Police misbehavior thread

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elasto
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:11 am UTC

bantler wrote:But it's usually for the greater good to shoot people who seem to be brandishing a weapon after running over dozens of people.

How is it for the greater good? If you capture him alive you can obtain information about his support network, why he went down this path and so on. All things useful either to prevent an imminent attack by the same group or a similar group in the future.

Even if he's just a lone wolf, insight might be gained into how to fine tune mental health services or future police investigations.

The only risk is really to the police officer who's pointing a gun at him, waiting to see if he'll shoot first - which used to be seen as a virtue - the thing all the heroes would do in the movies!

The average US cop's mindset seems to have morphed into 'meh, he has his hands up but that might be a gun there in his sock, better shoot him 38 times just to make sure...'

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:38 pm UTC

Again, that's the mindset if the person is Black. It's quite a bit less common for white mass shooters, somehow.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby bantler » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:47 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
bantler wrote:But it's usually for the greater good to shoot people who seem to be brandishing a weapon after running over dozens of people.

How is it for the greater good? If you capture him alive you can obtain information about his support network, why he went down this path and so on. All things useful either to prevent an imminent attack by the same group or a similar group in the future.

Even if he's just a lone wolf, insight might be gained into how to fine tune mental health services or future police investigations.

The only risk is really to the police officer who's pointing a gun at him, waiting to see if he'll shoot first - which used to be seen as a virtue - the thing all the heroes would do in the movies!

The average US cop's mindset seems to have morphed into 'meh, he has his hands up but that might be a gun there in his sock, better shoot him 38 times just to make sure...'


The cops first duty is to protect. I'd put it before serve. Insight and support-network info is worth far less than casualties, even an officers.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby bantler » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:49 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Again, that's the mindset if the person is Black. It's quite a bit less common for white mass shooters, somehow.


Black hands look like guns.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:50 pm UTC

It's for the greater good that they go to trial. People need to know the justice system is functioning, that the police are more than a step removed from death squads, that violent crime will not end in 15 seconds of blazed glorydom but in 15 years of glazed boredom.

That reminds me of Scared Straight. It was a white people feel good program where they took minority "at risk" teens and paraded the biggest, blackest, scariest prison inmates they could find in front of the kids. The idea was that the kids would meet the people they would be sharing a cell with, and they would avoid prison. The actual result was that the kids saw these big badass rapists that ruled the prisons and thought "hey, I want to be that guy". There was another program, I forget where, where instead of the badasses, the kids were shown people that had been there for decades. Frail, scared and toothless, the kids got to see a worse future for themselves, and it had better results.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:27 pm UTC

bantler wrote:The cops first duty is to protect. I'd put it before serve. Insight and support-network info is worth far less than casualties, even an officers.

But 'insight and support-network info' means less casualties tomorrow.

It's the same reason Scandinavian prisons focus so heavily on rehabilitation, meaning their recidivism rates and overall crime rates are so much lower.

The US mentality is so short-term-ist.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:35 pm UTC

bantler wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Again, that's the mindset if the person is Black. It's quite a bit less common for white mass shooters, somehow.


Black hands look like guns.

Yeah so near as I can tell you've never contributed anything useful or valuable to a discussion here.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:52 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
bantler wrote:The cops first duty is to protect. I'd put it before serve. Insight and support-network info is worth far less than casualties, even an officers.

But 'insight and support-network info' means less casualties tomorrow.

It's the same reason Scandinavian prisons focus so heavily on rehabilitation, meaning their recidivism rates and overall crime rates are so much lower.

The US mentality is so short-term-ist.



I remember reading or watching something with regards to dictatorships, and how they were better at protecting the environment since the people in charge would still expect to be in charge 20 years later when the shit hit the fan and didnt have to worry too much about keeping citizens happy. That's part of the problem in the US, where every politician promises the world, to stay in power they borrow under the expectation that the next guy will have the mess, or they gut infrastructure maintenance or schools since society could get by for years before that comes back to bite harder than the pirhana-gator.

Prisons are like that. Make the streets safe, lock up all the suspicious individuals, and spend no money on rehab. Then act surprised that the crime rate returns to high levels, so just lock people up even longer...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:51 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I remember reading or watching something with regards to dictatorships, and how they were better at protecting the environment since the people in charge would still expect to be in charge 20 years later when the shit hit the fan and didnt have to worry too much about keeping citizens happy.

I think that, in the real world, that's more than mitigated by the fact that they tend to be horrible at managing the economy though, leaving little hard cash to actually spend on that in practice...

However, when you get one-party states that happen to be pretty decent at managing the economy you get situations like in China, where they have booming industry but also serious long-term investment in infrastructure and technologies that have a long-term payoff, like green energy.

(Having said that, they don't have a great record on environmental protections either, they are basically arch-capitalist except the capital happens to be owned by multiple near-unaccountable public corporations rather than multiple near-unaccountable private corporations as happens in the West...)

Plus the election cycle in the US is just crazy, with politicians having to spend about half their time in office campaigning and becoming beholden to special interest groups as well as having to buy off the electorate with short-term bribes...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:55 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
bantler wrote:The cops first duty is to protect. I'd put it before serve. Insight and support-network info is worth far less than casualties, even an officers.

