Category Archives: Police

When Should ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the American Criminal Justice System?

It is unfortunate that death on our streets has become the catalyst for our “angry” national conversation about the value of life in American communities. For any future policy changes addressing street violence, there’s always the tired and out-of-touch political non-leadership resigned to the misinformed position that by “fixing the police” the problem will be fixed.


Photo Credit: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr Creative Commons


No other shallow posturing could be less accurate, carelessly shortsighted, or a more harmful to the desperate need for a meaningful overhaul of the criminal justice system. Political pandering about ‘reform’  is nothing more than dangerous inaction. This inaction continues to threaten the safety of everyday-life in American communities in the short term, and erodes public trust in the long term.

The criminal justice “system” that impacts equity and fairness is a system, less dependent on the actions of ethical cops on the street, than on outdated public safety policies and ‘broken-record’ political practices.

Think of it as a pyramidal maze where the marble gets dropped into the top and then through a series of twist and turns comes to the end and drops out of the bottom. The sound of the police making an lawful arrest places a person at the top of the pyramid. From there the roll through to bottom is the remainder of the criminal system.

Photo Credit: YouTube
Photo Credit: YouTube


The undeniable truth, however, is that the perception is cops control the system. As if the entire system falls to the police who have little control of the maze.  The police unquestionably are the most visible part of the system. Yet, they often lose all influence after that life is subject to individual state and federal bail requirements, criminal charging practices, and court determined release decisions.
Sworn to protect and serve goes only so far.
Yes, policing in many communities in this country is in crisis of confidence. The most dangerous part for all, however, is when police lack community confidence and fear the loss of public trust. Without both there is a great risk to act not fairly and ethically at all.

Improvement is needed:

Yes, there needs to be a clear and renewed focus on accountability on a number of levels within police agencies and is an urgent priority.

Yes, policing leadership and the quality of many police administrations desperately require a complete overhaul

Yes, the failure of police agencies should be understood to be a clear failure of the unintelligent political leadership.  The real failure to Black Lives Matter and all lives begins long before a police contact drops that life into the maze of the criminal justice system.  

Sadly and unfairly, any resulting anger gets targeted directly at the police.

Really, the fix is in often before the police come into the picture. They’re the first decision-maker by virtue of the arrest, but have so little effect on the final disposition of a case. They’re left out on a the limb by themselves to absorb the anger of a system (that works better when you have money than when you don’t).


Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

We need to completely overhaul the bail system in this country. States need to legislate new bail laws that focus equal access to justice. The net effect now is that a poor person is in jail longer than a rich one because they can’t make bail.

Here’s what that might look like. Crimes-against-persons wouldn’t qualify for no-bail, but property crimes without a criminal history might. Drug crimes for possession and low level sales would be a ‘yes’ for no bail.

We should also do away with certain charging enhancements, such as higher penalties for most drug sales within 1000 ft of a school as the sole reason for enhanced bail. 

We might agree crimes need to be referred to the criminal justice system. But the system doesn’t guarantee justice will be better served when those arrested remain in jail only because they don’t have a bank account that matches.

Yes, our poor excuse for political leaders need to shoulder their share of the responsibility for not only Black Lives but for all economically underprivileged lives.  

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons


Yes, we need to recognize that there will be no end to the guaranteed downward spiral of ‘stay in jail, lose my job, lose my car, lose my family and lose my hope for justice’ in a system that is perceived to be stacked against them.

Anger boils over at police because access to equal justice and a return to a productive life depends on the size of a law breaker’s bank account. Does that excuse the individual responsibility to respect the rule of law? Of course not. However, that is not the argument here. The point is, that the rule of law is not only about being arrested, it is about equal access to it.


Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons


If we have devolved to a discussion of “Cops” versus “Color”, don’t blame the cops  and dont’t blame our communities of color. The fault, and there is fault, falls squarely on those who should be smart enough and committed enough to demonstrate Black Lives Matter long before the two find themselves again with deadly irreconcilable differences –differences not always of their own making.


IJR: Elkhart 4 Await Decision Could Toss Enhanced Charges Committed During Felony

Elkhart 4 Teens Committed Home Invasion, One Was Killed. Should Survivors Be Serving 50 Years for Murder?

Any day now, the Indiana Supreme Court will make a decision that could give a reprieve to three teens who were convicted of murder – but who actually never killed anyone.

The teens, known as the “Elkhart 4,” were convicted for the October 2012 murder of their accomplice in a home robbery under Indiana’s Felony Murder law, because the killing occurred during the commission of a felony, which heightens the charges.

