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Vanguard Commentary: Why Violence Should Not Be Discounted

Photo Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Photo Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The Baltimore riots have encompassed many different narratives, however, one of the strongest ones has been condemning the violence. Many, like President Obama, have sympathized with the cause of justice while stating plainly and clearly, “There is no excuse for riots.”

“They’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement, they’re stealing,” President Obama said. “They’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”

At the same time, he called out what he called a slow response to legitimate concerns about police officers interactions with the African-American community.

“We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions,” Mr. Obama said. “This has been a slow-rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”

As much as one may agree with the second statement, it is time to start questioning the first statement. While I have always admired the nonviolent civil rights movement – and read the works of Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther King on non-violence – I do not believe we can discount violence as a tactic nearly as quickly as some would like us to.

As I wrote yesterday, it said that people are saying that violence is not the answer, we need to allow the political process time to work. The person then said, I don’t know if violence is the answer, but I know that the politics is not.

Or, as a protester stated on Tuesday, “My question to you is, when we were out here protesting all last week for six days straight peacefully, there were no news cameras, there were no helicopters, there was no riot gear, and nobody heard us . . . So now that we’ve burned down buildings and set businesses on fire and looted buildings, now all of the sudden everybody wants to hear us . . . Why does it take a catastrophe like this in order for America to hear our cry . . . .?”

There is a problem here and that is, while we say we abhor violence, the fact is that for the most part peaceful protests generally fade into the background very quickly. Unless police respond to those protests with disproportionate force, the protests are ignored. The Occupy protesters on the UC Davis Quad attracted almost no attention from the media until Lt. Pike doused them with pepper spray.

Even the bank blockers at UC Davis attracted scant attention until they succeeded in forcing US Bank to close its doors.

We have seen the protests – “the hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe” – but by the latest episode the media had lost some interest.

I was struck by the disconnect between those claiming that the rioters do not value human life and the lack of respect that the Baltimore Police had for at least one human’s life.

In the face of this, there has been some push back on the adherence to the principles of nonviolence for protesters and political dissent. In a way we have so romanticized the civil rights movement and its principles of non-violence, that we have forgotten that its effectiveness was both unusual and, in its contemporary time, controversial.

However, officials have learned that, if you send police dogs and fire hoses on peaceful protesters, you lose. If you pepper spray peaceful protesters, you lose. If you ignore the protests, the protesters grow bored and they fade away.

The media will cover the first novel protests and then quickly lose interest. The protesters go home, the politicians go back to business as usual and nothing changes.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in the Atlantic, “Nonviolence as compliance,” “Officials calling for calm can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death, and so they appeal for order.”

She writes, “I turn on the news and I see politicians calling for young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and ‘nonviolent.’ These well-intended pleas strike me as the right answer to the wrong question.”

She continues, “The people now calling for nonviolence are not prepared to answer these questions. Many of them are charged with enforcing the very policies that led to Gray’s death, and yet they can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death and so they appeal for calm.”

She points out that there was no call for calm following the death of Freddie Gray – calm by the police who may well have perpetrated a violent act upon him.

Instead, she argues, “When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con.”

She concludes, “And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is ‘correct’ or ‘wise,’ any more than a forest fire can be ‘correct’ or ‘wise.’ Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”

A more radical view is expressed in Salon by Benji Hart, “Baltimore’s violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy.”

He writes, “As a nation, we fail to comprehend Black political strategy in much the same way we fail to recognize the value of Black life.”

“We see ghettos and crime and absent parents where we should see communities actively struggling against mental health crises and premeditated economic exploitation. And when we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results,” Mr. Hart writes.

He adds, “I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful. The bad-apple rhetoric would have us believe that most Baltimore protesters are demonstrating the right way—as is their constitutional right—and only a few are disrupting the peace, giving the movement a bad name.”

The problem is that there was a “virtual media blackout of any of the action happening on the ground, particularly over the weekend.”