But 'insight and support-network info' means less casualties tomorrow.

It's the same reason Scandinavian prisons focus so heavily on rehabilitation, meaning their recidivism rates and overall crime rates are so much lower.

The US mentality is so short-term-ist.


Agreed. Serve is, ultimately, not as glamorous as protect. New York once had some broken windows research done, and basically, areas in which it was socially acceptable to have lots of busted up windows developed problems with more dramatic crimes. Folks...sometimes take the wrong lessons from this. Well, not wrong, exactly, but incomplete. It can be an argument for strict enforcement of minor crimes, absolutely. It can also be an argument for stop and frisk and who knows what else....

But it can also be a valuable warning sign about an area. Maybe there's more busted windows because nobody has money for repairs, maybe more idle folks because no jobs...sure, it's a crime thing, but it's not just a crime thing. To look at cop shows, you'd think that cops, yknow, actually investigate and what not. Most of time, eh, they can just about be bothered to write up a report. Sometimes they don't even want to do that. I had a vehicle totally destroyed recently by vandals, and someone even saw the two who did it. Did cops say, dust for prints? Go inquire in the area that the two fled to? Nah. Wrote a report sufficient for the insurance company and drove away. Same thing they did when everything was being stolen from front lawns. I don't really expect that this neighborhood will get any better crime-wise. I got a video cam, in the hopes that the next incident, I'll be able to get video, but most of the neighbors have just resigned themselves to stuff getting trashed. Doesn't have to be this way, though. Cops could, yknow, try.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby addams » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:40 am UTC

oh, Tyndmyr;
I'm so sad that you have had to give up on your neighborhood.
That is Way too common in our nation.

We have a "Problem" group in our neighborhood, too.
I am, also, frustrated by the local law enforcement.
Spoiler:
Our people are profoundly undereducated.
Meth and Alcohol are obviously the root cause for our "Problem" group.
But....Dang!
The last Officer they sent out, I couldn't get mad at.
He seemed so Young and Innocent.

I told him I wanted tell him off.
He told me he was yelled and cussed at often.

Gee...I, kind'a, felt for him.
There IS corruption above his head.

The poor, sweet man.
He is not jaded, yet.

Is there any hope that he will stay nice?
He may be caught in a system without choice for him.

Years of that will harden any heart.
Maybe, we can reach the young ones.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:33 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:To look at cop shows, you'd think that cops, yknow, actually investigate and what not. Most of time, eh, they can just about be bothered to write up a report. Sometimes they don't even want to do that. I had a vehicle totally destroyed recently by vandals, and someone even saw the two who did it. Did cops say, dust for prints? Go inquire in the area that the two fled to? Nah. Wrote a report sufficient for the insurance company and drove away. Same thing they did when everything was being stolen from front lawns. I don't really expect that this neighborhood will get any better crime-wise. I got a video cam, in the hopes that the next incident, I'll be able to get video, but most of the neighbors have just resigned themselves to stuff getting trashed. Doesn't have to be this way, though. Cops could, yknow, try.

I wonder if it's a lack of resources thing or them just getting jaded. It's probably a bit of both.

I lived in one neighbourhood years ago that was a nightmare.

One time I woke up in the morning to find my front door had been prised open but I couldn't see anything missing. When I got to my car I found it wasn't parked quite where I left it and my seat had been pushed back. Super weird!

I called the police but they weren't very interested. Not sure they even dusted for prints.

It was only subsequently that I remembered that my downstairs neighbour had knocked on my door the previous evening asking if I had any cigarettes. I did not. Draw your own conclusion...

A week or two later I had another break-in - this time a panel on my front door had been forced out, and they'd come upstairs and stolen my wallet. Unfortunately I was only a few days away from heading to Vegas on holiday so he took a lot of cash I had already exchanged up. I don't have any memory of the police doing much that time either.

The silver lining was that I moved all my stuff into a friend's place for while I would be on holiday. And it was a good thing I did because I got a call while in Vegas to say that my downstairs neighbour, after failing to break through the now reinforced front door had broken through his ceiling and through my stairs and got into my property that way. Yeah, a real criminal master mind at work there, like a lowbrow episode of Ocean's One or something...

Ok so there were obviously severe mental issues involved there, and I'm not even entirely sure what the point of my story is, but it feels like someone could have done something earlier to help this guy.

Rather like your broken windows example, it's not that broken windows in and of themselves need a disproportionate response from law enforcement, but they are a signal that something is going badly wrong, and professional intervention in some capacity is warranted. Likewise the fact that someone took my car and returned it should have been a trigger to someone that some deeper digging needed to occur...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:05 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I wonder if it's a lack of resources thing or them just getting jaded. It's probably a bit of both.


Little of both. Most police departments are staffed at levels that force them to prioritize resources when it comes to actual investigations... and the unfortunate reality when it comes to things like break-ins is that 1) it's very difficult to find the thieves, and 2) it's very difficult to get an actual conviction. Most small timers get deals that make the time and effort not worth it.

One time I woke up in the morning to find my front door had been prised open but I couldn't see anything missing. When I got to my car I found it wasn't parked quite where I left it and my seat had been pushed back. Super weird!

