Police misbehavior thread

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Heisenberg » Thu May 24, 2012 7:29 pm UTC

It's ridiculous because the glove box is a reasonable place to keep your insurance card, and it's unreasonable to expect the driver to access it while his car is IN THE RIVER.

The cop was being an asshole.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby JBJ » Thu May 24, 2012 7:41 pm UTC

Having my insurance card in my wallet is a pretty reasonable place to keep it too. If I get pulled over and can't show it because I left my wallet at home, is the cop being an asshole because I can't teleport my wallet into my hands from 3 miles away? And what if he wasn't really insured? I'm pretty sure he is. The cop was probably pretty sure he was too. Pretty sure is not proof. The citation is for failing to provide proof of insurance.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Thu May 24, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Having my insurance card in my wallet is a pretty reasonable place to keep it too. If I get pulled over and can't show it because I left my wallet at home, is the cop being an asshole because I can't teleport my wallet into my hands from 3 miles away? And what if he wasn't really insured? I'm pretty sure he is. The cop was probably pretty sure he was too. Pretty sure is not proof. The citation is for failing to provide proof of insurance.

If you didn't bring your proof of insurance, it's your fault. That's why people keep it in the car.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby jakovasaur » Thu May 24, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

And if you fail to secure your child, then fail to park properly, and then your car rolls into a body of water, preventing access to your information, that is also your fault.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Thu May 24, 2012 7:54 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:And if you fail to secure your child, then fail to park properly, and then your car rolls into a body of water, preventing access to your information, that is also your fault.

Let's say someone hits your car and your vehicle gets knocked into the water. You escape and rescue your passengers. Your wallet (or glovebox) that contained the proof of insurance is lost in the river. Is it reasonable for you to be ticketed for failure to provide proof of insurance?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby JBJ » Thu May 24, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

Yes. It is reasonable. It's not a question of fault. A citation for failing to provide an insurance card is a no-fault ticket. That's why it doesn't carry any points or have any cumulative effect. It simply costs some small dollar amount and the hassle of having bring in some papers to the courthouse every time it happens. Whether it's the driver's fault for forgetting it, or whether a space monkey driving a rocket fueled jet car blasts the glove compartment with a plasma gun.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu May 24, 2012 10:20 pm UTC

This whole line of discussion could be rendered moot if we could determine whether or not the fine for failure to demonstrate proof of insurance is waived if it can later be demonstrated at the hearing.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby JBJ » Thu May 24, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

If this is the statute under which he was charged:New Jersey 39 3-29
If a person charged with a violation of this section can exhibit his driver's license, insurance identification card and registration certificate, which were valid on the day he was charged, to the judge of the municipal court before whom he is summoned to answer to the charge, such judge may dismiss the charge. However, the judge may impose court costs.
The fine is $150 if not dismissed. Court costs and dismissal seem to be at the discretion of the judge.

In my state you have 30 days to provide proof that you were insured at the time of the ticket and it is automatically waived with a $10 fee. Otherwise it's a $116 fine and suspension of license then a $150 reinstatement fee if you miss the 30 day window, and you can't get your license back until you prove you have insurance. I was assuming NJ operated in a similar way, but they seem a bit harsher by not assuring that the charge can be dismissed.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Diadem » Fri May 25, 2012 12:07 am UTC

JBJ wrote:Yes. It is reasonable. It's not a question of fault. A citation for failing to provide an insurance card is a no-fault ticket. That's why it doesn't carry any points or have any cumulative effect. It simply costs some small dollar amount and the hassle of having bring in some papers to the courthouse every time it happens. Whether it's the driver's fault for forgetting it, or whether a space monkey driving a rocket fueled jet car blasts the glove compartment with a plasma gun.

Are you seriously saying people should be fined for things they have no control over? That's ridiculous.

