Police misbehavior thread

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Coyne
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:57 am UTC



"Head jerk", "stutter step"; looks like the normal effects of recoil to me. And the officer did not "immediately holster" his weapon; he held what looks to me like a shooting stance for about a second after firing. As for not firing two shots: no target after the first shot, Thomas immediately dropped back into the vehicle.

To drive it home, Officer Feaster concealed the event, even if only by omission. Only when he realized someone was going to be sent to the cantina to investigate, and he realized he would be exposed anyway, did he finally admit he "might" have shot Thomas.

I get a sense that there was prior contact between Officer Feaster and Thomas. This looks to me a lot like an "This is the last time, asshole," shooting. Otherwise, why even draw the gun? All Thomas was doing was lifting himself out of the vehicle; and with both hands, no gun threat. Feaster was five steps away, it wasn't like Thomas was likely to escape. Even if he did manage to run, the police had the vehicle; he wasn't getting away. Given the circumstances, I don't see any reason even to draw.

But if Thomas was already known to Feaster--a prior, annoying history--then an irritated spur-of-the-moment draw makes sense. Even if we buy the DA's argument that the actual shooting wasn't intentional.

I'd give a lot to know what was said as Feaster was looking down into the car, right after the shooting. I suspect that would tell us a lot, one way or the other.
In all fairness...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:He shouldn't have pressed his luck by going beyond 12...


I believe they charged him with over 20. But the jury thought the prosecution "only" proved 13 cases adequately.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Dec 12, 2015 6:56 pm UTC

My understanding was that they brought 36 charges against him, which involved 13 victims, and of which he was convicted for 18.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:53 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:This is fucking unbelievable. How can anyone continue to defend the police?


Because doing nothing is easier and cheaper in the short term than doing something. And besides, police are humans; humans with relatives and friends and so forth, and once you are done with high school/college, it's incredibly difficult to find new friends and relatives. So, politics.

Cracked had one story about a girl who was raped repeatedly by her father. The local policeman knew about it, but since the father sold meth to the officer, the officer did nothing. Because doing something would've meant finding a new meth dealer, and praying the old one didn't rat you out. Politics.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:53 am UTC

And here's another one: an innocent man has died – following 6 years of severe disability – as the result of injuries he suffered when a sheriff's deputy slammed him into a concrete wall. The deputy did not face criminal charges or lose his job, even though the county paid a 10 million dollar settlement to the victim's widow.

Let me reiterate: we live in a country where the police can kill innocent people with total impunity.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:01 am UTC

Lazar wrote:Let me reiterate: we live in a country where the police can kill innocent people with total impunity.
And then charge the taxpayers $10M for their fuckups.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:31 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Lazar wrote:Let me reiterate: we live in a country where the police can kill innocent people with total impunity.
And then charge the taxpayers $10M for their fuckups.

To be fair, the point of that 10M$ settlement was so there wouldn't be a charge or firing. That's why it's a settlement. But yes, having payments for bad behavior not come out of the police budget means lessons aren't learned.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Grop » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:01 am UTC

sardia wrote:having payments for bad behavior not come out of the police budget means lessons aren't learned.


That would still be taxpayers' money, as opposed to holding an individual accountable for what they did. Also it could mean trouble if police spent their budget on such agreements instead of doing their job.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby BlackSails » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:59 am UTC

Require police to carry liability insurance, like doctors, and make them individually responsible. Then the union has to decide on defending a particular office or defending the dept the same way malpractice suits often position the hospital against the doctor.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:21 pm UTC

Grop wrote:
That would still be taxpayers' money, as opposed to holding an individual accountable for what they did. Also it could mean trouble if police spent their budget on such agreements instead of doing their job.

How is it any different when you want the police to spend their entire budget on malpractice insurance? Either way, the money that flows to settlements isn't part of the police budget, but out of general tax payer funds. Making it come out of the police budget means questions are asked and approvals have to be granted before money is spent like that. Now if the police clout is so strong that they can get money regardless of having to ask for it, then it doesn't matter either way because you aren't able to get these changes passed in the first place. Speaking of fantasy solutions, fire any cop that gets more than 100 complaints in 5 years. There are a small group of cops who get the most complaints and abuse the most people. This solves it easily with already in place infrastructure. You just need the cop union to roll over on this one. (Where's the GOP union busting when you need them?)