I called the police but they weren't very interested. Not sure they even dusted for prints.


Well, from their perspective, you have your car, nobody was hurt, and the odds of them finding the people who took it are extremely remote. And even if they do find them, chances are they'll get off with almost nothing; so really no point in finding them.

As an aside, as far dusting for prints goes... it's actually pretty difficult to get good prints from something like a car, because your car will typically be covered in your own prints and the prints of people who've ridden with you, borrowed the car, etc, etc... and picking out the suspect prints from all of the legit ones would be next to impossible, because they'd literally have to examine each print - way too time consuming to be remotely feasible. The same applies for your house; there are just too many legit prints in a typical house to make it feasible.

If they're dealing with something truly serious like a murder or a kidnapping, that's a different matter; but they're not going to expend the time or resources for a robbery, unless they have some very specific item that they believe will hold a usable print.

It was only subsequently that I remembered that my downstairs neighbour had knocked on my door the previous evening asking if I had any cigarettes. I did not. Draw your own conclusion...


Benefit of the doubt interpretation, your neighbor was out of cigarettes. More cynical interpretation, he was scoping your house; just by answering the door you give him a chance to look inside and see what you have, signs of a security system, etc. Even more cynical interpretation, he was checking to see if you were home...

A week or two later I had another break-in - this time a panel on my front door had been forced out, and they'd come upstairs and stolen my wallet. Unfortunately I was only a few days away from heading to Vegas on holiday so he took a lot of cash I had already exchanged up. I don't have any memory of the police doing much that time either.


Again, not a whole lot they can do realistically, but take your information. Cash is incredibly difficult to track down, and your wallet was probably thrown in the trash somewhere. Even if they find it, it'd be incredibly difficult to prove who took it. In that kind of situation, unless you've got a witness to the actual break-in, or the perp uses one of your cards, it's pretty hopeless.

The silver lining was that I moved all my stuff into a friend's place for while I would be on holiday. And it was a good thing I did because I got a call while in Vegas to say that my downstairs neighbour, after failing to break through the now reinforced front door had broken through his ceiling and through my stairs and got into my property that way. Yeah, a real criminal master mind at work there, like a lowbrow episode of Ocean's One or something...

Ok so there were obviously severe mental issues involved there, and I'm not even entirely sure what the point of my story is, but it feels like someone could have done something earlier to help this guy.


Mental issues is a possibility. Drug addiction is another - addicts will do some absolutely crazy shit if they need money. It's also possible that he owed money to someone who was worrisome enough to risk it.

Rather like your broken windows example, it's not that broken windows in and of themselves need a disproportionate response from law enforcement, but they are a signal that something is going badly wrong, and professional intervention in some capacity is warranted. Likewise the fact that someone took my car and returned it should have been a trigger to someone that some deeper digging needed to occur...


Sure, but again it comes down to resources. They know your car was taken and returned, they know your wallet was taken... that the two could be related is obvious. But what are they going to do about it? Even if they add additional patrol to your neighborhood, that's what - maybe a couple of extra passes per day in a patrol car? Even your neighbor is probably going to be smart enough to not try to break in while the patrol car is rolling by. It's incredibly unlikely that they have resources to post any sort of long-term watch on your neighborhood.

You didn't tell them about your neighbor asking for cigarettes - but even if you had, so what? It's not against the law to ask for cigarettes. Granted, just because they're cops they're probably going to at least consider that he was scoping your place out or checking to see if you were home... but again, so what? There is nothing they can actually *do* based on that because he still hadn't broken any laws. It might make them look at him more closely in the event that other crimes in the area happen, but that's about the best you can expect.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:30 pm UTC

That's some really shortsighted thinking. You catch the criminals WHILE they are small time crooks, before they escalate from petty larceny to armed robbery. That they get minor penalties or deals is a GOOD thing.

What's more important in crime prevention is not the expected value of punishment but the guarantee of even minor punishment. A 1% chance of 5 years in prison is most definitely not equivalent to a 60% chance of 1 month in prison in terms of deterrence in spite of the same expected time per crime, and even raising the punishment to 25 years may still not be more deterrence.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:29 pm UTC

cphite: I feel like you missed the point.

Taking a car and then returning it (including returning the keys where they came from in my house!) is a highly unusual act. Either it's been taken to be used in a crime they are trying to frame on me - which should be treated incredibly seriously - or there's a serious mental health issue in play.

My conclusion was that my neighbour ran out of cigarettes and took my car to go buy some more. In purely criminal terms it's minor, but in terms of mental health, it should have triggered an assessment by his doctor and/or social services. It might have prevented his progression to taking an axe to his ceiling in order to break in through my stairs...

'A stitch in time saves nine' is my only real point here. It actually works out cheaper in the long run.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:45 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That's some really shortsighted thinking. You catch the criminals WHILE they are small time crooks, before they escalate from petty larceny to armed robbery. That they get minor penalties or deals is a GOOD thing.


The problem is having the resources to actually catch them. In the car example, it's having the manpower to have multiple people spending hours to find a print that is both usable and definitively there as a result of the theft; and then hours more trying to match that print to anyone on record. That is hours spent by those people not working on other cases, with the end result almost certainly being that you never find the guy who took the car anyway.