What if you are robbed from your wallet at gunpoint. When you go to the police station to file charges, should they cite you for not carrying ID? If you're rear-ended at a traffic light, and pushed into the junction, should you be given a ticket for crossing a red light? Should you be given tickets for not having working rear lights every time your car gets totalled? It's ridiculous.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 25, 2012 1:49 am UTC

Implying he did not have control over the emergency break, shifter, or ignition.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby omgryebread » Fri May 25, 2012 2:02 am UTC

That's also why we have judges who have discretion to dismiss tickets entirely. So that people who don't have registrations get big fines, people who forget it get small fines, people who have extenuating circumstances (car is underwater) get the ticket thrown out.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby scienceroboticspunk » Fri May 25, 2012 5:06 am UTC

As a NJ resident my whole life I'd like to point out a few things. That part of the state is not exactly the most affluent area and even the prospect of having to pay that much money frightens a lot of people because they can't easily afford $100. I dont know the exact family situation but from the article on NJ.com it says he is on disability currently and it also gives more details into what happens, from the insurance card to the possible use of the break.
I just thought giving people more details then they can get a fuller picture.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sytri » Fri May 25, 2012 7:43 am UTC

OK, being a brit that only drives manual; do american automatics not have a handbrake in the centre of the car? Insurance-wise, I know in britain that insurance is linked to the cars licence and the driver so a police officer can request details on the car and find out if it has insurance, MOT or any outstanding tickets; I'm assuming this isn't true for USA then?

I'm a bit torn on this subject. Yes he needed to ensure his childs safety but it can only take less than 10 seconds to ensure that your car is stationary and will not move. I'm not saying park it; I'm saying abandon it where it is, but safely. The fact that he was unfamiliar with the cars controls is a worry too as that could have led to an accident at another point in time just through him not knowing all of the controls to the car.

The ticket for not providing insurance though is just kicking a man when he's down.

Also, if true, the officer claiming that if he had ensured he was parked correctly and his son had fallen into the river would then be held on child endangerment maybe needs to have a little talking to about the better of two evils and not be so self-righteous.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 25, 2012 8:17 am UTC

A parking brake here is usually either a hand brake between the front seats or a pedal to the left of the normal brake that locks in place when pushed. In either case, they can be engaged in less than a second and the latter, which in my experience is more common, allows a driver to simultaneously shift into neutral and engage the parking brake and probably even open the door too if the driver is good at the head pat belly rub hop.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sytri » Fri May 25, 2012 8:32 am UTC

OK and reading the article again it seems he though that he had engaged the brake and again I'm thinking that the drivers lack of knowledge about the cars controls played a part in this and as such should have probably been given a ticket for not being in control of the car.

Also, child locks. Can't believe I just thought of this. Why didn't he have the child locks engaged on the doors? Aren't they standard on every car and pretty easy to put on?

Strictly by the law the officer was right to ticket him but extenuating circumstances should let him get off or at least lower the fines. Like others have said, if there were other people infront of that jeep that day the driver would wish he was being fined instead of arrested for manslaughter or causing harm to others.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Fri May 25, 2012 9:20 am UTC

Sytri wrote:OK and reading the article again it seems he though that he had engaged the brake and again I'm thinking that the drivers lack of knowledge about the cars controls played a part in this and as such should have probably been given a ticket for not being in control of the car.

Also, child locks. Can't believe I just thought of this. Why didn't he have the child locks engaged on the doors? Aren't they standard on every car and pretty easy to put on?

It doesn't need to be ignorance about how cars work here. People fuck up all the time, even at things they're good at. People are less likely to catch those fuckups when under stress. As for child locks, I'd say that falls under "shit happens". People will forget things like that every now and then, no matter how careful they are. Just most of the time we forget things like that, it ends up not mattering or we'll catch it before something happens. Sometimes though, something will happen.

I don't think (especially by the comment at the end of your post) that you're intending to be victim blaming here, but the part I did quote is exactly that. It works out to "Well he could have avoided all of this by [doing x]. Why didn't he [do x]?!".

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sytri » Fri May 25, 2012 9:34 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Sytri wrote:OK and reading the article again it seems he though that he had engaged the brake and again I'm thinking that the drivers lack of knowledge about the cars controls played a part in this and as such should have probably been given a ticket for not being in control of the car.

Also, child locks. Can't believe I just thought of this. Why didn't he have the child locks engaged on the doors? Aren't they standard on every car and pretty easy to put on?