Instead, he argues, “Referring to Black Lives Matter protests, as well as organic responses to police and state violence as ‘non-violent’ or ‘peaceful’ erases the actual climate in which these movements are acting, the militant strategies that have rendered them effective, and the long history of riots and direct action on which they are built.”

“I believe it is crucial that we see non-violence as a tactic, not a philosophy,” he writes. “Non-violence is a type of political performance designed to raise awareness and win over sympathy of those with privilege. When those on the outside of struggle—the white, the wealthy, the straight, the able-bodied, the masculine—have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not care, are not invested, are not going to step in the line of fire to defend the oppressed, this is a futile political strategy.”

I want this to be clear – I am neither calling for nor justifying violence. However, I believe we need to revisit the words of President Obama.

“We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions,” Mr. Obama said. “This has been a slow-rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”

The problem here is that, while the President is saying the right thing, nothing has changed since August of last year. The country stopped listening to peaceful protest but they are hearing the riots loud and clear.

If the public officials really abhor violence, they need to take steps to avoid it by solving the problem, not offering us more rhetoric.

As D. Watkins put in his New York Times op-ed this morning (In Baltimore, We’re All Freddie Gray): “The young uprisers of Baltimore have been paying attention to the peaceful protests in Sanford, Fla., Ferguson, Mo., and New York, only to be let down by the end result, over and over again.  We are all starting to believe that holding hands, following pastors and peaceful protests are pointless. The only option is to rise up, and force Mayor Rawlings-Blake to make what should be an easy choice: Stop protecting the livelihoods of the cops who killed Freddie Gray, or watch Baltimore burn to the ground.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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225 thoughts on “Vanguard Commentary: Why Violence Should Not Be Discounted”

  1. Tia Will

    When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con.”

    All of the cases that we have seen recently in the news have involved use of excessive force, or failure to use de escalating tactics which could have been chosen before the use of lethal force was perceived as necessary. Our police are charged with protecting our communities, and yet time and again we see them as the instigators of violence. As a pacifist, I believe that violence is wrong in and of itself. It is an admission of defeat of one’s goals and a descent into force to achieve one’s ends. It does not matter to me whether it is the police using their official capacity to hide behind, or whether it is the protestors using inefficacy of peaceful means as their justification, the actions are the same and show a profound disrespect for human life regardless of who is inflicting the harm.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i think until the leaders are willing to take the same approach to police officers using violence as they do to riots/ protesters, they are asking one side to unilaterally disarm

    2. Miwok

      It is a con, Tia. You give a guy a gun and he kills with it. You give a cop a gun and he kills with it. Hammer and nail.

      There are no intermediate tools, although clubs used to be the first weapon, but now it is zero to kill. You cannot engage these people with your fists or clubs any more. Tasers are proving to be ineffective unless they get a good shot. so the tools they have are either wrong or not enough.

      I empathize with people who say “He was a good kid” – yeaah but when he took all those drugs, or tried to fight with cops, he escalated the argument way beyond what it needed to be. Youth or stupidity? Toss a rock at a cop? You could toss one at me next?

      You, and this article, attribute too much intelligence to the conversation. People respond with their feelings, as I sometimes do with these posts. They are way too complicated to be understood, intellectual conversations. I appreciate all of them until someone thinks they have a problem solved. It only works for them. I have given up trying to change the world, because the world will not go along with the best of ideas.

      1. Tia Will

        Miwok

        I am sorry to hear you say that you have given up trying to change the world. It is my point of view that we create the world that we live in, one action at a time. It is up to each of us whether we are going to promote a world of peace and collaboration through our words and our actions, or whether we are going to promote a harsher, more violent and unforgiving world. This is a choice we make with every decision of our lives. We can choose to improve the world through our behaviors and our responses to the actions of others, or we can point the finger of blame, and pretend that we ourselves are blameless.  As humans we are very blessed to have this option which very few other species possess to the best of our knowledge. I believe it is our responsibility to use this power inherent in each of us to better our world, one decision at a time.

