REFRESHER COURSE

So the Sandra Bland dashcam video can be filed directly under "Exactly What I Expected." Take a look here if you haven't seen it yet. Shockingly, the narrative the police pushed bears no relation to what's on the video. There's a half-decent chance this cop will end up fired, but that doesn't really help the person who's dead now.

There are two things every law enforcement officer in this country needs to have explained to them before they work another minute. First, we are not obligated to kiss your asses or be nice to you. There is a good chance that if we're dealing with you, our day has been or is about to be ruined. Assuming we didn't decide to murder someone or rob a liquor store that day, it's likely that you're about to hassle us over some minor infraction – 7 mph over the limit…my god, I'm history's greatest monster! – and hand us a ticket we can't afford now that local governments have decided in the face of declining budgets that law enforcement is an alternate form of tax collection. We understand that there's nothing to be gained by being rude, which is why most of use are curt but not aggressive when dealing with whatever crap you are about to subject us to. We are legally obligated to do very little – to provide identification, not to be violent, to comply with the handful of things you're allowed to ask us to do when we interact. That's it. Nobody cares if your feelings are hurt or if your ego reacts poorly to being treated with an attitude other than meek deference.

Second, we don't have to do things just because you tell us to do them. Whether we smoke a cigarette while sitting in our own car is not under your purview. We don't have to get out of the car when you repeatedly refuse to tell us why we've been detained. There is no law that states that we have to stop doing anything that you might be irritated by or that somehow displeases you. This includes smoking, talking on a cell phone while not driving, and being a black person who doesn't act like a 1930s Hollywood Step-n-Fechit toward anyone with a badge.

Oh, and if we refuse to do something that the law does obligate us to do, that doesn't mean you get to shoot us. That's what the law says. In practice, though, "All that matters is the cop had his feelings hurt and Sandra Bland is dead because she wasn’t nice enough to him." Pretty much sums it up, and unfortunately it happens so regularly now that people are getting numb to it.

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72 Responses to “REFRESHER COURSE”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    Well, that's all very well and good, Ed, but remember that there are actually two kinds of law enforcement officers in this country:

    First, the heroes who are doing a dangerous job and must be given every latitude in dealing with the "thugs" who, if they would just, to paraphrase Bill Cosby, keep their shoplifting hands off the pound cake, would not meet with the otherwise NECESSARY resolution of their behavior in the form of a life-ending bullet or 20. Those police officers do not NEED your smug condescension or your ivory tower judgment while they go about their incredibly hazardous business of putting young women into choke holds because they exhibited 'sass mouth' while being evicted from a pool party.

    Second, there are the jack-booted monsters who attempt to abridge the freedoms of great Americans like Cliven Bundy and anyone who wishes to carry an automatic weapon into the Hardee's franchise of his choice. These vicious enemies of democracy and the values that made America great are deserving of nothing more than the vilest abuse we as a digital/broadcast culture can heap upon them, and your mild suggestions to their behavior are an insult to the noble victims of their totalitarian savagery.

    In other words, Ed–too much or too little, but according to my sources in the national media and the internet commentariat, you missed the mark. Unless you'd like to double down and tell me there's something wrong with those twin-founts of wisdom.

  2. HoosierPoli Says:

    I became a teacher because I like helping people learn and, deep inside in the place we don't talk about at parties, I like having people look to me for correct information. I like being an authority figure, and if someone is disrespectful or dismissive to me, that ugly little part of me would seize control if I let it (naturally, because I'm a good teacher and not an asshole, I don't let it).

    Cops become cops for the same reason I became a teacher, only much moreso. They like being able to push people around and react badly when their authority is questioned. NOW, Ed, if all your colleagues were given tasers and handguns, and began to realize that they could taze, choke, or shoot unruly students with few consequences, how long do you think it would be before you yourself started frying the people who barge into your class 15 minutes late? I put it to you that the only reason teachers DON'T do this sort of thing is that any teacher who so much as breathes on a student is gone baby gone. Until similar accountablity is leveled at police departments, they're gonna keep this shit up. I'm glad we as a country have finally begun to wrap our heads around that.

  3. Tim H. Says:

    Hoosierpoli, in my lifetime teachers used to be allowed limited physical punishment, predictably, a phys-ed instructor took it too far and restrictions began. If law enforcement can get their act together they might avoid the most draconian restrictions on their behavior, "Mouthy expletive, expletive" is not a good enough excuse to make an issue of not signalling a lane change, something many traffic officers can't seem to manage either.

  4. Major Kong Says:

    Cops definitely expect you to go through this whole alpha-male dominance/submission routine when you interact with them.

    Mind you as an upper-middle-class middle-aged white male my only interactions with police have been of the "Do you know how fast you were going?" variety.