It doesn't need to be ignorance about how cars work here. People fuck up all the time, even at things they're good at. People are less likely to catch those fuckups when under stress. As for child locks, I'd say that falls under "shit happens". People will forget things like that every now and then, no matter how careful they are. Just most of the time we forget things like that, it ends up not mattering or we'll catch it before something happens. Sometimes though, something will happen.

I don't think (especially by the comment at the end of your post) that you're intending to be victim blaming here, but the part I did quote is exactly that. It works out to "Well he could have avoided all of this by [doing x]. Why didn't he [do x]?!".


Sorry you're right, that is a victim blaming statement and I'll take it back.

I was also assuming that the child was in the back of the car and not in the passenger seat which would negate any talk of child locks and seeing as there was no talk of where the child was sat I'll take that back too.

Is it victim blaming to still stand by the fact that he should have been aware of the controls for the car he was driving?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Fri May 25, 2012 10:29 am UTC

Sytri wrote:Is it victim blaming to still stand by the fact that he should have been aware of the controls for the car he was driving?

That depends on the implications. We should also all be masters of our native language, but how often do we flub when speaking out loud? How many sentences are you able to type without a single typo or misspelling on your first try? How often do you press the wrong button your phone or keyboard or game controller by accident? Humans make mistakes on everything -- and constantly at that-- regardless of our familiarity with whatever we're doing. It's just that we (usually) catch and correct those mistakes, or our brains have adapted such that we don't pick up on some of those mistakes (e.g. speaking) and/or mentally correct them to what we expected. The man could be the person that designed his car, and it wouldn't be unexpected for him to accidentally fail to engage the breaks properly at first try every now and then. Add in a high stress situation, and now he doesn't have the split second of brain time it takes to say "Oh, haha, I did that wrong, whoops. Good thing I caught it!". It's also possible that he truly isn't familiar with his car -- just this scenario doesn't tell us one way or another.

So if the implication of saying it is that he is not aware of the controls of his car and should be blamed for such, then yes, it is still victim blaming. If it's just a general statement, then not really, but it's still a rather blanket statement -- what happens when you have a brand new car, for instance? Nobody is automatically an expert on anything, even though we often expect it of them.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sytri » Fri May 25, 2012 10:41 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Sytri wrote:Is it victim blaming to still stand by the fact that he should have been aware of the controls for the car he was driving?

That depends on the implications. We should also all be masters of our native language, but how often do we flub when speaking out loud? How many sentences are you able to type without a single typo or misspelling on your first try? How often do you press the wrong button your phone or keyboard or game controller by accident? Humans make mistakes on everything -- and constantly at that-- regardless of our familiarity with whatever we're doing. It's just that we (usually) catch and correct those mistakes, or our brains have adapted such that we don't pick up on some of those mistakes (e.g. speaking) and/or mentally correct them to what we expected. The man could be the person that designed his car, and it wouldn't be unexpected for him to accidentally fail to engage the breaks properly at first try every now and then. Add in a high stress situation, and now he doesn't have the split second of brain time it takes to say "Oh, haha, I did that wrong, whoops. Good thing I caught it!". It's also possible that he truly isn't familiar with his car -- just this scenario doesn't tell us one way or another.

So if the implication of saying it is that he is not aware of the controls of his car and should be blamed for such, then yes, it is still victim blaming. If it's just a general statement, then not really, but it's still a rather blanket statement -- what happens when you have a brand new car, for instance? Nobody is automatically an expert on anything, even though we often expect it of them.


OK, I did mean it generally and especially with machinery that weighs tons and has potential for great damage if used incorrectly then I would expect someone to know most if not all of the controls before they set off on a journey. I realise that it's not feasible in day to day life but with the car as an example I would expect someone who is new to a particular vehicle to orientate themselves with where the headlight switch is, the handbrake/ parking brake, windscreen wipers and the button to control the washers. At the very least. But you're right, under extreme pressure you would flub and default to what you're used to and with him being used to a different layout you would hit the wrong buttons as you became more worried about your child than the car.