Yes, from big picture perspective, it'd be great if they could catch the person now before they escalate to larger crimes; but from a basic logistics perspective, it's just not feasible in this type of case.

Taking a car and then returning it (including returning the keys where they came from in my house!) is a highly unusual act.


Eh... actually it's not that unusual for cars to be taken and returned. Sometimes for use in crime, sometimes for simple utility - they need a car, you have a car. Sometimes just for fun. The returning the keys where they were is a bit more noteworthy; but frankly - and don't take this personally - chances are the cops you spoke to assumed you were simply confused about where you parked your car.

Assuming that it happened as you say... if it was in fact your neighbor who took the car, it really wouldn't be that unusual that he put your keys back where he got them... less chance of you finding out he's been taking your car. Dude can't exactly steal your car and keep it; but as long as you don't notice, he has a car he can use from time to time. This could also explain the asking you for cigarettes thing - he wanted to know if you were home.

Either it's been taken to be used in a crime they are trying to frame on me - which should be treated incredibly seriously - or there's a serious mental health issue in play.


If it was used in a crime, it's pretty unlikely that anyone was trying to actually frame you. In most cases, they just need a car. It's also possible they wanted a car that wouldn't be connected to them, should it be seen at the scene of a crime. Besides... assuming it's your neighbor behind all of this, the fact that he went through your wall kinda rules him out as the scheming type... :D

Assuming that someone took your car and placed the keys back where they got them, being framed for a crime need not be high on your worries list; the real focus should be on the fact that someone was coming into your house and leaving again without you knowing. Might not be a bad idea to replace some locks and maybe check out a security alarm...

My conclusion was that my neighbour ran out of cigarettes and took my car to go buy some more. In purely criminal terms it's minor, but in terms of mental health, it should have triggered an assessment by his doctor and/or social services. It might have prevented his progression to taking an axe to his ceiling in order to break in through my stairs...


Even if that is what happened... could you prove it? They're not going to do anything without real evidence. And frankly, taking your car without asking to go and buy cigarettes is illegal, and certainly rude, but it's not necessarily a mental health issue. It can as easily be explained by him simply being an asshole.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:58 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Eh... actually it's not that unusual for cars to be taken and returned. Sometimes for use in crime, sometimes for simple utility - they need a car, you have a car. Sometimes just for fun. The returning the keys where they were is a bit more noteworthy; but frankly - and don't take this personally - chances are the cops you spoke to assumed you were simply confused about where you parked your car.

You're forgetting that he actually broke into my house to get the keys. My door had been jimmied open and had to be repaired that day as it no longer closed. Moreover the seat had been moved back and the mirror also moved, which should have been easy to fingerprint.

It's this combination of violence and civility that's makes for a pretty unusual situation, and should have made it clear to all concerned there was likely mental health issues at play here which warranted early intervention - not by the police but by mental health services.

the real focus should be on the fact that someone was coming into your house and leaving again without you knowing. Might not be a bad idea to replace some locks and maybe check out a security alarm...

This was over ten years ago. I had already moved my stuff out while I was on holiday, and I never returned once I got the message that he'd destroyed my staircase tunnelling in. I was told he left the place literally uninhabitable.

Honestly, looking back, I'm lucky he didn't just decide to kill me in my sleep, he was obviously psychotic.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:04 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
elasto wrote:I wonder if it's a lack of resources thing or them just getting jaded. It's probably a bit of both.


Little of both. Most police departments are staffed at levels that force them to prioritize resources when it comes to actual investigations... and the unfortunate reality when it comes to things like break-ins is that 1) it's very difficult to find the thieves, and 2) it's very difficult to get an actual conviction. Most small timers get deals that make the time and effort not worth it.


This, unfortunately, results in "going to the police" being wildly not worthwhile as a resolution.

I mean, I don't doubt that the two, particularly being minors, would have gotten off fairly lightly for repeated vandalism, escalating to many thousands in damage as they trashed a car utterly, but...man, maybe if the cops had at least talked to them, something better would happen? As far as those kids are concerned, they got away with it. It seems unlikely that they will stop as a result.

So, what options does the person would really rather not have more shit stolen or destroyed have? You force a confrontation yourself, and it goes bad, and everyone's gonna ignore the lackluster police, and frame you up as a vigilante. I figure most people just move away, if they can, and let the neighborhood go to hell.

Which is probably not a very good outcome.

Again, not a whole lot they can do realistically, but take your information. Cash is incredibly difficult to track down, and your wallet was probably thrown in the trash somewhere. Even if they find it, it'd be incredibly difficult to prove who took it. In that kind of situation, unless you've got a witness to the actual break-in, or the perp uses one of your cards, it's pretty hopeless.


I mean, ultimately, if the only thing cops are good for is speeding tickets to pad their budget, and shooting whoever looks different, why do we have them at all?

Isn't the whole point of law enforcement to provide some kind of official solution to conflict?