The homeowner actually pulled the trigger, but all four surviving robbers, Levi Sparks, Jose Quiroz Jr., Blake Layman, and Anthony Sharp Jr., were given 50-year sentences.

Read the rest here:

IJR: Oregon Sheriff Explains Why He Won’t Enforce a Proposed Gun Control Measure Even If It’s the Law

The Josephine County, Oregon Sheriff Says He Can’t be Bothered to Enforce the Proposed Law


One of my latest stories from Independent Journal Review:

An Oregon sheriff has voiced opposition to a proposed law that would require a background check on the private sale of guns. So, he just plans to ignore the law if it passes.

The Herald News Tribune reports that Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel repeated his position to a group of gun rights activists, saying the law doesn’t seem in line with the county charter.

Daniel added that the violation would only be a misdemeanor and that budget cutbacks don’t allow him to enforce such low-priority crimes:

Read the rest here:

IJR: Cuffed, Shackled & Masked and Then Tased

Here’s my piece on this case from Virginia getting a lot of attention to across the country:

A mentally ill woman, who was to be taken to get treatment, instead ended up dead in a Fairfax, Virginia, hospital.

NBC News 4 reports that Natasha McKenna’s death has spurred a discussion by Fairfax County officials about where obviously mentally ill people should be sent, instead of a jail cell.

Deputies say McKenna, who was in jail for assaulting a police officer, was going to a mental facility for treatment, but grew violent when they attempted to remove her from her cell.

But as The Washington Post reports, Natasha McKenna’s hands were cuffed behind her…

Read the rest here:


KXL: Portland’s ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Protesters Take Cop Training; Get ‘Killed’

‘Hands Up’ ‘cops’ threatened bad guys with ‘pistol-whipping’ and shot ‘unarmed’ suspect in the back.

Cop Training

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot/Black Lives Matter/Occupy activists Fahyim Accuay and Jesse Sponberg took on KXL’s challenge to undergo police training at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s training center to get a taste of what it’s like to be a cop. Sadly, they ‘died’.

Don’t feel bad, fellas, when I took some of that same training, I ‘died’ too. But, unlike Sponberg, I came away from the experience with a bunch more respect for a cop’s job.

KXL reporter Jim Ferretti posted his well done and exclusive report Life and Death Decisions here.  He ‘died’ a couple of times too.

Ferretti posted video of both activists in their scenario training.

First up: Fahyim Accuay:

Then Sponberg showed his prowess which included trying to grab a perp when he was beating a victim with a crowbar shouting death threats. After the bad guy chased and hit Sponberg with the crowbar, the perp began running away and Jesse shot him in the back (2:43 in the video).

In the after action meeting with the Clackamas County Deputies, Sponberg made a good point about cops having too few options to subdue bad guys. Often, they have only the choice of life and death, complained Sponberg, who, during his training tried to scare would be killers with his fists (yeah, doesn’t work), threats of a taser which was deployed (and ripped out ) but didn’t use his ‘gun’. 

Cops don’t have four hands. They can’t simultaneously deploy a night stick, pepper spray, taser and a gun. They have to choose which one will keep them safe. Yes, that’s right, cops lives are worth more because they’re under the color of authority and have been authorized with state police powers. 

But he also repeated the canard about how every ‘couple of days’ an unarmed black person is killed by a police officer.

Sponberg is wrong. Instead of doing his own homework (and while you’re at it, Jesse, check out the whole lie about Hands Up, Don’t Shoot) he would have known the claim has been debunked multiple times. It was first uttered by activists–one prominently featured in a debate with Larry Elder on CNN– and based on a ‘study’ if you can call it that, by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

I have little use for Politi’fact’ but here’s what the fact check outfit found:

The report is not an academic, unbiased representation of these deaths. It was put together by one volunteer researcher and details 313 deaths based on news clips and police reports. It arrives at one death “every 28 hours” by dividing the number of hours in a year, 8,760, by the number of deaths, 313.

[N]ot all of the “unarmed” people are analogous to Brown’s case or were killed by police.

Included in the unarmed tally, for instance, is Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens teen who was killed by a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman. In other cases, whether someone was really “unarmed” may depend on your definition. In nine cases, police said they shot at suspects because they were charging at them from behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Another case to make the list is Rudy Eugene, the Miami man who attacked a homeless man and gnawed his face before police shot him to death.

We also found several “unarmed” deaths that were due to accidents, many car crashes as officers sped to a scene. In another example, one woman was killed at her birthday party, hosted by an off-duty police officer, when she hugged the officer from behind and somehow set off his gun.

To those people like our, uh, ‘friend’ who flipped off Citizen Journalist Daylight Disinfectant for simply asking these folks a few on-point questions about cop killing chants, these facts will be ignored.

