won’t shoot.
    Odds are, there will be a beef in the tank over the phone or your food and numbers win every time… you’ll find out why they call that kid stomper… the cops at least have rules.

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  179. #178

    A liberal is a Marxist who has had the sense to alter his political characterization. I mean weren’t you bruitalized by the experience? And of course as an innocent victim you knew the details of the robbery and when it occurred. To the minute.

    Not to say I disbelieve this story but I don’t believe in magic beans nor unicorns.

    You obviously do.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  180. #179:

    Wow you were a Marine who served in Nam. Exactly what was your unit and where was it based? And when were you there? By the way can you describe how you were paid in Vietnam?

    Somehow I don’t think there will be a response.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  181. [...] me make this clear: I wrote a lengthy post (2120 words) addressing the substance of Balko’s argument point by point, and noting [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Radley Balko’s Failure to Address the Substance of My Arguments (e4ab32)


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