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Grop » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:59 pm UTC

The problem is not with money, but with cops not facing criminal charges for their acts of brutality. Even firing them is quite unsatisfying, because when you hurt people the penalties shouldn't be about your job.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:15 pm UTC

Grop wrote:The problem is not with money, but with cops not facing criminal charges for their acts of brutality. Even firing them is quite unsatisfying, because when you hurt people the penalties shouldn't be about your job.

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Grop » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:28 pm UTC

Well I am not paying my taxes there.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:34 pm UTC

Grop wrote:The problem is not with money, but with cops not facing criminal charges any penalty whatsoever for their acts of brutality. Even firing them is quite unsatisfying, because when you hurt people the penalties shouldn't be about your job.

I have been nibbling around the idea that the officers should be responsible personally for, perhaps, 0.1% of any award or settlement. For the $10 million above, 0.1% would make the officer's share $10,000. That would hurt them in the pocketbook, which does actually still seem to have an effect on them. But for a moderate settlement, it's not ruinous. Basically, you take our rights, we take your money.

Right now, it means nothing to the police, because it is neither their money nor even the department's money: it's just the taxpayers' money...and who cares about the taxpayers?
In all fairness...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:12 pm UTC

I don't know, that kid who was forgotten about and nearly died after 5 days in a holding cell (while handcuffed) only got 4.5M. The officer in charge only paying $4500 is rather low. Make it 5% of the settlement.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Grop » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:09 am UTC

I certainly don't like the idea of having money settle everything as opposed to jail timelike what normal people face when they assault other people. But then that whole settlement thing is quite alien to me. Certainly if you kill someone you can't just settle things with their family and face no consequences against government ? How does jail even exist, is that only for people who cannot pay? Can you kill people if their family plans to settle for 0?

Also I would think poorly of a system where cops are punished a 10% of something no matter how responsible they are. In my view it should be typically either 0 or 100%.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:01 am UTC

Grop wrote:I certainly don't like the idea of having money settle everything as opposed to jail timelike what normal people face when they assault other people. But then that whole settlement thing is quite alien to me. Certainly if you kill someone you can't just settle things with their family and face no consequences against government ? How does jail even exist, is that only for people who cannot pay? Can you kill people if their family plans to settle for 0?

Also I would think poorly of a system where cops are punished a 10% of something no matter how responsible they are. In my view it should be typically either 0 or 100%.

Say you were agitated one day after a party and you ran over someone in the night. The family wants you arrested for manslaughter. You counter with not guilty. Instead you do a settlement to pay for damages, but you don't go to jail. The reason you do this is because it's cheaper to pay out than it is to go full lawyered up defense. The family agrees because they rather have a sure thing over a chance.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:39 am UTC

Grop wrote:I certainly don't like the idea of having money settle everything as opposed to jail timelike what normal people face when they assault other people. But then that whole settlement thing is quite alien to me. Certainly if you kill someone you can't just settle things with their family and face no consequences against government ? How does jail even exist, is that only for people who cannot pay? Can you kill people if their family plans to settle for 0?


I think it depends precisely on what kind of charge you're facing. If it's a criminal charge, the DA can choose to prosecute or not, regardless of what the victim(s) or their families want. In this case, you generally would do a plea bargain with the DA under a lesser charge--say murder two goes to manslaughter or whatever.

Entirely separately from this, the victim(s) or their families can sue. Generally, when people talk about "settling out of court", this is the aspect they're referring to. It's not a criminal proceeding, it's a dispute between two parties. Settling out of court is basically that they reach an agreement whether one party agrees to pay the other party some fraction of the total suit to drop it, with maybe a nondisclosure clause or something tacked on it. Civil courts generally have lower standards of evidence (you don't need to prove reasonable doubt, just show proof on balance of probabilities), so even if there isn't enough evidence to convict criminally, there might be evidence to win a civil suit. In a famous example, OJ Simpson was found not guilty of the murder of his wife and friend, but was successfully sued civilly by the families of the deceased for wrongful death for $33 million.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

Grop wrote:I certainly don't like the idea of having money settle everything as opposed to jail timelike what normal people face when they assault other people. But then that whole settlement thing is quite alien to me. Certainly if you kill someone you can't just settle things with their family and face no consequences against government ? How does jail even exist, is that only for people who cannot pay? Can you kill people if their family plans to settle for 0?