[quote[Sure, but again it comes down to resources. They know your car was taken and returned, they know your wallet was taken... that the two could be related is obvious. But what are they going to do about it? [/quote]

I mean, I've never seen a police department lacking the resources to enforce parking and traffic violations. Often with exceeding diligence.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:35 pm UTC

Make all fines payable two levels up, e.g., if the city police levy a fine it doesn't go to the police department, it doesn't go to the city, it goes to the state. Or maybe the county. Highway patrol tickets go to the fed, not the state. Then lets see how long they act as mobile tax collectors...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, I've never seen a police department lacking the resources to enforce parking and traffic violations. Often with exceeding diligence.


Somehow I sincerely doubt this.

Seriously, on a daily basis I see some shithead driving on the road weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, unable to stay in their own lane, running red lights... All without any officers there to ticket them for their flagrant moving violations.

I've seen police cars in full view of traffic violations that didn't result in an accident do nothing.

Parking violations are easy to catch, they're pretty cut and dried. The meter is either paid for or it's expired.

Moving violations, I've on occasion seen cars pulled over without the car being wrapped around a tree/other car/signpost/etc., but the vast majority of the time I see police officers involved with traffic violations it's because the one violating the rules had already caused an accident.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:11 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
cphite wrote:Eh... actually it's not that unusual for cars to be taken and returned. Sometimes for use in crime, sometimes for simple utility - they need a car, you have a car. Sometimes just for fun. The returning the keys where they were is a bit more noteworthy; but frankly - and don't take this personally - chances are the cops you spoke to assumed you were simply confused about where you parked your car.


You're forgetting that he actually broke into my house to get the keys. My door had been jimmied open and had to be repaired that day as it no longer closed. Moreover the seat had been moved back and the mirror also moved, which should have been easy to fingerprint.


Sure... but even if they assume that someone broke in to borrow your car, the time and resources it would take to actually track down who did it would not be worthwhile for most departments. They simply don't have the resources.

They could take a few hours to find a usable print, and then a few more hours to find a match, and then a few more hours tracking down your neighbor - at which point he's going to claim that you gave him a ride, or loaned him the car, or he noticed your car door open and your keys were in the car and he went to knock on your door and it was already open... and they're going to take that to a prosecutor and he's going to tell them that the cost of actually charging this guy, when added to the time already spent finding him, just isn't worth it.

That's why unless someone was hurt, or something significant was stolen, all they're going to do is take a statement and write a report. If you see police doing more than that for these sorts of crimes, one of two things is true: Either there is a lot of extra money and resources for your police department; or you have a really, really low number of serious crimes in your area.

It's this combination of violence and civility that's makes for a pretty unusual situation, and should have made it clear to all concerned there was likely mental health issues at play here which warranted early intervention - not by the police but by mental health services.


Well, first off, violence can be a relative term. I completely understand what it feels like to see your own front door jimmied open - especially realizing that you were asleep when it happened. But in relative terms, that isn't violence. Nobody was actually hurt, aside from your own peace of mind. And second, at the time, they had no reason to suspect your neighbor or anyone else - all they knew is that someone broke the door, borrowed your car, and then brought it back... which while it isn't exactly normal behavior, isn't also necessarily evidence in and of itself of mental illness. People do that stuff more often than you might think.

the real focus should be on the fact that someone was coming into your house and leaving again without you knowing. Might not be a bad idea to replace some locks and maybe check out a security alarm...

This was over ten years ago. I had already moved my stuff out while I was on holiday, and I never returned once I got the message that he'd destroyed my staircase tunnelling in. I was told he left the place literally uninhabitable.

Honestly, looking back, I'm lucky he didn't just decide to kill me in my sleep, he was obviously psychotic.


That is hindsight. On the day you talked to them, the only thing they had to go on was a jimmied door and a slightly moved car. There is nothing about that that indicates a psychotic on the loose from their perspective. They might well have concluded you had a bad neighbor - but they aren't going to put the resources into proving that.

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, I've never seen a police department lacking the resources to enforce parking and traffic violations. Often with exceeding diligence.


Apples and oranges.

Parking and traffic are easy; they require very little resources. A meter is expired, there is a car in the space, you write a ticket; a single officer can cover a whole area easily. Likewise, traffic violations - they happen right in front of you. It doesn't take hours and multiple people to see someone make an illegal move and pull them over.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:40 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Sure... but even if they assume that someone broke in to borrow your car, the time and resources it would take to actually track down who did it would not be worthwhile for most departments. They simply don't have the resources.

They could take a few hours to find a usable print, and then a few more hours to find a match, and then a few more hours tracking down your neighbor - at which point he's going to claim that you gave him a ride, or loaned him the car, or he noticed your car door open and your keys were in the car and he went to knock on your door and it was already open... and they're going to take that to a prosecutor and he's going to tell them that the cost of actually charging this guy, when added to the time already spent finding him, just isn't worth it.

Why do you keep speaking in terms of prosecution? I already agreed it was minor in legal terms (at that stage). I'm talking in terms of a mental health intervention. Many criminal matters are actually mental health issues, especially if there are drugs involved.

And if he had been forced to make all those lies I'd have been far better off: I'd have known to take more serious precautions against him far earlier.

All they knew is that someone broke the door, borrowed your car, and then brought it back... which while it isn't exactly normal behavior, isn't also necessarily evidence in and of itself of mental illness. People do that stuff more often than you might think.