      2. Alan Miller

        Tasers are proving to be ineffective unless they get a good shot.

        Or unless they “accidentally” grab their gun instead.  Then it’s very effective.

        oops.

    3. TrueBlueDevil

      You have a selective, and wrong, memory.

      When the Boston cop arrested the mouthy non-compliant Harvard professor, he was arrested with no physical harm.

      When Michael Brown was shot, it was after Brown, high on pot, attacked the officer, tried to steal the gun, fired off the gun in his car, and then – at 300 pounds – was rushing him.

      Trayvon Martin attacked a community watchman, pinned him to the ground, and was slamming his head into the concrete.

      In Baltimore, the crowd threw rocks, bottles, and concrete at officers, who didn’t respond with like force.

      I think your politics cloud your memory.

      1. Davis Progressive

        not really.

        “When Michael Brown was shot, it was after Brown, high on pot, attacked the officer, tried to steal the gun, fired off the gun in his car, and then – at 300 pounds – was rushing him.”

        we don’t know that he was high on pot, we know he had it in his system and that it can persist in his system for a month.  we also know that the officer esclated the situation and that when michael brown was shot he was 150 feet (half a football field from the squad car) and may have been fleeing the scene.

        “Trayvon Martin attacked a community watchman, pinned him to the ground, and was slamming his head into the concrete.”

        Zimmerman pursued martin against the wishes of dispatch and escalated a situation that didn’t need to be escalated by an untrained person

        in baltimore you have a group of police officers who have escalated the situation for years and it finally exploded.  $6 million in settlements over the last few years is extraordinary.

        1. zaqzaq

          I guess every time an officer attempts to detain a criminal like Brown they are “escalating the situation” in your opinion and thus responsible for the outcome.  I guess on your planet the police should never escalate the situation by arresting criminals and just let them go.  Really good for society.  I look at it much differently and realistically in the Brown case.  Brown committed a violent crime just prior to the confrontation and Wilson ID’d him as a suspect.  I guess it is Wilson’s fault in your reality for attempting the arrest that somehow had Brown struggling over Wilson’s firearm inside the patrol car.  We know this based on the forensic evidence that you cannot get around.  The bullet inside the door, Brown’s blood inside the vehicle, and gunshot residue inside the vehicle.  How is this Wilson escalating the situation.  The blood trail from Brown’s injured thumb turns back towards Wilson and advances at least 20 feet.  There were no gunshot wounds to the back.  Brown escalated the situation when all he had to do was prone out on the ground and submit to the officer’s legal detention.  Brown’s escalation got himself killed.

          Zimmerman legally followed Martin until Martin attacked Zimmerman who then killed Martin in self defense.  Martin, not Zimmerman, escalated the situation.

          In both cases the liberal media went on a rampage.  Even fabricating evidence that Zimmerman was a racist.  Just look at the Rachel Maddow show’s doctoring of the 911 tape.  How many of these black men would be alive today had they not escalated the situation or attempted to get away.  How many of these black lives were lost because they were killed while trying to avoid arrest.  Hmmmmmm, there’s a lesson here somewhere.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “I guess every time an officer attempts to detain a criminal like Brown they are “escalating the situation” in your opinion and thus responsible for the outcome. I guess on your planet the police should never escalate the situation by arresting criminals and just let them go”

            A point that DP has raised, and one I agree with, is that there are situations where the safety of the public is clearly at stake and police need to do what is necessary to apprehend a person right there and right then. However, the Walter Scott case is a great example – there was no public safety risk, there was no risk to the officer – they could have let him go and either arrested him at his home or sent him a notice to appear. It’s the lesson that UC Davis learned dealing with the protesters. Instead of going in, dragging the protesters out of the bank with the cameras rolling, they sent them notices to appear and it worked and they effected the bookings and the hearings with no problems whatsoever.