Also I would think poorly of a system where cops are punished a 10% of something no matter how responsible they are. In my view it should be typically either 0 or 100%.

It would be better than no penalty at all, which is what we often get now: hardly ever any charges, hardly ever a meaningful penalty (suspension with pay for 3 days is only an abstract penalty). From time to time they'll suspend an officer without pay for a couple of days, but that's about $250/day at best (and i think they're allowed to apply vacation pay, usually). Most often, officer penalties amount to hand slap with one of those nerf "#1" hands.

I've wavered on the penalty as I've tried to consider the consequences. I've thought 0.1% is about right: $1 per $1,000 of settlement. But there's two types of penalty outcomes: jury award and negotiated settlement.

If the jury said it was wrong, then Mr. Officer is out of luck and should pay: I see no problem with that. But that's actually comparatively rare; these cases don't usually go before a jury.

Most often what happens these days is the negotiated settlement, which is sort of equivalent to a nolo contendre plea: if the officer did nothing wrong, why the settlement? Yes, I know the argument that settlements are made to avoid an expensive legal battle. My position on that is, "So what?" If the law is clearly on the side of the Officer, why would you settle at all? Judge should have thrown it out in that case. So again, I see no problem with the officer having to pay a portion of the settlement...but then again, maybe there should be some other process to decide if the officer has to shell out in this situation. Not sure.

It's like I argued with someone years ago: Suppose you got a $20 ticket absolutely every single time you parked illegally...would you still park illegally? (He conceded: probably not.) The problem is that officers almost always avoid any penalty for wrongdoing (or at least that's my perception) so let's give them a certainty of punishment, even if the punishment is small. Do something wrong, get sued, make a $5.9 million settlement and, Mr. Officer, you have to pay $5,900 of that. That's not going to ruin his life, but it might make him think twice before the next time he chokes someone to death with an illegal choke hold.
In all fairness...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:17 pm UTC

But all the officer has to do is not get caught.

Just have a "no shots" bonus each month. Never fire your gun? $500 that month. Incidentally salaries go down by $6000. Really need to shoot someone? Justified or not, lose the bonus.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:29 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But all the officer has to do is not get caught.

Just have a "no shots" bonus each month. Never fire your gun? $500 that month. Incidentally salaries go down by $6000. Really need to shoot someone? Justified or not, lose the bonus.

I shoot the guy, and then claim he was shot in a gang shootout. Thanks for the extra paperwork.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby freezeblade » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:22 am UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:But all the officer has to do is not get caught.

Just have a "no shots" bonus each month. Never fire your gun? $500 that month. Incidentally salaries go down by $6000. Really need to shoot someone? Justified or not, lose the bonus.

I shoot the guy, and then claim he was shot in a gang shootout. Thanks for the extra paperwork.


This is where body cameras and dash cams come in handy.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:21 am UTC

Chicago police unions fight to suppress and destroy records of citizen complaints, claiming that their release would result in "public humiliation and loss of prestige in their employment". Yeah, I guess it probably would.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:59 pm UTC

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how ... isconduct/
The extensive catalog of complaints against officers appears to bear out the theory of a few bad apples: Among the 7,758 police officers who received a complaint during that time period, more than half received less than one per year (officers with zero complaints do not appear in the database). Meanwhile, the bad apples seem to be the ones racking up the grievances.

Well what do you know, I was right when I said you should just fire every officer(or demote them to permanent desk duty) who had more than 5 complaints.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:13 am UTC

sardia wrote:Well what do you know, I was right when I said you should just fire every officer(or demote them to permanent desk duty) who had more than 5 complaints.

You might be right - but only so long as such a policy is secret.

If it's known then it'd become too easy to threaten (or even just troll) honest officers: "Pretend you didn't see me doing [relatively small crime] else I and four of my mates will make a complaint against you"...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:27 am UTC

elasto wrote:
If it's known then it'd become too easy to threaten (or even just troll) honest officers: "Pretend you didn't see me doing [relatively small crime] else I and four of my mates will make a complaint against you"...