In your country maybe. In my country irrational acts imply an irrational mind (which could be caused by an addiction issue of course, which also should be treated via the health service not the police).

That is hindsight. On the day you talked to them, the only thing they had to go on was a jimmied door and a slightly moved car. There is nothing about that that indicates a psychotic on the loose from their perspective. They might well have concluded you had a bad neighbor - but they aren't going to put the resources into proving that.

I agree they don't, but seemingly we disagree on whether they should.

There were other instances of extremely odd behaviour from him that would have thrown up serious red flags to any mental health worker who had got in touch with me. For example he would spend all night slowly and repeatedly tapping on a metal pipe.

I say a stitch in time saves nine, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:45 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
cphite wrote:Sure... but even if they assume that someone broke in to borrow your car, the time and resources it would take to actually track down who did it would not be worthwhile for most departments. They simply don't have the resources.

They could take a few hours to find a usable print, and then a few more hours to find a match, and then a few more hours tracking down your neighbor - at which point he's going to claim that you gave him a ride, or loaned him the car, or he noticed your car door open and your keys were in the car and he went to knock on your door and it was already open... and they're going to take that to a prosecutor and he's going to tell them that the cost of actually charging this guy, when added to the time already spent finding him, just isn't worth it.

Why do you keep speaking in terms of prosecution? I already agreed it was minor in legal terms (at that stage). I'm talking in terms of a mental health intervention. Many criminal matters are actually mental health issues, especially if there are drugs involved.

And if he had been forced to make all those lies I'd have been far better off: I'd have known to take more serious precautions against him far earlier.



The mental health intervention requires a conviction, which requires a (successful) prosecution. You can't intervene in someone's life without the court finding such an intervention is necessary. To establish otherwise is to severely curtail freedoms we take for granted.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:47 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The mental health intervention requires a conviction, which requires a (successful) prosecution. You can't intervene in someone's life without the court finding such an intervention is necessary. To establish otherwise is to severely curtail freedoms we take for granted.

I'm not sure that's true. I think health services can intervene if they decide a person is likely a danger to themselves or others. The person does not have to have committed any criminal act in order for doctors to intervene.

Here's a link on sectioning in the UK: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-sup ... ectioning/

Here's an example given which doesn't involve any criminal behaviour at all:

Kenneth has schizophrenia and has had repeated hospital admissions since he was in his 20s.

He has recently been acting irrationally and out of character; he seems unable to look after himself. It turns out he has not taken his mental health medication for several months.

He seems to have lost a lot of weight, but when food is offered to him he gets irritated saying “I told you, I‘m not hungry”, and just pushes it away. He has become forgetful and doesn’t seem aware of everyday dangers any more, and a few times has wandered into the path of traffic on a busy road.

His wife thinks that he may need medical treatment urgently otherwise his health and safety will be at risk.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:56 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Dauric wrote:The mental health intervention requires a conviction, which requires a (successful) prosecution. You can't intervene in someone's life without the court finding such an intervention is necessary. To establish otherwise is to severely curtail freedoms we take for granted.

I'm not sure that's true. I think health services can intervene if they decide a person is likely a danger to themselves or others. The person does not have to have committed any criminal act in order for doctors to intervene.

Here's a link on sectioning in the UK: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-sup ... ectioning/

Here's an example given which doesn't involve any criminal behaviour at all:

Kenneth has schizophrenia and has had repeated hospital admissions since he was in his 20s.

He has recently been acting irrationally and out of character; he seems unable to look after himself. It turns out he has not taken his mental health medication for several months.

He seems to have lost a lot of weight, but when food is offered to him he gets irritated saying “I told you, I‘m not hungry”, and just pushes it away. He has become forgetful and doesn’t seem aware of everyday dangers any more, and a few times has wandered into the path of traffic on a busy road.

His wife thinks that he may need medical treatment urgently otherwise his health and safety will be at risk.


1) This probably varies from country to country, the U.S. has decidedly less established mental-healthcare overall.

2) the case you describe has already diagnosed and an established history of mental health problems. If the person in question doesn't have a history or existing diagnosis of mental problems you have to establish that he does before you can intervene, and if they aren't willing to see a mental health professional that -will- take a court order, not just police interaction.

And even then that's just to establish a verifiable mental health problem. If the person in question doesn't diagnose as mentally ill your 'mental health intervention as crime prevention' stops there.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:09 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:the case you describe has already diagnosed and an established history of mental health problems. If the person in question doesn't have a history or existing diagnosis of mental problems you have to establish that he does before you can intervene, and if they aren't willing to see a mental health professional that -will- take a court order, not just police interaction.

Agreed. But chances are he did have a known condition.

After all, he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding breaking into a house and stealing a car to buy cigarettes was a good idea - and he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding making a hole in his ceiling in order to get into the upstairs flat was quite rational.

No, it's unlikely he flew under the radar. And so, like I say, if social services had asked me about his other odd behaviour it might have been pretty easy for them to piece it all together and decide he needed help.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:19 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Dauric wrote:the case you describe has already diagnosed and an established history of mental health problems. If the person in question doesn't have a history or existing diagnosis of mental problems you have to establish that he does before you can intervene, and if they aren't willing to see a mental health professional that -will- take a court order, not just police interaction.