  5. Katydid Says:

    A couple of years ago, I was making my way home from work on a one-lane road when a cop pulled out of a fast food restaurant (I swear I am not making this up) without looking and nearly t-boned me. I swerved into the lane for oncoming traffic which was empty of other cars, somehow not losing control of the car. He immediately pulled me over–I figured for crossing the double-yellow. Nope. Apparently, as I was panickedly swerving out of his line-of-destruction, I *made eye contact with him*. I thought he was going to pull me out of the car as he screamed at me over and over, "You looked me *right in the eye*!"

    He demanded to know what I thought I was doing on the road (uhm, driving home from work at 4:30 pm?) and took my license and registration, returning *a half hour later* from his car to disgustedly inform me that I had no record (duh) and I was lucky–LUCKY–that he was not ticketing me for reckless driving and general bad attitude (I wasn't the one flipping my lid–he was).

    I'm not the usual demographic you see being slaughtered on the news, but I was seriously afraid for my well-being, and all because the cop was a hot-head. Had it not been in the middle of the afternoon with many witnesses, and had I not been quiet and subservient, I'm sure I would have been another statistic.

  6. Katydid Says:

    @JDryden; you nailed it.

  7. ronzie Says:

    @Katydid

    That cop was embarrassed that you saw him do something stupid and reckless, so he charged you so that if you reported him it would look like retaliation. Plus he's an asshole who can't admit his own mistakes.

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    Where did all of these "defensive" police officer's come from"

    The military?

    JAYZOOS, dude, I'm driving my 84 year-old mother to the doctor.
    No, I'm 57 and not stoned.
    Or, drunk.
    I'm NOT laying out IED's!

    Are you?

    Every police force needs to look at their officers, and ask, "Are any of these folks out of line?"
    And, if they are, either retrain 'em, of can 'em!

    "Shoot first, and ask questions later," works in mystery novels.
    Not in real life.

    You want to be shown some repsect?
    How about you EARN it?!?!?!?!?!?!

    I'll be happy to show you respect, when you show me some!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Major Kong Says:

    I got pulled over in one of the Columbus suburbs while driving my 57 DeSoto.

    Now I knew that the police dept in this suburb was pretty anal so I was very carefully following the speed limit.

    My DeSoto is factory stock. It's not a hot-rod, it doesn't have loud pipes.

    "I pulled you over because you don't have a front license plate"

    OK, technically true, but only a chickenshit suburban cop would waste his and my time on something like this. Columbus PD or a State trooper certainly wouldn't. I know this because I've driven by many of them without so much as a second look.

    "It's a 1957 car. There's no place to attach a front plate."

    "Go to the dealer. They can make a bracket."

    Realizing I'm not getting anywhere with this.

    "You're right sir. I'll get right on down to the DeSoto dealer next week and get that taken care of."

    I don't spend my money in that suburb any more.

  10. sluggo Says:

    @ kong

    Just like Obi-won seeking Luke past the Strooptroopers.

    Glad to see the Police Department cares enough to hire the mentally challenged.

    I suspect that you may have been profiled. If in his mind, he pulls over a white guy in a DeSoto, then he gets to harass a black teenage later in day. See,? Even Steven. He not a bigot.

  11. Katydid Says:

    @Ronzie; yup, the cop screwed up and took it out on me, however, I was the one facing retaliation, threat of arrest or bodily harm. As Gulag pointed out in his example, not an immediate and obvious threat to the police officer's life. However, as I sat there with his spittle in my face wondering if he was going to shoot me for the crime of looking at him as I was taking defensive action to avoid being t-boned by him, it occurred to me how little being innocent would have mattered in that situation.

  12. Major Kong Says:

    @Katydid

    You did the right thing in a no-win situation.

    All you can do is hope karma catches up to him at some point. I guy like that is likely to have an aneurism someday over which side his toast is buttered on.

  13. Katydid Says:

    @Major Kong; if I were in a different demographic, I could have ended up dead, and that was a very sobering eye-opener for me.

    @Ed; I shared your story with my spouse, who wanted me to relay the ticket he got in the late 1980s for doing 58 in a 55. At 4 am on a holiday weekend. Clocked at the bottom of a hill. Obviously this was a revenue-enhancing speed trap, because someone reaching speeds 58 at the bottom of a hill on a deserted highway is not a threat to life or limb. He did take it to court and it got dismissed minus the $110 in court costs.

  14. Misterben Says:

    This video hit me really hard. I watched it 20 minutes ago, and I'm still feeling that weird hot-cold sensation that out-of-shape people like me feel when we get flashes of anxiety (which is not something I often get).