Good point, let's fire all the ones we have records on now, and we'll figure out how to deal with the surviving menace in a different way. Maybe force officers to live on site.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:30 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
elasto wrote:
If it's known then it'd become too easy to threaten (or even just troll) honest officers: "Pretend you didn't see me doing [relatively small crime] else I and four of my mates will make a complaint against you"...

Good point, let's fire all the ones we have records on now, and we'll figure out how to deal with the surviving menace in a different way. Maybe force officers to live on site.


Probably a bad idea to have officers living in a special community. Part of the problem is an "Us Vs. Them" mentality that divorces the officers from the community they serve. They're not part of the community working to make the community better, they're patrolling hostile territory where anyone can be a wasteland raider just waiting to loot their corpse.

Okay, I'm probably playing too much Fallout 4, but the point stands. If the 'reason'/'excuse' that police are shooting suspects and the DA isn't prosecuting is because the officers are claiming 'fear for their own safety' and it's sticking, segregating officers from the community at large isn't going to engender a greater sense of trust from officers or the community.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
elasto wrote:
If it's known then it'd become too easy to threaten (or even just troll) honest officers: "Pretend you didn't see me doing [relatively small crime] else I and four of my mates will make a complaint against you"...

Good point, let's fire all the ones we have records on now, and we'll figure out how to deal with the surviving menace in a different way. Maybe force officers to live on site.


At a minimum, it seems reasonable to keep a close eye on those who get numerous complaints. Sure, in theory, it could be just some crank, but...it's worth looking at. Perhaps a certain number of complaints would trigger a review by an external agency?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:07 pm UTC

The magic number in the data is 4+.

It's a common complaint that cops are often commuters, they live in safe suburbs and work in the city. The theory goes that this gives the US vs them mentality.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:10 pm UTC

Cops in NYC mostly live in the poorest Burrough, Staten Island.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:39 pm UTC

Are you joking? Staten Island has the highest median household income, the second highest mean household income and the lowest percentage in poverty. It's also the whitest and most Republican.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:53 pm UTC

Maybe he's referring to how Staten island is one of the worst places to grow up poor? Cuz not only are they rich but they're cheapskates too.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ ... d-neighbor
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:57 pm UTC

Exit the vampires' castle.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:27 pm UTC

And once again, prosecutors make a mockery of the grand jury system by sabotaging their own case. Funny how the old ham sandwich aphorism never seems to apply when the defendant is a cop.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:16 am UTC

Lazar wrote:And once again, prosecutors make a mockery of the grand jury system by sabotaging their own case. Funny how the old ham sandwich aphorism never seems to apply when the defendant is a cop.


I like how in this case it is a mockery of the system for a Prosecutor to execute (essentially) proprietorial discretion, while in other cases, prosecutors were mistaken for not executing enough discretion. The fact of the matter is, a prosecutor has the privilege to push for, or against, a case as strongly she (or he) wishes. (She because the highest ranking prosecutor of the USA is currently female). In this case, the prosecutor doesn't want to push very hard for reasons. The solution is to elect a prosecutor who does what you want.

A basic human fact is that you cannot force someone to do a good job. The only thing you can do is (hopefully) hire the right person for the job. If you don't like the prosecutor, then elect a better one. Michael O'Malley is already using the Tamir Rice case as a reason to elect him instead of re-elect Tim McGinty.

Black lives matter. But you know what else matters? Local elections. So people need to start voting and researching these sorts of things at a local level. If Tim McGinty is still the Cuyahoga County prosecutor in a few years, then all this complaining would have been for naught.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:33 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Lazar wrote:And once again, prosecutors make a mockery of the grand jury system by sabotaging their own case. Funny how the old ham sandwich aphorism never seems to apply when the defendant is a cop.


I like how in this case it is a mockery of the system for a Prosecutor to execute (essentially) proprietorial discretion, while in other cases, prosecutors were mistaken for not executing enough discretion. The fact of the matter is, a prosecutor has the privilege to push for, or against, a case as strongly she (or he) wishes. (She because the highest ranking prosecutor of the USA is currently female). In this case, the prosecutor doesn't want to push very hard for reasons. The solution is to elect a prosecutor who does what you want.