But my message to these cause du jour protesters is this: You’re less like iconoclasts and rebels and more like sheep. You’re being used by professional protester organizers and big money backers. See my piece for IJReview about it here. 

Do you know how unarmed blacks can stop being killed by cops? Stop attacking police officers. Let’s start there.

I’ll give them one thing: These protesters were willing to at least try to find out what it’s like to be in the shoes of the people they consider the enemy.

Must See Video: Cop “Lying his a$$ off” goes viral

Trucker appears to best Illinois State Patrol officer during bizarre stop


This is one of those ‘did you see that?!’ videos. A trucker honked at a state patrol officer for speeding while holding a cell phone on “wet pavement.” The cop turned around and pulled him over to hassle him about it.

You have to stick around for the pay off at the end. While my friend Q Madp, who drew my attention to this, thinks there might be something hinky with the timing on the trucker’s counter–not to mention the Guy Fawkes/Occupy mask on the seat–he thinks this is the real deal. Decide for yourself.

And remember: cops are required to live by the exact same laws you do–even when they’re working (except emergencies)

Things to think about:
*Cops cannot “use technology” while they’re driving any more than you can–unless they’re on an emergency
*It’s not a good idea to get snotty with a guy with a gun–especially a cop. You can respectfully make a point. They won’t like that, either.
*The trucker is smart in that he does not give the cop anything to give him probable cause. He didn’t admit to speeding. If he had, this would be over. As it turned out, he had proof he wasn’t.
*Yes, there really is a statute covering ‘unlawful use of horn.’ One time I was honking in support of people protesting a Pioneer Courthouse Square and, while stopped at a stop light, an officer told me I was illegally using my horn. Occupy could burn the place down, but I might be brought in for unlawful use of horn?
*It was smart to inform the officer he was being recorded. The officer has been informed which is in some states required.
*Note the cop hassling the guy for other information which is wholly beside the point. They’re hoping you’ll curl up and get scared. This trucker knew his rights and had proof on site.
*Note this thing is OVER right after the trucker told the cop he captured him on his dash cam. Game over.

Lesson? Record it. And don’t be an idiot and grab your camera when the cop is coming to your car. He’ll think you’re grabbing for a gun.

Lucky 13! Obama-Holder “extreme” views rebuked by Supreme Court again

scotusThe US Supreme Court ruled unanimously today making recess appointments when the Congress is not in recess is, uh, unconstitutional. But that’s only the latest ruling slapping down the Obama Administration’s attempt to expand its powers.

As John Fund reports over at National Review,

Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions? It continued its abysmal record before the Supreme Court today with the announcement of two unanimous opinions against arguments the administration had supported. First, the Court rejected the administration’s power grab on recess appointments by making clear it could not decide when the Senate was in recess. Then it unanimously tossed out a law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protests that the Obama administration argued on behalf of before the Court (though the case was led by Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley).

And Fund is especially galled at the attempt by the Obama Administration to steal away even more civil liberties–all of which have been slapped down by SCOTUS. These decisions include the ruling preventing police from looking at your cell phone without a warrant, stopping the Obama-Holder justice department from putting GPS units on cars at will without a warrant and telling protesters they can be put in a special free speech zones near abortion clinics. 

Fort Hood Active shooter response time is 15 MINUTES?

How Fort Hood’s response time stacks up to cities in the US.

fort hood

When Lt General Mark A. Milley revealed the response time of Military Police to the shooter at Fort Hood as 15-20 minute at a news conference last night ,  it was a sit-up-straight-mouth-agape-moment. I wrote about it here last night. 

Fifteen MINUTES for an ACTIVE SHOOTER? Fifteen minutes to stop a man with a gun predating upon our finest and best trained warriors without anyone to stop him? Fifteen? 

Fort Hood, Texas is BIG. It’s a military reservation of about 45,000 people on 335 square miles “deep in the heart of Texas.”  It’s a vast area for MP’s to cover which is just another reason why the trained soldiers who call Fort Hood their temporary home should be able to carry weapons. 

Here’s how that 15-20  response time compares with other cities. When the times have a wide variance because police agencies lump high priority with low priority calls, I give you a range. 

Houston Code 1’s (of which an active shooter surely would be one): 3.5 to 5.5 minutes.

Fort Worth:  5 to 7:55.

Atlanta: An average of 11 minutes and 11 seconds.

Denver: 11 minutes

Tucson: 10.11

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 5:17 (for shootings)

The other salient fact is the average time a perpetrator stays in contact with a victim. The answer to that is about 75 seconds. 