    It was tough for me to really "feel" what happened in Baltimore and Ferguson. I understand it on an intellectual level and it upsets me, but it doesn't touch me very deeply. I'm not black, and I'm not a very empathetic person by nature, so while it outrages me that cops are killing unarmed people for no reason, it was an outrage in the brain – not in the heart. I hope that makes sense.

    This, though, hit me hard, because that cop is nothing but a grown-up schoolyard bully, and THAT is something I know all about. I was bullied all through elementary school until I hit puberty in 6th grade and got bigger, so I could start to fight back. Probably 50% of the self-confidence I have today came from the realization when I was 12 that I could FINALLY fight back, and the experience of actually doing it.

    So that cop's behavior was very familiar to me. Bland was reasonably cooperative and polite, but she didn't grovel or kiss his ass, and that pissed him off, so he immediately began to abuse his power. And nothing she said or did was going to change the course of events from that point on.

    I know exactly what that feels like. I haven't felt that way in decades. I put that feeling behind me when I developed the ability to fight back. But you CAN'T fight back against the cops, can you? Because they can shoot you. Or arrange for your "suicide" in jail.

    So now all I can think about is what it would be like to experience that schoolyard helplessness again, but NOW, in adult life. Where a bully with a badge could get away with killing me if he decides I'm not submissive enough.

  15. Mr. Wonderful Says:

    " now that people are getting numb to it."

    I wish. For some reason this Bland thing has made me more depressed and furious than the previous, equally-deserving-of-outrage killings. I'm an older white male in a sophisticated city (L.A.) and haven't had to deal with this kind of thing…well, ever. I was harassed by cops when I was in my 20s, but never brutalized, let alone killed. I hope this cop gets "fired" in the sense that he gets arrested, tried, and thrown in with maybe some other criminal types he'll recognize from previous interactions. The slogan "black lives matter" seems pathetically feeble in the face of this.

  16. Townsend Harris Says:

    In the game of who's afraid, some of us get to look cops in the eye and greet them with a hale "Hello officer, how are you and what can I do for you today?" and "why did you stop me, officer?" and "is there anything I can do for you, officer?" and "this is a traffic stop, officer?"

    By "us" I mean older middle-aged white guys in pricey, well-fitted suits who look like deputy mayors or like we know a deputy mayor. (Fancy dress shoes with thin leather soles are mandatory: thick crepe soles are a bad tell.)

    We have two words of advice for the rest of you: "tough shit".

  17. Skippper Says:

    None of this should come as surprise as long as you remember that police forces were designed specifically to keep the 99 percent in line — busting heads if they had to (or wanted to). This whole "serve and protect" crap is aimed at the one percent.

    In the south, police forces were originally slave patrols and later patrols to keep the former slaves in line. In the north, the police were set up to be strikebreakers and all-around headbusters.

    Are there some nice cops? Yeah. Do cops once in a while do something nice for someone. Yup — and when they do, it will go viral on the internet in a heartbeat as if that proves that cops never do anything nasty.

    A few years ago, a doctor friend of mine was asked to be on a panel to interview prospective police officers in our city. When the interviews were over, they asked him what he thought. He said, "Those are some fucked-up guys. There isn't one of them I would trust with a gun in public." He was never asked to be on the panel again.

  18. Skippper Says:

    BTW — This is a little off-topic, but is scarier than crap. Shows just how fucked up this country is. These guys are just waiting to shoot someone.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2015/07/21/the-enemy-knows-these-are-soft-targets/e0WtwRYYCkipyO3D6FIOlK/story.html?p1=feature_pri_hp

    Rambo wannabees "standing guard" outside recruiting offices, armed to the teeth with their semi-automatic penis proxies.

  19. mothra Says:

    I haven't seen the video, but did hear it on the Nice Polite Republicans this morning. What I just cannot understand is why the cop didn't just write her the ticket and go on with his day. It isn't as if she is constantly hurling verbal abuse at him while he is writing the ticket–which still doesn't justify arrest, but would explain him becoming angrier. So senseless.

  20. Francis Says:

    Many years ago (early 80s) I was lost on a country road in Connecticut going to visit my parents, and this car started tailgating. Now I was a college student and dumb, so I accelerated. And he did too, staying right on my bumper. After a few minutes of this (going way too fast), I come to a T junction and make a quick wide left and come to a stop on the side of the road. And he pulls in behind me and gets out. At this point I'm terrified.

    So naturally he's a cop. The squad car was so close I couldn't see the light bar. And when I roll down my window, I can immediately see he's totally drunk. So even more terrified.

    Deus ex machina, a car comes the opposite way and stops, and some middle aged guy calls out to the cop, by name, to ask what's going on. They chat for a bit and then the cop lets me go. The other civilian waits until I'm on my way before leaving.

    I've often wondered what would have happened to me if that car hadn't shown up. Sure I was a white college kid, but this was rural Connecticut and that drunk cop was having too much fun hassling me.