Agreed. But chances are he did have a known condition.

After all, he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding breaking into a house and stealing a car to buy cigarettes was a good idea - and he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding making a hole in his ceiling in order to get into the upstairs flat was quite rational.

No, it's unlikely he flew under the radar. And so, like I say, if social services had asked me about his other odd behaviour it might have been pretty easy for them to piece it all together and decide he needed help.


Again, maybe in the U.K. (though I'm somewhat dubious about that claim), but in the U.S. "flying under the radar" with a mental illness is the norm not the exception, especially given the massive social stigma that comes with a diagnosis of a mental illness. As a somewhat edge-case example, the person that shot up the Century 16 theater in Aurora Colorado had frequently displayed a deteriorating mental state leading up to the incident, including sending a rant-laden notebook to a psychiatrist, yet no action was taken to get him the help he desperately needed.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby freezeblade » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:22 pm UTC

Posted about this in the "Darker side of the news" post, but it belongs here too, as it certainly qualifies as "Police Misbehavior." There is an arrest for the long-cold Golden State Killer case. The person arrested (after getting a 100% DNA match) was a cop at the times of some of the rapes and murders.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:38 pm UTC

a cop murdering and raping people? shocker tbh unprecedented.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

The thing is, even without cops not investigating other cops, cops know how to cover their tracks so other cops can't catch them...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:07 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Dauric wrote:the case you describe has already diagnosed and an established history of mental health problems. If the person in question doesn't have a history or existing diagnosis of mental problems you have to establish that he does before you can intervene, and if they aren't willing to see a mental health professional that -will- take a court order, not just police interaction.

Agreed. But chances are he did have a known condition.

After all, he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding breaking into a house and stealing a car to buy cigarettes was a good idea - and he probably didn't go to sleep one day sane and wake up the next deciding making a hole in his ceiling in order to get into the upstairs flat was quite rational.

No, it's unlikely he flew under the radar. And so, like I say, if social services had asked me about his other odd behaviour it might have been pretty easy for them to piece it all together and decide he needed help.

I'm with Dauric here, extremely skeptical of your claim that it's difficult to fly under the radar with undiagnosed mental illness, even in the UK.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Quercus » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I'm with Dauric here, extremely skeptical of your claim that it's difficult to fly under the radar with undiagnosed mental illness, even in the UK.


It's also not just about diagnosis, it's about treatment and continued care. I'm in the UK and if asked to count the number of people I know with under-treated mental health conditions I'd probably run out of both fingers and toes. Granted, I'm socially active in a lot of marginalized circles, so I probably see it more than most would. Honestly, to fly under the radar with mental illness here, just stop doing the huge amount of self-advocacy and kicking up a fuss that most people have to do to get any treatment beyond "here's an antidepressant prescription and a self-referral form for six weeks of group therapy with a six month waiting list".

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This, unfortunately, results in "going to the police" being wildly not worthwhile as a resolution.

I mean, I don't doubt that the two, particularly being minors, would have gotten off fairly lightly for repeated vandalism, escalating to many thousands in damage as they trashed a car utterly, but...man, maybe if the cops had at least talked to them, something better would happen? As far as those kids are concerned, they got away with it. It seems unlikely that they will stop as a result.

So, what options does the person would really rather not have more shit stolen or destroyed have? You force a confrontation yourself, and it goes bad, and everyone's gonna ignore the lackluster police, and frame you up as a vigilante.

This is one thing that drives me nuts about the state of policing. The state will stop people from policing each other, which then leaves them entirely dependent on the official police for justice; but then those official police just don't even bother (for whatever reason, funding etc, doesn't matter) policing insufficiently-large injustices, which has the net effect of making everything effectively legal below that threshold. People can steal from you, assault you, generally do all kinds of crap to you, and so long as each incident is small enough they will get away with all of it. Even if you yourself are capable of putting a stop to it without their help; the police will stop you from defending yourself, but won't actively defend you. Which makes it really feel like they're just there to protect the crooks.

And issue parking tickets / sit in speed traps / run unconstitutional checkpoints outside college towns trying to preemptively catch drunk drivers at the cost of violating every other driver's rights.

It makes me want to tell police "look either you take care of this problem the right, official way, or I'll have to take care of it myself", but we all know that wouldn't end well.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:36 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Why do you keep speaking in terms of prosecution? I already agreed it was minor in legal terms (at that stage). I'm talking in terms of a mental health intervention. Many criminal matters are actually mental health issues, especially if there are drugs involved.


Because the only way they're going to be able to force a mental health intervention is if they convince a court to order it, by way of prosecution and conviction. They can't just demand that he receive intervention because you think - or even because they think - he did something; they have to be able to prove that he did something. They need actual evidence; which leads us right back to resources.

Even assuming the guy has a history, they still need to show that he was the guy who broke your door and took your car; and argue successfully that mental illness is why he did those things. The police don't have the power to simply decree that someone get mental help because they think it's for the best - it doesn't work that way.

And if he had been forced to make all those lies I'd have been far better off: I'd have known to take more serious precautions against him far earlier.