Thanks for this convo. It's made me realise that I do victim blame quite easily but I just didn't notice as I usually frame it as, "well if it was me, I would have done this and therefore avoided the accident." Think I need to look at my thought patterns.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Fri May 25, 2012 11:48 am UTC

Sytri wrote:OK, I did mean it generally and especially with machinery that weighs tons and has potential for great damage if used incorrectly then I would expect someone to know most if not all of the controls before they set off on a journey. I realise that it's not feasible in day to day life but with the car as an example I would expect someone who is new to a particular vehicle to orientate themselves with where the headlight switch is, the handbrake/ parking brake, windscreen wipers and the button to control the washers. At the very least. But you're right, under extreme pressure you would flub and default to what you're used to and with him being used to a different layout you would hit the wrong buttons as you became more worried about your child than the car.

Just want to clarify, you don't need to be new with something for the flub to be possible. He could have been James Bond and mistakes would still happen with that car -- the difference is that James Bond is trained to be able to correct those mistakes even during high stress situations. Hell, you just need to look back at my prior post -- I had a typo where I said "wrong button your phone" instead of "wrong button on your phone". English is my native language, I like to think I'm fairly proficient at it, and posting isn't exactly stressful, yet I still messed up. Mistakes are amazingly common with human beings. Maybe a better example than anything else: if you haven't done so before, try some simple programming -- almost nothing works on the first try, even simple things, because we'll make some dumb mistake, either forgetting a ";" or ")", or typing a variable wrong, or not initializing it first, or...

Sytri wrote:Thanks for this convo. It's made me realise that I do victim blame quite easily but I just didn't notice as I usually frame it as, "well if it was me, I would have done this and therefore avoided the accident." Think I need to look at my thought patterns.

Glad to be able to make you take a different look at things!

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby JBJ » Fri May 25, 2012 12:06 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Are you seriously saying people should be fined for things they have no control over? That's ridiculous.

Yes, that is ridiculous, so it's a good thing I'm not saying that.
What if you are robbed from your wallet at gunpoint. When you go to the police station to file charges, should they cite you for not carrying ID? If you're rear-ended at a traffic light, and pushed into the junction, should you be given a ticket for crossing a red light? Should you be given tickets for not having working rear lights every time your car gets totalled? It's ridiculous.
Again, fault is not the issue. If I'm robbed at gunpoint at the thief takes my wallet and I'm pulled over while driving to the police station I can get rightfully ticketed for not having my license. And once again, it's not a punitive fine. It's an administrative one. The penalties for driving without a license, insurance, or registration are substantially higher than not having the documents on hand.

There are reasons why there are fines and penalties for not driving with insurance, registration, or a license. Uninsured motorists and unregistered vehicles are free riders. They unfairly burden insured and registered motorists through property loss and not paying into road maintenance. Unlicensed drivers have not satisfactorily demonstrated that they can operate a vehicle to the minimum safety standards and rules of the road. When a person is ticketed for not having that documentation, the cop is actually siding with them. That citation says basically "I believe you are a registered, insured, licensed driver, but I can't prove it and neither can you. I'm not going to hit you with the full penalty for not being registered/insured/licensed. Since the burden is on you to provide that proof, and since we (the state) now have to expend additional effort to prove that you are registered/insured/licensed, we're passing along a small administrative fee to cover that effort."
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Chen » Fri May 25, 2012 12:08 pm UTC

Wait what? How is any of this victim blaming? He tried to put the car in park and did it wrong. He's not a victim here. He made a mistake that was his fault and should be blamed for it. Sure he was likely stressed because his child had run out of a car and possibly panicked but that doesn't change the fact he made a mistake that resulted in his car rolling off the embankment.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Fri May 25, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Wait what? How is any of this victim blaming? He tried to put the car in park and did it wrong. He's not a victim here. He made a mistake that was his fault and should be blamed for it. Sure he was likely stressed because his child had run out of a car and possibly panicked but that doesn't change the fact he made a mistake that resulted in his car rolling off the embankment.