  21. The Mad Dreamer Says:

    And a heads up for everybody, but the video is heavily edited and has no timestamp. Wonder what it is that they don't want us to see, if what we can see was deemed acceptable for public viewing.

  22. Andy Says:

    "To Protect and Serve"

    I struggle to understand which of these things was occurring here.

  23. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Mr. Wonderful:
    Same here, but I've never had a *positive* experience with LAPD, either. They've been militarized for the drug war for most of my life.

    @Dryden:
    This disconnect could be easily solved if cops could get away the racial profiling many of them desperately wish they could. More resources for brutalizing Thugs; more True Patriots walking (tax) free. I wish Fox News would just openly call for that already.

  24. Robert Says:

    I remember being in the car with my first husband (from Panama) in San Francisco in the late 1980s. He was pulled over for a rolling stop. As he was driving, the officer was ticketing him; he kept looking over at me in the passenger seat, though (I'm white). Finally he looked right at me and demanded, "Don't YOU have anything to say?!"

    Still not sure what that was about. I've never driven an automobile, so my interaction with the Thin Blue Line has been minimal. My dad taught me that the police are there to protect people with stuff; the more of it you have, the more on your side they'll be. I've never seen anything to disprove that.

  25. Mo Says:

    Robert – also to keep Those People in line.

    You know, Those People we don't like. That we don't like because they're not exactly like us and disagree with us about things.

    And Those People with brown skins, especially.

    The 1%, of course, have always relied upon their own private servants and security staff, and still do. It's just us middle class taxpayers who are getting beaten up and killed by the authoritarian goons we're stupid enough to hire thanks to the 20% of us who fear Those People.

  26. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Emerson:
    Insert "with" after "get away."

  27. Alan C Says:

    It seems to me that the bit about the cigarette was where things started to go south. She didn't have to put it out, but she could have been nice and done it. ON THE OTHER HAND, the officer could have responded with something like, "I know you don't have to but I'd really appreciate it." But no. That would put them on the same level as roughly equals. I see no legitimate reason for him to order her out of the car at that point. And of course nothing in the (highly-edited) video explains the hanging in jail.

  28. Skepticalist Says:

    Back in the 1950s in my upstate NY town, cops would sometimes drive non-violent drunks home rather than run them though the system. I can't imagine anything like it today. Our cops have walled themselves off and they behave like an occupying army in search of new horrors to commit.

    I really don't why this horrible video got me thinking about those olden days. Things were probably worse. Nothing got unpleasant got reported. It's horrible that I know so many more people that don't get it. It doesn't matter to them and it's just part of dealing with brown people.

  29. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Skepticalist:
    You can chalk *some* of this up to basically well-intentioned groups such as MADD and other victim's advocates.

    Out of disgust with certain individual abuses, they slowly invested more and more power in the state and particularly the police, the enemies of their enemies.

  30. Scout Says:

    My horror at these situations escalates with each new atrocity. But this one… man, this one really gets to me for some reason. That poor girl.

  31. Jestbill Says:

    This is a one-way street. At some point there will be a reset, but it might be far in the future.

    There's a book called "Traffic." In it the author points out that there is a correlation between a measure of national corruption and just how bad traffic is in a country.

    Y'see, if I'm in a demographic that gets hassled, I will eventually understand that I'm going to be hassled no matter what I do. So I stop worrying about laws. It just doesn't matter whether I am nice to the cop or not, whether I speak a human language or not. He will do whatever he has in mind to do and I will either survive or not.
    That is modern America.
    Same reason: corruption.

  32. Khaled Says:

    @Major Kong- I think you've posted it before, but that Columbus suburb wouldn't be Upper Arlington, would it?

    And, ditto to what J Dryden said. As usual. Cops are heroes when they shoot blah people, and are jackbooted thugs when they point those guns at white people.

  33. Tim H. Says:

    Khaled, remember it's just a short step from profiling people of color to profiling for working class and unemployed of any color, pale pink folk are foolish to ignore the implications. And a society that permits injustice can be like a neighborhood that tolerates cars up on blocks and broken windows.

  34. Katydid Says:

    @Jestbill; your analogy can apply to the workforce, as well. If nothing you do will ever get you a raise or a promotion, and nothing will change the contempt your bosses have for you…why even put in an effort? Why not just coast along on "good enough not to get fired"? This accounts for a lot of the bad service we see.

  35. anotherbozo Says:

    Bravo, Ed. We need to help this post go viral. (Why can't Huff Po help? Daily Kos? Anyone else?)

  36. Major Kong Says:

    @Khaled

    Close. It was Grandview Heights.

  37. maurinsky Says:

    Anecdote, but I once called the police because we had a very inebriated person in our backyard, she was yelling and crying, and she wouldn't leave.