Of course. Clearly we would all be better off if people like your neighbor got help before they did something awful; I don't think anyone would dispute that. The problem is that police departments, by and large, simply don't have the resources to make that even remotely feasible. They have to pick and choose what they do with what they have.

All they knew is that someone broke the door, borrowed your car, and then brought it back... which while it isn't exactly normal behavior, isn't also necessarily evidence in and of itself of mental illness. People do that stuff more often than you might think.


In your country maybe. In my country irrational acts imply an irrational mind (which could be caused by an addiction issue of course, which also should be treated via the health service not the police).


At the time of your original break in, your neighbor pried open your door and borrowed your car. That's a shitty thing to do, but it's not necessarily in and of itself irrational. You had a car, he needed a car, your door was in the way. That is actually very typical criminal behavior. His going through the wall later... that was far more arguably irrational behavior - but they didn't have that information at the time of your initial complaint.

That is hindsight. On the day you talked to them, the only thing they had to go on was a jimmied door and a slightly moved car. There is nothing about that that indicates a psychotic on the loose from their perspective. They might well have concluded you had a bad neighbor - but they aren't going to put the resources into proving that.


I agree they don't, but seemingly we disagree on whether they should.


Fair enough.

There were other instances of extremely odd behaviour from him that would have thrown up serious red flags to any mental health worker who had got in touch with me. For example he would spend all night slowly and repeatedly tapping on a metal pipe.


Problem is, the police are only concerned with illegal activity. Tapping a pipe isn't illegal. Annoying, sure... perhaps even creepy; but not illegal.

In all honestly, most cops if you told them about your red flags at the time of the initial event, would write that stuff down and include it on the report... but they're not going to really do anything with it, because there isn't a whole lot they can do with it.

I get what you're saying... you knew the guy was weird and had every reason to believe he was the guy who came into your home and so forth... but they have to have solid evidence before they can do anything; and getting evidence and vetting evidence takes time and resources.

I say a stitch in time saves nine, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.


Actually, we don't disagree that a stitch in time saves nine... the problem is that there is a limited number of stitches available...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:06 pm UTC

Yeah, obviously lots of crime could be prevented with some kind of prior intervention, but knowing ahead of time that intervention will prevent a future crime is impossible unless we go full Minority Report.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:11 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
elasto wrote:Why do you keep speaking in terms of prosecution? I already agreed it was minor in legal terms (at that stage). I'm talking in terms of a mental health intervention. Many criminal matters are actually mental health issues, especially if there are drugs involved.


Because the only way they're going to be able to force a mental health intervention is if they convince a court to order it, by way of prosecution and conviction. They can't just demand that he receive intervention because you think - or even because they think - he did something; they have to be able to prove that he did something. They need actual evidence; which leads us right back to resources.

Even assuming the guy has a history, they still need to show that he was the guy who broke your door and took your car; and argue successfully that mental illness is why he did those things. The police don't have the power to simply decree that someone get mental help because they think it's for the best - it doesn't work that way.


In general, I think focusing only on conviction and resulting incarceration(and forced mental health interventions are on this level) is...short sighted.

Yes, yes, things may eventually escalate to that point.

If police manage to get involved early, then they'll
A. know more about the situation if it DOES escalate to that point.
B. have a chance to potentially de-escalate the situation.

Having cops show up at your door to ask about what you've done is a pretty big clue that you've screwed up, and for some people, is a sign that maybe they ought to rethink their actions. People being people, lots of folks won't choose that path...but more will than if the path is never offered.

And I can't help but think that if problem folks got care or enforcement earlier, the overworked problem would actually decrease. Fewer calls to respond to, for starters. The only way this isn't true is if people end up just not reporting things to law enforcement. Which in fairness, is probably the actual result. Thus we end up at the dysfunctional place we're at. Every so often, stuff gets stolen or vandalized, police show up, do MORE paperwork, I file another insurance claim, and count down the days until I can move out of the deteriorating neighborhood.

We don't need to know that intervention will necessarily stop a crime. That's a ridiculously high bar. US police can mostly improve an insane amount without needing to approach that, and mostly it requires police involvement in a low-key way, earlier in problems, rather than charging in with guns drawn.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:48 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Plus the election cycle in the US is just crazy, with politicians having to spend about half their time in office campaigning and becoming beholden to special interest groups as well as having to buy off the electorate with short-term bribes...

What really annoys me about the underlined part is that (I think) it results from the populations ever increasing desire for entertainment. Remember the Republican primary candidates from the 2012 election?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:54 pm UTC

Bread and circuses is an old, old thing. So too is police/political corruption. I concur that they are problems, but I disagree that it stems from an increasing desire from the populace.

If anything, people grow exhausted with the train wreck that is politics.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Quercus » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If anything, people grow exhausted with the train wreck that is politics.


Unfortunately another very human tendency with something of which you tire is to throw a stick of dynamite into it and see what happens.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:29 pm UTC

I agree. Tying politics and entertainment together results in an unstable system. Each politician has to be funnier than the last. Eventually, all the politician's energy is going into the performances and none goes into doing their job. Obviously, this is when the system comes crashing down. cough cough Trump
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