A basic human fact is that you cannot force someone to do a good job. The only thing you can do is (hopefully) hire the right person for the job. If you don't like the prosecutor, then elect a better one. Michael O'Malley is already using the Tamir Rice case as a reason to elect him instead of re-elect Tim McGinty.

Black lives matter. But you know what else matters? Local elections. So people need to start voting and researching these sorts of things at a local level. If Tim McGinty is still the Cuyahoga County prosecutor in a few years, then all this complaining would have been for naught.
Except the people in charge get to decide when elections are held, and for how long.
Make elections a holiday? Nope.
Make it mandatory voting? Nope.
Longer available hours and more voting stations? Not if the GOP has anything to say about it.
Generous registration to vote so you can vote shortly before an election? Nope.
Not forcing poll taxes or literacy tests? Nope, the GOP slips these through by calling it voter ID or making polling booths far away. A disincentive to the poor, cough*democrats*cough.
They also get to schedule an election. One time, I took a shortcut through a church and I found out they were having a local election. Nobody in the city knew except for the party insiders, who handily won in a landslide.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:51 am UTC

sardia wrote:Except the people in charge get to decide when elections are held, and for how long.
Make elections a holiday? Nope.
Make it mandatory voting? Nope.
Longer available hours and more voting stations? Not if the GOP has anything to say about it.
Generous registration to vote so you can vote shortly before an election? Nope.
Not forcing poll taxes or literacy tests? Nope, the GOP slips these through by calling it voter ID or making polling booths far away. A disincentive to the poor, cough*democrats*cough.
They also get to schedule an election. One time, I took a shortcut through a church and I found out they were having a local election. Nobody in the city knew except for the party insiders, who handily won in a landslide.


You realize Tim McGinty, the prosecutor in the Tamir Rice case, is a Democrat, right? And that his fellow Democrats are already working to kick him out.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:21 am UTC

To be fair, I only mentioned the GOP in two of the 7 ways that elections are skewed towards party insiders/passionate primary voters. The Democrats have been guilty of doing similar things, mostly with scheduling elections at odd times (to boost union representation was the latest example). Unless you get all these through, you end up with two options. You somehow convince the base that he's worthless, or you convince a lot of nonvoters to suddenly vote. Sure it happens every blue moon, but I don't expect much from outrage. It takes far too long for outrage to work, and you need perfect test cases. Like an adorable black kid who isn't too black, or some horrendous figure who likes legitimate rape. I still can't believe Akin still almost won that one.

Edit: Just to be clear, you're expecting outrage to allow poor people to somehow take time out, and vote twice a year, during the weekday. And for them to follow the news, not just national, but local issues. That's not impossible, but you're gonna lose like 2/3rds of your support when it comes time to vote on a 2pm Tuesday school day.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:59 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
sardia wrote:Except the people in charge get to decide when elections are held, and for how long.
Make elections a holiday? Nope.
Make it mandatory voting? Nope.
Longer available hours and more voting stations? Not if the GOP has anything to say about it.
Generous registration to vote so you can vote shortly before an election? Nope.
Not forcing poll taxes or literacy tests? Nope, the GOP slips these through by calling it voter ID or making polling booths far away. A disincentive to the poor, cough*democrats*cough.
They also get to schedule an election. One time, I took a shortcut through a church and I found out they were having a local election. Nobody in the city knew except for the party insiders, who handily won in a landslide.


You realize Tim McGinty, the prosecutor in the Tamir Rice case, is a Democrat, right?

You realize that has fuck-all to do with any of the other points or with the general fact that elections are not as straightforward for many people as you seem to imagine, right?

Also, nice derailing, but telling people to vote doesn't change the fact that the prosecutor made a mockery of the grand jury system by sabotaging their own case.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Trebla
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Trebla » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:34 pm UTC

sardia wrote:They also get to schedule an election. One time, I took a shortcut through a church and I found out they were having a local election. Nobody in the city knew except for the party insiders, who handily won in a landslide.


Am I the only one who's curious what type of shortcut takes you through a church?


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