    Two cops responded, a man and a woman. The man took one look at the drunk, turned to me, and started YELLING at me "we pick this woman up once a week, why are you bothering us with this shit!" I kept my mouth shut, but my temper was getting very Irish as this was happening. They took the woman, who was apparently a regular flyer with the police, they took her to the hospital for a mandatory 72 hour involuntary stay in the psych ward.

    The next day, the woman cop came back and apologized to me for her partner's behavior.

    My other cop anecdote is that I was pulled over when I was 17 on my way to softball practice. There was no reason, I was abiding by the speed limit, wasn't breaking any traffic laws, but the cop was clearly in a mood to stir up some trouble. He made me get out of the car, searched the vehicle, and then said he could arrest me for carrying a deadly weapon – my softball bat.

    I am a white woman, but my parents are very suspicious of the police, so we were definitely raised with the idea that the best thing to do is to avoid ever having to interact with them, even if you're in trouble.

  38. Mark Says:

    YES! I knew if I read this site long enough I would find something to agree with.

  39. Mike Furlan Says:

    I was stopped by the police, while riding my bicycle, in front of my house in an all white suburb at age 12 about 50 years ago and asked to show identification.

    Middle of the day, no reason whatsoever was needed.

    This non-sense has been going on for a long time.

  40. Khaled Says:

    A couple cop stories for everyone to chew on. When I was working for Large Chain Drug Store, I ran a store in a rather tough neighborhood in Dayton. My store's customer demographic was about 90% African-American, with a few white people who worked in the neighborhood (we were by a factory and a high school), people passing through/ got lost, and heroin addicts who were in the neighborhood to buy drugs. We called the cops all the damn time, and sometimes they would even show up.

    First story: A few weeks before Xmas, a guy came in and pointed a gun at one of my employees and demanded cash. My employee was nervous and fumbled with getting the drawer open, etc, and started to put the whole cash drawer (the till) into a bag for the guy. While he was doing that, one of the regular pharmacy customers came up on the scene, and not seeing the gun, starting yelling at the robber to get the hell out of the store. The would-be robber panicked and ran, instead of shooting anybody (thank god). Police were called, and they actually showed up pretty quickly. One of the witnesses to the whole thing *knew where the would-be robber lived*. Told the police where the guy lived. Did the police catch the guy? NOPE. The detective told my employee after he called to see what was going on with the case that they went to the address, asked if anyone knew the guy and after the residents predictably said "no" closed the case. Way to go DPD, way to go.

    Second story: A young woman in her 20s came in with a small backpack, filled it full of deodorant, and ran out the door. Myself and another manager gave chase, because apparently we were insane. Eventually the woman dropped the backpack, and we went back to the store. My employees had called 911 when we took off out the door. When the cops came, about 45 minutes later, I showed the one cop the small mountain of deodorant the women had stole. He asked me "if it's still here, was a crime even committed?" I informed him that she had taken the stuff, but I went and got it back. He seemed irritated that we even called. Way to go, DPD.

  41. yourcrazyuncle Says:

    Here's what I don't get. You act like a shit, rude, disrespectful, mouthy. Now, your dead. Who's at fault again?
    What the hell ever happened to "yes, sir, I won't do that again sir, I'm sorry, I forgot that signal…"
    Should she be dead for being rude, of course not, but really think a sec.
    What unholy shit storm did this cop just come from? Whats his day been like? How hard is it to be fucking civil to a policeman, especially if you don't know how his day has been going?

  42. drouse Says:

    @Alan C

    The latest update that I've seen is either making an attempt at explaining the suicide or smearing the victim(I know which one I believe). It appears that some time in the past she attempted suicide. Of course, It took them days to come up with it and most likely violated medical confidentiality to get it but they got it out there.

  43. Steve in the ATL Says:

    @yourcrazyuncle: "Here's what I don't get. You act like a shit, rude, disrespectful, mouthy. Now, your dead. Who's at fault again?
    What the hell ever happened to "yes, sir, I won't do that again sir, I'm sorry, I forgot that signal…"
    Should she be dead for being rude, of course not, but really think a sec.
    What unholy shit storm did this cop just come from? Whats his day been like? How hard is it to be fucking civil to a policeman, especially if you don't know how his day has been going?"

    That's a two-way street, my rightwing friend, and the cop is supposed to be the trained professional in this situation, despite what Mika, Steve, and Brian tell you.

  44. drouse Says:

    @yourcrazyuncle

    Uh, the cop who couldn't stand to to have his feelz hurt and whomever his accomplices at the jail were. You know that there is something called professionalism. Go somewhere where your derp fits in Troll.

  45. yourcrazyuncle Says:

    What the hell is derp?