            On the Brown matter, I’m not sure it was that violent. The store owner didn’t even call the police. And the officer didn’t know about that incident. Nevertheless, as has been pointed out, Brown was 150 feet from the police car when shot, it is far from clear that there was immediate risk.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            “Zimmerman legally followed Martin until Martin attacked Zimmerman who then killed Martin in self defense. Martin, not Zimmerman, escalated the situation.”

            Depends on what you mean by “legally followed.” He was told not to follow Martin by dispatch. That mistake escalated the situation. Had Zimmerman followed instructions, what transpired never would have occurred.

    4. Meganonymous

      As a pacifist, I believe that violence is wrong in and of itself. It is an admission of defeat of one’s goals and a descent into force to achieve one’s ends. It does not matter to me whether it is the police using their official capacity to hide behind, or whether it is the protestors using inefficacy of peaceful means as their justification, the actions are the same and show a profound disrespect for human life regardless of who is inflicting the harm.

      Hi Tia, long time lurker first time poster here. While I generally agree with most of your posts, I would like to push you (and David) on your use of the word “violence” and your assertion that the actions of the protestors and the police are the same. They are not the same. One group, which wields institutional power, is committing violence against human beings. The other group, which has been systematically oppressed, is damaging property. These are completely different actions. Broken windows and burned police cars can be replaced. Black lives can’t.

        1. Meganonymous

          Yeah, like I haven’t heard that one before.

          1. Uprisings and direct actions have accomplished social change throughout history.

          2. Nobody is fooled by your racially-coded use of the word “thug.”

          3. Your concern about property damage by people who are justifiably angry, rather than the epidemic of state violence against Black bodies that PROVOKED the reaction you’re seeing in Baltimore, Ferguson, etc. seems to show that you value property over Black lives. I would suggest you examine your priorities.

        2. Barack Palin

          Throwing rocks at the police, burning cars and buildings, acting like hoodlums, yes, they are nothing but “THUGS” and it’s people like you who condone these types of actions who make it all possible.

        3. Meganonymous

          You’re just making my point for me. You’re more upset about the people who are damaging THINGS than the people who are hurting and killing PEOPLE.

        4. Barack Palin

          “Thugs” isn’t a racist term, I often hear white Russian mafia members referred to as thugs.  Also, it’s not all black people rioting, there are people of all races involved, including whites, and they’re all thugs in my opinion.   And yes, all these rioters of all different persuasions in Baltimore are thugs and acting like animals.

        5. Davis Progressive

          my understanding has always been that it is.  i googled it and it turns out there is an interesting discussion: https://www.google.com/search?q=is+thug+racist&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The way I would put it is that she used unfortunate language that she shouldn’t have used and yes, she probably has some biases and stereotypes about the protesters.

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          Don’t you recall when Star Wars Jar Jar Binks was considered racist, not just a crappy character?

          We have a slice of people who are easily offended, and there is some history to consider. But it does get to be a little much. We have a president who typically starts his day around 11 AM and doesn’t read most of his daily intelligence briefings (but knows college basketball inside and out), but don’t ever call him lazy… when the Dems were creamed in the last election, they referred to him instead as “feckless”.

        7. tribeUSA

          BP–good on you for defending your statements, I’m with you on this one.

          Of course the original thugs were the Indian thugees. My first impression of thugs as a kid was from italian gangster movies, where the enforcers were referred to as ‘thugs’. The dictionary definition does not include any racial references. I’m baffled that some of the commentators seem to have a reflexive reaction that this term is racist–a person of any color can be a thug. Or do we need to invent a different name for violent criminals who happen to be black? Would DP be happier if they were referred to as depraved low-life degenerates?

          And i notice DP has had no comment to the fact that the mayor and the president, who are black, have used the word ‘thug’ in reference to some of the rioters. It is part of their vocabulary; are they among the legions of unconscious racists? I admit I’m baffled and dismayed by some of the warped, blinded cyclopean thinking that is sometimes displayed on this forum.

