Quotes of the day

President Obama will sit down with BET Networks to discuss calls for criminal justice reform after two controversial grand jury decisions cleared white officers in the death of black men…

“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview to air Dec. 8 at 6 p.m…

“This is something that’s deeply rooted in our society, deeply rooted in our history. But the two things that will allow us to solve it: Number one: Is the understanding that we have made progress and so it’s important to recognize that as painful as these instances our, we can’t equate what’s happening now with what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better.” 


While Akai Gurley was dying in a darkened stairwell at a Brooklyn housing development, the cop who fired the fatal bullet was texting his union representative, sources told the Daily News.

Right after rookie cop Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Gurley, 28, he and his partner Shaun Landau were incommunicado for more than six and a half minutes, sources said Thursday…

“That’s showing negligence,” said a law enforcement source of the pair’s decision to text their union rep before making a radio call for help.

“The guy is dying and you still haven’t called it in?”


“Black deaths matter only if the killer is a white cop,” said Italian journalist Enza Ferrerri.

Which doesn’t happen very often. Of 1,265 murder victims in St. Louis between 2003 and 2012, 1,138 (89.9 percent) were black, according to University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger, a former police officer.

About 90 percent of the black decedents (1,025) were slain by other blacks, his research indicates. Thirty-two were killed by police officers, 22 (1.93 percent) by white cops…

Young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than are young white males, Pro Publica said. But because more than two-thirds of police officers are white and blacks commit about half of violent crimes, it stands to reason most police shootings would involve a white cop and a black suspect…

Black cops have shot black suspects at essentially the same rate as white cops have, Prof. Klinger’s data indicate.


A tattooed gang of militants declared open season on the NYPD in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury decision, according to a threat a police union verified Saturday.

Ten Black Guerrilla Family members are “preparing to shoot on duty police officers,” Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said…

An undercover NYPD cop learned of the hit put out on officers Friday evening — three days after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death. Mullins confirmed late Saturday night that the gang was gunning for officers…

“Please WEAR your VESTS and carry your firearm off-duty along with additional magazines,”  Mullins said in an alert. “Your priority is to go home at the end of your tour!”


I could share stories. I could share the many times I’ve been stopped by cops as both a stupid teenager and a (slightly less—I hope) stupid adult. I could tell you how a transit officer threatened to put a “9mm hole in my lung” for asking him why he was stopping me at 14. I could tell you about the time an officer misunderstood a large vocabulary word (guilty as charged for verbal flexing) I used in explaining that I didn’t know about a skateboard rule…which resulted in him repeating it incorrectly back to me and threatening to take me downtown for disrespecting him…

If we can’t trust the system to police itself in this most important of civic duties, then why wait for the system at all? If the mandate of protection and inalienable rights has been corrupted, why waste time hoping for change from the top when the very foundation of this country is about people powered revolution to thwart tyranny. We don’t need to shoot with guns. We need to shoot with cameras. We don’t need to break store windows. We need to capture as much truth as possible. We need to watch the watchers. We need to police the police and I need your help…

This is it. This is the moment where we collectively decide to do more EVERY SINGLE day to change the game and stack the deck in favor of justice. We do this together or not at all. Where the forefathers declared independence from a foreign tyranny, I make this declaration of Interdependence to combat the lethal domestic threat that is killing our black men and boys. I can’t wait for change behind the blue wall. And we black men can’t get polite enough fast enough to guarantee our safety. We can’t do this alone. We need all of you especially those of you NOT under constant threat to commit to being active allies.


Cities are moving forward with camera programs even in the absence of much evidence of their benefits: Only three studies have been conducted on them in the United States, Mr. White said, though they have been promising.

In Rialto, Calif.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Phoenix, the use of force and civilian complaints against officers when they wore cameras decreased. But Mr. White cautioned: “We have no idea what the dynamics are that are leading to those reductions.”

In the Garner case, Officer Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said his client believed he was in the right, so it did not bother him that he was being filmed.

“I expect everything to be filmed,” he said the officer told the grand jury.


Americans are deeply split along racial lines in their level of confidence that police officers will treat white and black people equally and refrain from using excessive force, a new NBC News/Marist poll shows…

82 percent of African Americans say that police have different standards based on race, while half of whites say the opposite.

And while 72 percent of the public and 79 percent of whites say that they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of confidence that police in their community will not use excessive force on suspects, just 43 percent of black Americans say the same.

A broad majority of Americans – 93 percent – say they have heard about the recent grand jury decisions in Staten Island and Ferguson, in which police were not indicted for their role in the deaths of unarmed black men. Forty-three percent said that the decisions decreased their confidence in the legal system, versus just 17 percent who said the opposite. Among African Americans, seven in ten said the verdicts decreased their faith in the legal system; among whites, one in five said their confidence has increased.