  46. Katydid Says:

    Funny (that is to say, enraging) enough, police stopped a Confederate-flag waving, armed idiot who went for his guns TWICE while they were talking to him…and somehow he's not dead. Anyone want to make some guesses about this guy's ethnicity?

  47. Barry Says:

    Khaled's story is a replay of the one by one of The Wire writers, about Baltimore:

    When you see abusive police, they are not being abusive to help the citizenry/enforce the law/keep public order/maintain safety.

    It's more likely that they are being abusive *instead* of doing the above.

  48. Khaled Says:

    @Barry-
    The best lazy cop story I have from my time at Large Chain Drug Store is from one my LP guys who had stores in Flint. They had caught a pharmacy tech stealing a large number of narcotics, had her on video doing it, and were going to interview her/ fire her. He called the police at about 8 am to let them know they literally had the goods on this woman who stole thousands of dollars worth of controlled substances. The cops said they'd try to be there. The interviewed her at about 10am. She confessed IN WRITING to stealing all of the pills, plus a bunch of other stuff. The LP finally sent her home at like 3 or 4 PM because the cops never did show up. He called back a few times, and finally went down to the police station to file a police report. The woman behind the counter told him that it wasn't worth their time to deal with the crime, and that likely nothing would happen to the woman.

    To quote The Roots "cops are gonna come, but they ain't gonna do shit, they don't want no problems, what are y'all stupid?"

    It always seemed to me that when something happened and we had to call the cops, half of the time the cops were blaming the people/us for being in the 'hood. Like, duh, what did you expect? My employees didn't really trust the cops, and I knew why. Cops didn't trust, or care, about them.

  49. Jado Says:

    Can we get an update on the lyrics to Strange Fruit?

    Maybe something like…

    "Our nations jails bear Strange Rugs. Blood on the floor due to traffic or drugs. Blood on the car hoods, and blood on the door. Strange Rugs lying on the jail cell floor."

    I know, not good. But maybe someone could do a professional job? I think it's time for some protest songs. Cause nothing seems to change regardless of the "news saturation" for each successive incident.

  50. drouse Says:

    I thought I pop back by with a correction to the comment I made about explaining her suicide. It seems that the information about the attempt came from jail intake forms. They are going into full-on smear the victim mode.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sandra-bland-said-she-was-depressed-attempted-suicide-jail-records-n396886

  51. Greg Says:

    The suicide admission on intake forms is actually bad for them- if they failed to check her routinely (every 15 minutes or less for suicide watch) – and they did, according to their version, they've just spawned a lawsuit for civil rights violations under Section 1983. Idiots.

  52. Skepticalist Says:

    Is it true that this cop said something to the effect that he would "light her up" when he threatened her with a taser?

    If that's the case he should never be allowed near a police station. Hopefully nowhere near this planet.

  53. Major Kong Says:

    "You act like a shit, rude, disrespectful, mouthy. Now, your dead. Who's at fault again?"

    Um, the fault of the person(s) that killed her?

    Last time I checked rudeness didn't carry a death sentence.

    Or did you mean to say she was acting "uppity"?
    Perhaps she didn't "know her place"?

    Go on. Say it. You know you want to.

  54. Gerald McGrew Says:

    What bugs me is why he came up behind her in the first place.

    If you watch the full video, the cop is going the opposite way on the street S. Bland is on, and as soon as he passes her going the other way, he does a quick u-turn and stomps on the gas to get right up behind her. That's when she pulls off to the side, but doesn't use her turn signal.

    Why did he turn around and rush right up on her, BEFORE she'd done anything?

    There's something else going on here.

  55. The Mason Says:

    @yourcrazyuncle Two points.

    First, whatever crazy shit storm the cop may have come from is irrelevant. He's the professional, so, really, it's on him to not act like a shit. Which he did. Funny how you didn't call him on that. And if the cop really did experience that bad of a shit storm, then perhaps he should have taken the rest of the day off or something. Dealing with shit storms is, last I checked, an important part of Officer Friendly's job description.

    Second, derp is the noise that ignorance makes.

  56. Nate Says:

    I was driving the box truck for my company back to Bloomington after making a pet drop off in New Castle at their Humane Society. It was around 1:30 in the afternoon and there's this little nothing town that a two lane highway goes through. An hour beforehand, I had spotted a state trooper parked on the side of the road next to the town's post office. I was going the speed limit and nothing occurred. On my way back though, the trooper was in the same location and I was now heading the other way. I pass him and am getting ready to make a left in to a left hand turn lane when all of a sudden he's behind me with his lights flashing.

    This startles me and instead of pulling off to the right side of the road, I make the left turn (safely, there was no traffic coming and it was a blinking red) and then pull over to the side of the road. He stops behind me and comes up to the window of my truck. I roll it down and am calm and polite, he takes a hard look at me and asks me why I didn't pull over on the right side of the highway. I told him that he startled me and I panicked.