It was victim blaming because of the assumed incompetence on his end that resulted in events. The results are ultimately his responsibility -- admitting such isn't victim blaming. However, saying "It's obvious he could have prevented this by [easy action x], but he didn't. Therefor, he is incompetent." is victim blaming, because it's trivial to make something sound like an easy, effortless course of action that should have been taken instead, when in reality it could very well be what was attempted to do. Humans are clumsy, forgetful, and error prone; any assessment of a situation should take that into account.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby lutzj » Fri May 25, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Chen wrote:Wait what? How is any of this victim blaming? He tried to put the car in park and did it wrong. He's not a victim here. He made a mistake that was his fault and should be blamed for it. Sure he was likely stressed because his child had run out of a car and possibly panicked but that doesn't change the fact he made a mistake that resulted in his car rolling off the embankment.

It was victim blaming because of the assumed incompetence on his end that resulted in events. The results are ultimately his responsibility -- admitting such isn't victim blaming. However, saying "It's obvious he could have prevented this by [easy action x], but he didn't. Therefor, he is incompetent." is victim blaming, because it's trivial to make something sound like an easy, effortless course of action that should have been taken instead, when in reality it could very well be what was attempted to do. Humans are clumsy, forgetful, and error prone; any assessment of a situation should take that into account.


It's not victim-blaming because he's not a victim of anything done by anybody but himself. If he, a licensed driver, failed to take basic safety steps before leaving his car, then he is empirically incompetent. If somebody had tampered with his parking brake, then blaming him for not parking properly would be unreasonable, but it seems that the car was not malfunctioning at all.

Again, by his own admission, his mistake could have killed people.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Enokh » Fri May 25, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Victim blaming? The guy created the situation himself, and then failed to handle it correctly.

Article wrote:Roder had just taught his son Aidan how to unbuckle his own seatbelt and get out of the car himself.


This isn't a "oh, no, he forgot to engage the child locks on his car, and then he screwed up putting his parking brake on!" situation. He showed his kid how to exit the car independently (which requires the child locks to be off), failed to prevent his child from getting out, and then put even more lives in danger by failing to appropriately stop his vehicle. The second part can be looked at as an "honest mistake" (not that this excuses it), but the man 100% created the situation and paid the price for it. He should be thankful that the price was only a totaled car and a small fine that might (and probably will, if New Jersey is anything like Virginia) be waived instead of the blood of bystanders on his hands.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Fri May 25, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

While other officers on the scene were understanding, a sergeant wouldn’t budge, the couple said. Roder asked what would have happened if he’d taken an extra five seconds to make sure the Jeep was in park and Aidan had fallen off the embankment.

"He said to me ‘You’d be in jail for child endangerment,’ " recalled Roder

From the link http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/0 ... ve_hi.html, in which it states that he broke the windshield wiper control on his way out of the car in an attempt to put it in park.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Chen » Fri May 25, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
While other officers on the scene were understanding, a sergeant wouldn’t budge, the couple said. Roder asked what would have happened if he’d taken an extra five seconds to make sure the Jeep was in park and Aidan had fallen off the embankment.

"He said to me ‘You’d be in jail for child endangerment,’ " recalled Roder

From the link http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/0 ... ve_hi.html, in which it states that he broke the windshield wiper control on his way out of the car in an attempt to put it in park.


Is there a point to this? The situation in general is a bad one for this person. No-win situations do exist. If people had been in front of the car it could have been a choice between rushing to protect his son at their expense, or vice versa. That said its possible nothing bad could have happened. His son might have stopped and just looked over the edge giving him plenty of time to get him back. He made a decision at the time which resulted in him getting fined for doing something that was potentially dangerous. I'd could see being upset if the car hadn't rolled off and he got fined (he still wouldn't have applied the brake) but in the current situation the fine seems fairly justified. Did he even have to pay for getting the car out of the river? The article seems to imply it was a fair bit of work for the city to do. It doesn't say he was charged for it.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby marky66 » Fri May 25, 2012 3:23 pm UTC

FWIW, in a radio interview with the police department's chief, the chief said that his officer had full discretion to not give a ticket for the insurance card "infraction." The officer's deciding not to use that discretion suggests that he is a jerk.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Fri May 25, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Is there a point to this? The situation in general is a bad one for this person. No-win situations do exist. If people had been in front of the car it could have been a choice between rushing to protect his son at their expense, or vice versa. That said its possible nothing bad could have happened. His son might have stopped and just looked over the edge giving him plenty of time to get him back. He made a decision at the time which resulted in him getting fined for doing something that was potentially dangerous. I'd could see being upset if the car hadn't rolled off and he got fined (he still wouldn't have applied the brake) but in the current situation the fine seems fairly justified. Did he even have to pay for getting the car out of the river? The article seems to imply it was a fair bit of work for the city to do. It doesn't say he was charged for it.