Via Bloomberg Politics:



Here is how the game works. Holder streams in behind a tragedy that Sharpton and Obama have demagogued. He announces a civil-rights investigation. Eventually, he backs down from the threat of an indictment in the individual case, never conceding that the supporting evidence was not there, usually citing some strawman injustice that has nothing to do with the matter at hand — in Florida, for example, it was “stand your ground” gun laws that purportedly needed reforming. But, the attorney general is pleased to add, the original civil-rights probe of the non-crime has metastasized into a thoroughgoing civil-rights probe of the state or local police department’s training, practices, and . . . drumroll . . . institutional racism.

You never get to see what that investigation turns up. States and their subdivisions know they cannot afford to go toe-to-toe with the Beltway behemoth. Big cities, moreover, are governed by Democrats sympathetic to the Obama/Holder race obsessions — they’re happy to have the feds come in and hamstring police with “social justice” guidelines that would be a hard sell politically. So the Justice Department makes the locals an offer they can’t refuse: A consent decree that makes the Treaty of Versailles look like a slap on the wrist. This device is the license by which the Obama administration is remaking state law enforcement in its own image…

You may recall that the tide of rampant crime in New York City was turned when, under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the police began cracking down on minor offenses — not untaxed cigarette sales but real violations that had nearly destroyed the city’s quality of life. What ensued was a miraculous transformation, with the Big Apple becoming the safest big city in America.

That policing model is under attack now — just as the NYPD’s extraordinarily successful counterterrorism model has been undermined by Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.


What government routinely fails to do is account for the costs the criminal justice system imposes on the civilians who get caught in its web. Mark A.R. Kleiman, a public policy professor at UCLA and author of When Brute Force Fails, made this point vividly in a Democracy Journal essay published last spring. Instead of fixating on the dollar costs of running the criminal justice system, he asks that we also account for “the suffering inflicted by arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration, including all of the residual disabilities that go with the label ‘ex-convict,’ and the fear created by overaggressive policing.”

Imagine if, as Cardozo Law School professor Richard A. Bierschbach has suggested, we had in place a “punishment budget.” Given such a budget, we would accept that the criminal justice system would cause some degree of suffering. At the same time, we’d insist that if you pass some measures that increase suffering in some way—say, by making more arrests—you’d have to reduce the sum total of suffering in some other way, for instance by reducing prison sentences for nonviolent offenders. This would impose a useful check on the creep of new laws, rules, and regulations that steadily increase the government’s coercive powers, as if on autopilot.

Establishing a punishment budget is only the first step that the right can and should rally around. The second is insisting on greater transparency. We need better, more reliable data on policing so that communities have a clear sense of what local law enforcement agencies are doing in their name. The chief resistance to greater transparency comes from police unions. Conservatives, who’ve long been critical of public sector unions for imposing rigid work rules and contributing to soaring compensation costs, should have no qualms about calling for their abolition. When teachers unions fight tooth and nail on behalf of teachers accused of misconduct, it’s a problem. When police unions do the same on behalf of police officers accused of endangering the lives of civilians, and in some cases killing them, it’s a very big problem indeed. Republicans are often wary of curbing the collective bargaining rights of public safety employees, due to their political influence and their conservative sympathies. That has to change.


Another cause is the police incentive structure. Police have far more legal protections than non-police. They can get away with so much more. Indeed, while the cop who killed Garner evaded indictment, a civilian who recorded the incident on his phone was indicted on a separate weapons charge.  It’s difficult—often impossible—to punish police for bad behavior, which gives the bad apples free rein to abuse people.

You know what’s also a cause? Overcriminalization. And that one is on you, supporters of the regulatory super state. When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal—from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)—the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals readily admit the latter; why is the former any different?

If you want all these things to be illegal, you must want—by the very definition of the word illegal—the police to force people not to have them. Government is a gang of thugs who are paid to push us around. It’s their job.


Mohamed Bouazizi’s death after he was disrespected and impeded by government officials set off a wave of protests, first in his native Tunisia, then across the Arab world. Governments toppled, Time magazine proclaimed “The Protester” the Person of the Year for 2011, and people talked hopefully of an Arab Spring. Reform has been more successful in Tunisia than anywhere else.

Eric Garner’s death has also set off protests, not just in New York but in Boston, Chicago, Washington, and other places. Many protesters held signs reading “I can’t breathe” and “This stops now.” They should add “I’m minding my business. Just leave me alone.”

Let’s hope this coming spring brings a wave of police reform in the United States, and also a reconsideration of the high taxes, prohibitions, and nanny-state regulations that are making so many Americans technically criminals and exacerbating police-citizen tensions.


Via Mediaite.