    He then asks me why my vehicle has Ohio plates on the front and Indiana ones on the back. I'm still a little panicked and baffled, I mention that this is a company truck and everything should clear INDOT muster. He then walks around front and looks at the plate up there. He sees that what he thought was an Ohio plate was actually a humorous vanity plate that says "SPAY SHUTTLE" in big letters on it.

    Knowing that he has nothing, he asks me to open the truck door so he can look at the VIN numbers and asks to see my license. These all check out and he gruffly reminds me that I should come to a complete stop whenever I'm at a blinking red light and lets me go on my way.

    I have no idea how he could have mistaken that vanity plate for an Ohio license plate. They look completely different.

    Cops always will and always have made me nervous.

  57. J R in WV Says:

    Of course there's something else going on here; this county needs/wants/desires to have the black population of the county put down in their place. And this u-turn by the cop was to work on that assignment, his most important task.

    Their other option is to be killed – or at least beaten into submission – by the local Texas state police. And this young woman was delighted to have been offered a professional position in this town!

    People saying "All she had to do was be more polite!" are people who don't understand the law. No one should be forced to be extra polite to officialdom! It isn't our job to look out for the fee-fees of the police! They are supposed to be professionals, willing and able to deal with murder, theft and brutality.

    Dealing with an innocent woman who is irritated, angry, even a little rude, should be just part of the day. A harmless if somewhat irritating part of a LEO's day.

    But no,. NO! Be careful to kiss those cops; butt, lest they KILL you! Not how it should be. The cop needs to spend several years in prison, and then live as a felon the rest of his lame life.

    And you guys telling us how she should have been polite! You guys suck! Go back to Russia where they used the knout to punish trouble makers. That's the officialdom you deserve!

  58. Michael Says:

    One explanation that makes a lot of sense to me is that I've been told that there is an absolute epidemic of steroid usage in police departments.

    A lot of what you see looks like people who are kind of abusive to start with and are also experiencing 'roid rage.

  59. Michael Says:

    And here's one weird part to me — I've had positive interactions with police officers in shitty situations. One in particular stands out; my now-ex-girlfriend had to kick her kid out of her house for being a douchebag. This was, as you might imagine, an incredibly terrible scene.

    She calls the police, they send over a 6'4 guy in his 40s and a smaller gal in her 20s. They assessed the situation, determined that the kid was an adult and not the property owner, and turfed him efficiently and politely.

    It sucked, but it wasn't particularly awful for the officer or his partner; they were just making a lousy situation slightly less lousy. Why the hell wouldn't you WANT to be that person?

  60. Barry Says:

    "It sucked, but it wasn't particularly awful for the officer or his partner; they were just making a lousy situation slightly less lousy. Why the hell wouldn't you WANT to be that person?"

    Some people do.

    Some people don't.

    It seems to be documented that for police work, the latter group will drag the rest to their level, even if the latter group is a small minority.

  61. Robert Says:

    Barry, so Gresham's Law applies to human behavior? That's not good.

    From a lot of what I've been reading, it appears that traffic stops are one of the chief reasons for non-blah people interact with police. That makes me feel a little better about never having driven a car.

  62. yourcrazyuncle Says:

    Major Kong Says:

    July 23rd, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    "You act like a shit, rude, disrespectful, mouthy. Now, your dead. Who's at fault again?"

    Um, the fault of the person(s) that killed her?

    Last time I checked rudeness didn't carry a death sentence.

    Or did you mean to say she was acting "uppity"?
    Perhaps she didn't "know her place"?

    Go on. Say it. You know you want to.

    Don't be so dense.
    Isn't it time we thought of all this in terms of just human beings? Who said anything about race? Not me.
    I said nothing about kissing ass, someone else did.
    My point is, well several.
    Where did just trying to be nice go? She surely knew the dynamic of the situation, could the pot in her system effected her judgment? So she got stupid and belligerent, it cost her something dear, but the cop didn't kill her, did he? She killed herself.
    "a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason"

  63. Major Kong Says:

    At this point we don't know for a fact if she killed herself or if she had help.

    The situation strikes me as suspicious.

  64. Khaled Says:

    "The pot in her system"

    You must be unfamiliar with 1) the length of time marijuana stays in the system (about a month) and 2) how people react when stoned. Stoned people don't pick fights.