        8. hpierce

          A number of posters have focussed on an interesting problem… the use of vocabulary, and by who and when can the words be “acceptably” used.  My forte is not in linguistics, but 100 years ago, “faggot” meant a piece of wood or a cigarette. “Gay” meant happy.  Brazil nuts were known as “ni**er toes”.  “Thugs” meant ruffians, bullies, and was used to describe individual/groups of white police during the ‘police riots’ at the Democratic Nat’l Convention In Chicago in 1968.  I do get disturbed when people tell me what words can or cannot be used if they are accurate according to the dictionary, but they find those words offensive.  I just self-edited myself on one word, but then again never liked Brazil nuts, so really don’t care.

          “Abortion” is another one.  My mom had two, but the word doesn’t mean a doctor or abortifcant was involved.  Her body decided ‘this isn’t going to work’, and ended the pregnancy even before she fully realized she was pregnant.

          Maybe the “lexicon artist” could do a “piece” (with many multiple meanings, some considered derogatory) on this subject.

      1. Tia Will

        Hi Meganonymous and welcome as a first time poster,

        There is much about the actions of the police, and much about the actions of the violent protesters that is different in historical terms and in terms of their individual life experiences and what has brought them to the point of violence. With this, I agree with you.  I also agree with you on the issue of long term systemic oppression.

        However, the consequences of a specific violent act may be the same and are not forseable. I agree that throwing rocks and breaking windows is not the same as shooting in the back or leaving a spinal cord injury untreated. But, lets suppose that someone is trapped in one of the buildings that are burnt and dies. The consequence for that individual, regardless of their race, is a hideous death regardless of the motive or intent or background of the arsonist. Or let’s suppose that a police officer genuinely trying to protect people takes a projectile to the head.  They are just as dead as if they had been shot by the police. In these cases it is not the intent that is significant, it is the outcome.  This is the reason that I abhor all violence.

        People tend to justify their own violence according to their own history and philosophy while vilifying others and ignoring the fact that the other has their own story of why they are truly in the right.  For me violence is the act that is wrong regardless of its degree or the motivations of the perpetrator.

         

         

        1. Frankly

          leaving a spinal cord injury untreated

          How many doctors are guilty of this?  Misdiagnosis.

          Interesting how we have moved from cops broke his spine, to cops failed to provide timely medical attention.  What next?… cops failed to see the suspect was hypoglycemic?

        2. Barack Palin

          Now we’re on to the cops failed to put Gray in a seat belt.  Yeah, like all perps that get put in a paddy wagon are also put in seat belts.  This just shows the desperation of the left as it’s looking more and more like Gray intentionally injured himself.

          The sources quoted by the Washington-based station said the medical examiner had determined Gray’s death was caused by a catastrophic injury after he slammed into the back of the police transport van while inside it, “apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.”

          http://wtvr.com/2015/04/30/freddie-gray-catastrophic-head-injury-matches-bolt-in-back-of-police-van/

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            At least at this point, all we have is the police officials failed to get him medical attention in time. The rest, is not clear yet.

  2. zaqzaq

    Last night’s media comedy in Baltimore was pathetic.  They were roaming around hoping for the big riot to cover live and it did not happen.  The police had a very restrained approach that appeared to work.  The real story last nigh may have been how much of the bad behavior is done because of the media coverage?

    1. Davis Progressive

      that is not really point of this article.  the point of this article is that no one would be paying attention if there weren’t riots right now.

      1. LadyNewkBahm

        Do you really think I care what the point of the article is? lol. the point of the article is the same as the point of every other vanguard article on this subject: to downplay the culpability of the protestors and to attack law enforcement.

        1. LadyNewkBahm

          no doubts – of course I’m changing the subject – lol. greenwald is rewinding the same tape and playing it again – for the nth time.

    2. Tia Will

      A mother who was caught on video smacking her 16-year-old son around after he threw objects at police said when they made eye contact, he knew he was in trouble.”