The old saw goes: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. It’s not their fault. They have to react, prioritize and respond. Until they get there, you’re on your own. And so are our soldiers. It’s a travesty.


Some advice to San Diego strippers

Photo by the Union Tribune
Photo by the Union Tribune

San Diego Police do stripper shaming while conducting “inspections.” Here’s my advice to the girls.

San Diego police are in charge of inspecting the sometimes murky and underworldly (yes, new word) nature of the stripper biz. Before you hit the pole tonight,  I want you to take seriously what I’m about to tell you.

For those of you unfamiliar with this story, here’s a bit of a recap. Recently, the cops busted into the Cheetahs strip club in Kearny Mesa, lined ‘the girls’ up against the wall, took pictures of their tattoos whereever they existed and checked their ‘paper work’ (permits). I wrote about this  here. The police said this was a routine inspection.

Now I’m back with advice. It’s advice I’ve shared before here. 

In short, the advice is this: you are not obligated to talk to a cop and you are not obligated to stay in a place against your will under color of a cop’s authority unless you have been arrested. If this ever happens again, you may, without disrespect or flippancy, ask  if you’re under arrest. If the cop’s answer is ‘no’ you are free to go. Double check with your boss or attorney if he wants you to do this, but, in the end, it’s your freedom we’re talking about, after all. 

See, I love the cops. I’ve always had their backs, but sometimes they don’t have your best interests at heart. Sometimes their job doesn’t align with your interests and rights. And that’s why you must watch the video here and learn about them. Carve out an hour of time to watch this.

I’m not a big stripper fan, but I’m a liberty lover. I am outraged by the cops’ treatment of you and yours at Cheetahs a few weeks ago. That was not an inspection, that was an invasion. This regulatory, perfunctory inspection looked like a SWAT action. You were treated like lawbreakers. It was horrible.

I heard you’re suing.





Inspection?! Flak jacketed, gun drawing San Diego Police raid strip club to “check permits”

If this is a routine vice inspection, I tremble to see a SWAT action.

Who thought this was a good idea? Last Thursday night ten officers with the San Diego Police Department vice squad burst into a San Diego area strip club, shut down the place, and then lined up Destiny, Amber and the rest of their stripping sisterhood to take their pictures and “check their permits.”

“They asked us for our licenses and then took down our Social Security and had us line up in the back of the dressing rooms and take pictures,” said stripper Katelynn Delorie.

Why? Even the Cheetah Club manager was in the dark.

“I didn’t know if it was a bank robbery or serial killer on the loose the way they had come in like that,” said manager Rich Buonantony.

The police issued this statement (via UPI),

San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer released the following statement about the incident:

“One of the many responsibilities of the San Diego Police Department’s Vice Unit is to conduct random inspections of strip clubs to ensure dancers are complying with the law and that they have an entertainers permit. In most cases, Vice Unit detectives do not require or request clubs to shut down. Photographs of the entertainers permit and the person in possession of it are taken for investigative purposes.” [emphasis mine]

It was an INSPECTION?! From the Washington Post 

So this was a regulatory operation. But instead of sending a few bureaucrats to do the paperwork, the city of San Diego thought it appropriate to send a team of gun-toting cops to raid the place (similar to recent masked, militarized SWAT raids on massage parlors). Remember, according to the report, there was no suspicion of criminal activity here. This was a routine inspection. 

WaPo even takes a swipe at local TV station 10News for protecting the cops’ identities (see the story below),

It’s also puzzling why the TV station felt obligated to protect the identities of the police officers. If this was truly just a regulatory inspection, the cops wouldn’t be undercover officers. So what’s the point? This seems to be to be a pretty questionable use of that sort of force. The TV station obviously believes there’s at least an argument to be made that it was, or they wouldn’t have aired the story. TV stations air the names and photos of people suspected of crimes all the time. Yet police officers are public servants, who are authorized to carry guns, forcibly detain, and in some cases kill. There’s a strong argument that journalists should make every effort to expose the identities of officers who use force in questionable ways, not go out of their way to obscure them.

 Hear, hear. 

I don’t like strip clubs. I think they’re gross and attract a bad element. If there’s a reason the cops thought it was fine to raid the strip club and had a warrant, fine. But there was nothing of the sort alluded to. The Lieutenant said it was “an inspection” and later said it was “for investgative purposes.” Which is it? Is there an investigation or not?

Do cops the county health department raid businesses and take pictures of law abiding waiters to make sure they have their food handlers cards? Is this behavior NORMAL?

Bernie Giusto and I have been commenting on KOGO Radio and on this blog about the San Diego Police Department and its wayward ways here and here. Even with a new chief in place, here we go again.