My point is the cop was a jerk. That is all. I have no problem with him being fined for letting his vehicle go into a lake, even if I think it's a bit unnecessary. (In my opinion the fine would have been MORE appropriate if his car hadn't rolled off. If someone killed themselves in a drunk driving accident and no one else was injured, I find it would be odd to fine the estate. But if he was pulled over for drunk driving, a fine would be VERY appropriate.)

What I have a problem with is the ticket for failure to provide proof in insurance.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby iamspen » Fri May 25, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

It's the classic case of a cop following the law without having any clue why the law exists in the first place, or the context in which it was intended to be applied. Something similar happened to me when I was pulled over for driving under suspension. I explained to the officer that the only reason I was in my car is because my grandmother was literally on her deathbed (and indeed died that very night), but the douche put me in the back of his car anyway. And while I recognize that that's not police misbehavior at all, it's an example of how cops should allow themselves some discretion (I would not have been at all opposed to, for example, a ticket and a mandatory court date).

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Fri May 25, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:It's the classic case of a cop following the law without having any clue why the law exists in the first place, or the context in which it was intended to be applied. Something similar happened to me when I was pulled over for driving under suspension. I explained to the officer that the only reason I was in my car is because my grandmother was literally on her deathbed (and indeed died that very night), but the douche put me in the back of his car anyway. And while I recognize that that's not police misbehavior at all, it's an example of how cops should allow themselves some discretion (I would not have been at all opposed to, for example, a ticket and a mandatory court date).

Well, taking the $20,000 in cash mentioned in the OP was technically legal for the cops as well, right?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby iamspen » Fri May 25, 2012 4:16 pm UTC

Not if the Constitution does, in actuality, supercede any other laws. The Fourth amendment, unfortunately, is the one that's most ignored, even by courts.

Edit: It should also be noted that confiscation of that money would not have been required to open an ivestigation on the guy in question, and even the most token of investigations, given the fact that he was hauling it around in cash, would have likely resulted in a perfectly legal warrant, which would have been a much better way to stop whatever (hypothetical) criminal activity was (hypothetically) happening. That kind of coin being carried around is indeed suspicious, but the Constitution is supposed to prevent suspicion alone from being a deciding factor in these cases.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Fri May 25, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:Not if the Constitution does, in actuality, supercede any other laws. The Fourth amendment, unfortunately, is the one that's most ignored, even by courts.

Edit: It should also be noted that confiscation of that money would not have been required to open an ivestigation on the guy in question, and even the most token of investigations, given the fact that he was hauling it around in cash, would have likely resulted in a perfectly legal warrant, which would have been a much better way to stop whatever (hypothetical) criminal activity was (hypothetically) happening. That kind of coin being carried around is indeed suspicious, but the Constitution is supposed to prevent suspicion alone from being a deciding factor in these cases.

But it wasn't an unreasonable search. The guy told them they could look at anything they wanted to. He told the cops he had a ton of money and showed it to them. No unauthorized searching at all.

Reason number (I lost track) of why you really shouldn't talk to cops. Just show them your ID, your proof of insurance. Don't let them in the house when they ask "can I come in". Don't let them look at stuff in your car.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby iamspen » Fri May 25, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

But it WAS unreasonable siezure, which is the key second half of, "unreasonable search and siezure."

And yeah. Don't talk to cops unless they have a warrant. Ever.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Fri May 25, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:But it WAS unreasonable siezure, which is the key second half of, "unreasonable search and siezure."

And yeah. Don't talk to cops unless they have a warrant. Ever.