    Insinuating that it is somehow the fault of the woman who was pulled over that they are dead in the jail cell ? "Now, your[sic] dead. Who's at fault again?" I am unsure where being rude is a capital offense. She didn't need to put out her cigarette, given how expensive they are, I could understand not wanting to put it out when, at least in her mind, the encounter with the policeman was almost over. And she was "disrespectful"? How? By not thanking the officer? Police officers are not royalty, and I've had to bite my tongue a few times when I've been pulled over, just like I've had to bite my tongue when people have been rude to me when I've been at work. Jesus, the guy pulled her out of the car and pretty much beat the crap out of her, and it's all her fault? I bet you think that women who wear skimpy clothes are asking to be raped.

    "Who said anything about race?" Um, the woman was black and given the a) post and b) current climate of treatment of black people by police, I'd say it's very relevant.

  65. Beleck Says:

    Uppity women, lol. and black. boy what a combination. in America that usually leads to death, as we have seen time and time again. and Videos can be "fixed". Planned Parenthood and Acorn show how "successful" editing can be. Truth is edited out.

    our laws are written to make us all the "criminal". Laws we have no idea that exist until the cops, NSA, FBI decide we have broken them. America is repeating the Nazi, "first they came for the Commies" litany. They will finally got "everyone", one group at a time. just like they are doing here. Oh they will come for the whites, eventually, but first they have to "instill" some fear in the "other", the uppity women, blacks, gays, latinos, immigrants. One by one, divide and conquer. With Nixon, St.Reagan and this party of henchmen(Republicanism and their continual "WARS". wars on blacks, on latinos, gays, uppity women, et al. all designed with laws that criminalize our "ways."

    Whites have no clue, they are such easy marks. Faux Noise is proof of that. it is just amazing to see how easily White don't get that killing Blacks is a precursor to White killings. When "Black Lives Matter" so will "Womens Lives Matter, Latino Lives Matter and Poor Lives Matter, et al. Until then, just know they are doing to the Blacks what they will eventually do to the rest of us/99%, one Group at a time.

    First they came for the Socialists, then they came for the Bolsheviks, et al, by they time they come for the rest of us there will be no one left to say anything. Comrade, We have ways of making you talk!

    or put you in jail, where you won't come out alive.

  66. Fiddlin Bill Says:

    I'm hoping that there will be a careful study of the officer's work pattern, as far back as there are records. Did he enjoy cruising streets where he might find young women drivers, or young black women drivers. Did he enjoy stopping them and engaging in the kabuki dance we get to watch in the dash-cam video–asking things which on the surface seem innocuous, but which are actually verbal traps to enable his escalation of the situation on a power level. That seemingly friendly request about the cigarette was, in the mind of the officer, a trigger question. If Ms Bland had put the cigarette out she would probably be alive, but she had no idea that was the game he was playing. Was this a pattern in the officer's work?

    Finally, I think the law gives all officer's the power to order someone out of a stopped car. This is a terrible loophole in all our civil rights. The officer in the Bland case knew this–he goes over it with his superior officer on the radio after Ms. Bland has been arrested. He had learned exactly how to stay within the law, yet exert maximum power on civilians when he wished. As that conversation shows, the arresting officer is "slick."

  67. moderateindy Says:

    The truth is most cops, particularly suburban and rural officers, are fairly decent reasonable people. The profession does tend to attract it's share of
    a-holes, and bullies, and the recent trend of hiring ex-military guys is sheer folly. But it only takes one jerk-off to taint an entire town's police force. Plus let's face it 90 percent of the time you have an interaction with a cop it's going to be adversarial, so even if you did something unquestionably wrong and the cop you deal with was completely professional, you're gonna walk away thinking the cop is a jerk.

    But can anyone give a legit reason why this guy needed to do anything besides give her the ticket and walk away? It is just like Ferguson where the cop didn't like the way he was spoken to, so instead of just ignoring it, and going on his way, he slammed on the brakes, put the car in reverse, and initiated a confrontation. That's exactly what the cop in the Bland case did. It should have been a nothing traffic stop with a ticket issued, but he felt the need to escalate the situation. It does not matter what kind of day he was having, every cops initial stance when doing his job should be to keep everything professional and routine. If you can't let stupid crap like someone being rude roll off your back, you should not be a cop, period.

    Lastly, this is definitely true in Chicago, and I imagine in most large cities, the institutional culture is so toxic, and so entrenched that it can never be fixed. Even hiring well intentioned people can not help, as they are simply bombarded by such negativity by other cops when it comes to dealing with the public that they inevitably are indoctrinated into that us vs. them mentality.This leads cops to view the people they deal with as less than human which is a recipe for abusing their power.

  68. An interesting question – Bridget Magnus and the World as Seen from 4'11" Says:

    […] there's a lot of questions about what happened to Sandra Bland. And no, I don't think it's appropriate for an officer to threaten to "light you up" under most […]

  69. Mike Furlan Says:

    Went to the Wake on Saturday.

    Overflow crowd.

    Multiple cops directing the traffic.

    At least the local police force will understand.

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