      I found this video very interesting from the perspective of where this young man learned his violent behavior. I suspect that where he learned to strike out when angry was not from his peers, but rather from the mother whose response to anger is obviously to strike out herself. What it would appear that she has taught him quite successfully is that a valid option for venting your strong feelings is to hit or strike out at whomever you feel is vulnerable.  What might this young man’s reaction have been in terms of peaceful protest vs rioting if his mother’s consistent message to him had been that regardless of your emotions, you do not strike or deliberately attempt to harm another person. Might he have been more, or less likely to engage in violent behavior if he had consistently had non violent behavior modeled to him by his parent.

       

      1. Topcat

        I suspect that where he learned to strike out when angry was not from his peers, but rather from the mother whose response to anger is obviously to strike out herself. What it would appear that she has taught him quite successfully is that a valid option for venting your strong feelings is to hit or strike out at whomever you feel is vulnerable.  What might this young man’s reaction have been in terms of peaceful protest vs rioting if his mother’s consistent message to him had been that regardless of your emotions, you do not strike or deliberately attempt to harm another person. Might he have been more, or less likely to engage in violent behavior if he had consistently had non violent behavior modeled to him by his parent.

        Yes, I think you are right.  This young man was acting out the behavior that he saw in his family and community.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Generations were raised who were spanked, had the belt, a switch, or other taken to them when they misbehaved as children, and those individuals lived and started communities where you could leave your car and home unlocked because they were so safe and non violent.

        It’s the tree hugger generations where we have bars on windows, and young men wilding in packs, many who have few if any positive male role models.

        This Mother, who has been on TV, obviously knows right from wrong, so I support her in that, but she apparently has 5 or 6 children with no father.

        1. Tia Will

          Generations were raised who were spanked, had the belt, a switch, or other taken to them when they misbehaved as children, and those individuals lived and started communities where you could leave your car and home unlocked because they were so safe and non violent.”

          And the same could be said of generations who were raised without their parents ever laying a hand on them. One does not have to use violence in the form of spanking, switching ( a cute euphemism for beating), or using a belt of other object to beat one’s children. I know this for a fact because I raised my own children ( now both successfully contributing in age appropriate ways) without any corporal punishment and have known many other families who have done the same.

          So if one can achieve the same results with or without physical violence, which do you suppose is the best approach ?

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Which is best? What works consistently.

          I can tell you conclusively that tens of millions of adults were spanked on occasion, as children, and turned into law-abiding, honest, hard-working adults. They were raised with rules, discipline, and consequences, items that seem anathema to many liberals. Catholic schools had nuns who would teach an inner city classroom of 50, 55 students, and keep order with an occasional low-level attention-getting device – like grabbing an earlobe with 2 fingers. Of coarse, most of these children had fathers, and we had the societal norm of en locus parentis as a defacto standard.

          Insert liberal thinking, lawyers, “self esteem” and “time outs”, and we have many inner cities that are run amok, a virtual Lord of the Flies. Today’s inner cities and schools are clearly a war zone in many instances, despite trillions of dollars and decades of liberal policies.

          I was a fairly well-behaved kid, and can’t recall any spanking of note after a young age. I had consequences, I had chores, I had work, I had discipline.

      3. Meganonymous

        “The mother in the clip… is not implying that there is anything wrong with protesting or acting in response to yet another injustice. She is scared as hell that the presence of her child is dangerous because his black bodied-ness and maleness and open defiance to authority could cost him his life.”

        “I don’t have a son, but I do have a mama, and she has never prioritized my feelings or my pride above my safety. And her fear for me (staying out late, going anywhere alone—fears she still has now and I am well into my 30s) is not always based on logic, its based on possibility, its based on knowing what can happen to a person in black skin in this country, just for walking down the street or trying to get home. I imagine that fear is magnified when you are the mother of a boy-child who is black and working-class in an urban city. I don’t think the mother’s interference was a result of her anger (as it has been characterized by news outlets), but rather her fear. A black mother’s fear might look like anger (or embarrassment to hear the Baltimore mayor tell it) in public. It might seem aggressive or abrasive or too much on the outside looking in, but a black mother’s love is desperate and deep. I believe this woman wasn’t just pleading with her son to go home, she was pleading with her son to live. In my opinion, she was trying to save her son’s life, protect him from the possibilities of danger or recognizability that could put him in danger, if not immediately then later for being seen as an agitator or troublemaker. I don’t believe her reaction was an attempt or intention to vilify the folk who were there, it was about protecting her son so that she doesn’t have to know what it is like to stand in protest because something happened to her child.”