From wikipedia:
A threshold question in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is whether a search has occurred. If no search occurred, then the Fourth Amendment does not apply.

In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable.
You can't expect privacy when giving permission. No search, thus, no 4th amendment protection.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby iamspen » Fri May 25, 2012 5:15 pm UTC

That goes back to what I said about courts ignoring the obvious intent and/or direct language of the Constitution, which happens all the time and for head-scratching reasons. Basically, what you're saying is, if I allow a cop into my house, he has free rein to confiscate anything he wants just 'cause? That seems like a pretty blatantly bad decision, even if they weren't completely ignoring the very definition of the word, "search."

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Diadem » Fri May 25, 2012 5:27 pm UTC

Using common sense, I'd say that even if you gave permission for a search, a search still occurred. I'd say such a search probably wouldn't be unreasonable - it's not unreasonable to search when you have permission - but it's still a search. And a seizure based on such a search can still be unreasonable.

But yeah, common sense never had much to do with law.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Fri May 25, 2012 10:56 pm UTC

Why we are using the 4th amendment with respect to the money being taken? The 5th amendment is much more applicable:
The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution wrote:No person shall be [...] deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; [...]

Someone was deprived of their property ($20,000) without due process of law. Seems pretty clear cut to me.

lutzj wrote:It's not victim-blaming because he's not a victim of anything done by anybody but himself. If he, a licensed driver, failed to take basic safety steps before leaving his car, then he is empirically incompetent. If somebody had tampered with his parking brake, then blaming him for not parking properly would be unreasonable, but it seems that the car was not malfunctioning at all.

Again, by his own admission, his mistake could have killed people.

I already said that saying he bears responsibility for it is fine and not victim blaming. That wasn't what I was focusing on though, it was on the assessment of "He should have just used child safety locks! Dumbass!" -- assuming an special ignorance or incompetence on his behalf for failing to go with an "easy" or "obvious" solution. It's the assigning of extra blame because of that.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby lutzj » Sat May 26, 2012 1:58 am UTC

iamspen wrote:That goes back to what I said about courts ignoring the obvious intent and/or direct language of the Constitution, which happens all the time and for head-scratching reasons. Basically, what you're saying is, if I allow a cop into my house, he has free rein to confiscate anything he wants just 'cause? That seems like a pretty blatantly bad decision, even if they weren't completely ignoring the very definition of the word, "search."


DO NOT ALLOW POLICE OFFICERS INTO YOUR HOUSE

unless they have a warrant. (Then, of course, it'd be a search, and you'd retain your 4th Amendment protections.)

Ghostbear wrote:Why we are using the 4th amendment with respect to the money being taken? The 5th amendment is much more applicable:
The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution wrote:No person shall be [...] deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; [...]

Someone was deprived of their property ($20,000) without due process of law. Seems pretty clear cut to me.


Also, this.

lutzj wrote:It's not victim-blaming because he's not a victim of anything done by anybody but himself. If he, a licensed driver, failed to take basic safety steps before leaving his car, then he is empirically incompetent. If somebody had tampered with his parking brake, then blaming him for not parking properly would be unreasonable, but it seems that the car was not malfunctioning at all.

Again, by his own admission, his mistake could have killed people.

I already said that saying he bears responsibility for it is fine and not victim blaming. That wasn't what I was focusing on though, it was on the assessment of "He should have just used child safety locks! Dumbass!" -- assuming an special ignorance or incompetence on his behalf for failing to go with an "easy" or "obvious" solution. It's the assigning of extra blame because of that.


Failure to engage child locks, individually, is a weak point against the father here, but: teaching your son how to get out of the car on his own, and then taking him to the river even though he can't swim, and then (apparently) not giving him stern instructions along the lines of "do not leave the car until I do" or "stay away from the river," and then not having a safety measure like child locks in place was irresponsible on his part.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby iamspen » Sat May 26, 2012 3:52 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Why we are using the 4th amendment with respect to the money being taken? The 5th amendment is much more applicable:


Currency is the physical property of the US government ([edit]the federal government[/edit]. The 4th Amendment is more applicable in this case, although, to be fair, the local authorities don't have rights to that money, either, according to the Constitution.


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