        Read more here: http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/2015/04/28/a-black-mothers-love-or-what-love-looks-like-in-public/

      4. tribeUSA

        Tia–I saw the video of the mom-son interaction; and it looked perfectly healthy to me–while this may seem like I’m quibbling with words (I would contend it is being more accurate with words), I would say that the Mom’s actions were not violence, but a ‘physical reprimand’–no physical harm was done to the son (scuffed hair & maybe a couple of light bruises/scrapes); though I concede that a physical reprimand can grade gradually into a violent act.

        I think TBD has a point; physical reprimands (that don’t degenerate into violence thru physical/psychological trauma) seem to have an empirical history in being effective in our social history of discouraging bad/poor/socially unacceptable behavior, and of helping children/adolescents understand where acceptable boundaries are. Some parents have gone too far with it and caused physical/psychic trauma that I agree tends to renew a cycle of violence over generations. However I would contend that, if physical reprimands are moderate and judicially administered, they will be more likely to result in adults who are less likely to be violent.

        From the video, I would say mom did the right thing and the son was appropriately chastised, and more likely to check with his conscience and do the right thing in the future when deciding whether or not to enjoy the excitement of contributing a share of violent mayhem in a riot.

        1. Tia Will

          To those who defend the actions of the mother, I agree that she did the right think in taking her son away from the action. And I believe that there was fear driving her actions as well as probably a mix of relief at finding him alive and anger as a reflexive response to having been so scared.

          However, I disagree with her actions  ( she could just have easily just grabbed him by the hand or back pack and started walking ) and I disagree that any use of “corporal punishment” is beneficial. It models the behavior and shapes the belief of the child that the use of force is justifiable if one’s emotion be it fear, or anger, or frustration is strong enough. Violence will virtually always escalate until the point where one individual is forced to concede. For me, it is not about the degree of violence ( although that certainly does matter), it is about the lack of imagination and constructive reasoning and the demonstration of a better way of being together than is manifested by any degree of violence. For me, those in a position of power, be it the parent, a teacher, a police officer or a community leader should always be demonstrating the best behaviors, not acting out our worst.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Why is that unbelievable when many people consider physical violence toward a child to be abusive. Are you telling me she had no other way of getting her son out of there?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Tia wrote: “I disagree that any use of “corporal punishment” is beneficial.”

          I recall when I was very young, 4 or under, I walked towards the oven, which I think was on, and reached up towards a hot burner. Something “bad” happened. I can’t recall exactly, but I learned at that age that an oven could be dangerous, and not to reach towards the burner. I’m pretty sure the “bad” thing was a spanking. OOOOoooooo. Shudder. A 3 or 4 year old child can’t be reasoned with like an adult, it’s pretty simple.

          Many of these “corporal punishments” really get the attention of the child, to wake them up. There is no physical harm from a few swats on the tokhis, grabbing an earlobe.

          This all leads towards boundaries, rules, respect for authority … concepts liberals hate. Their credo was “question authority”. They also seem to want to be friends with children, treat them like adults, when many of them are just an amorphous lump of clay still in the stage of formation.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, yes, sometimes bullies only respond to a stronger individual. Judges in past decades used to often give bullies an option – jail or the military. I know a man who was given this option, jail or the Marines, and he said the Marines straightened him out real quick.

  3. Davis Progressive

    what is interesting is i keep hearing that the protesters are from outside the city, but i saw an aricle which said 70% of police officers are from out of town and 20% are from out of state in baltimore.

  4. Not a Liberal

    Very bias for protecting thug behavior.  Lots of stats out there about how this is not about anything noble, but about a bunch of thugs wanting to use any excuse to riot steal, destroy, rob and beat people.  No leaders, no objectives, no specific issues, just anytime a black man commits a crime and gets shot, it must be because the cops are racist.  NO other explanation is considered.  If your only tool is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail.

     

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          What part of the police are also subject to the laws do you not get? Let’s see, in this case, a prisoner who moments before is able to run, dies of a spinal cord injury sustained while in police supposedly protective custody. Not one word from some here about even the possibility of excessive use of force or neglect to provide medical care on the part of the police !

          Do you honestly believe that the police are not bound by the laws that they are hired to uphold ?

           

        2. Frankly

          Out of all the “events” that mysteriously have become big media shows, only two of them are clearly cops breaking the law.

          What makes you ask a question like you have that indicates that I don’t support punishing cops that break the law.  I support all lawbreakers being punished for their crimes.

          But I don’t support a politically-motivated witch hunt for people that are required to do a tough job that the rest of us don’t want to do and are made uncomfortable about it.

          We don’t know what happened to Mr. Gray.  I hope you are not moving to say people are guilty before proven innocent.  If so, then it is you clearly pulling the double standard.

        3. Frankly

          “enforcement”

          the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.

          “the strict enforcement of environmental regulations”

          Just ask people how enforcement feels when delivered by agencies of the government that liberals support.  Liberals don’t care about this.  They don’t care that the EPA overreaches and hurts people.  They don’t care that the IRS targets conservatives.  They only come out in support of or opposition to the actions of government as it supports their political agenda.

          This is clear and not very complementary for liberals.

        4. Napoleon Pig IV

          Actually, people who are guilty are guilty whether anything is ever proven or not. The idea that the decision of a judge or a vote of jury has anything to do with the actual state of innocence or guilt is one of the fallacies that keeps those in power in power and those under the boot with their faces in the dirt. It’s also a very good reason that no matter what the merits of the death penalty might be, it’s a very bad idea to delegate it to government. Oink!

        5. zaqzaq

          We should treat negligent doctors the same way Tia wants us to treat negligent police officers.  Prosecute them.  How is a doctor who amputates the wrong leg any different than a cop who mistakenly grabs his firearm instead of his tazer and shoots a suspect.  One distinct difference is that the person harmed by the doctor is less likely to be a criminal than the one injured by the cop.

  5. Matt Williams

    One of the more heavily emphasized story lines in the media coverage yesterday was the mother who proactively sought out her son at one of the activity sites (not sure what to call them … demonstration sites doesn’t seem to be an adequate description) and forcibly removed him from the activity scene.

    A question that went through my mind while watching the oft repeated video was, “Would the mother have been arrested for child abuse or domestic violence if her actions had taken place in the same location two weeks ago?”

    1. Miwok

      She was trying to get the sock hat off his head.. hhaha

      I have scars from my momma trying to grab my face when I moved suddenly.. I am sure this was just like that.. I saw no fists, no corporal punishment..

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    Fox News has broken the story that the Mayor told the police to stand down, which then resulted in a wild night of rioting.

    Maybe incompetence, affirmative action, or sloppy liberal thinking is what lead to the riots, not “racism”.

     

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    David seems to desire violence as a viable option here at least for discussion (read this story, and the headline of yesterday’s piece), instead of deeper or alternate points of view.

    Here are some alternate views.

    Baltimore is a city that has been under Democratic rule since 1939 – 76 years – so is this a city merely run by failed liberal policies?

    Baltimore is a “majority minority” city, and a “majority minority” police force. Are David, DP, Tia, and liberals accusing minority police officers of racism?

    Fox News broke the story that the Mayor told the police force to stand down the night riots ensued. Is this then more a case of incompetence on the mayor’s part? Or did the word come down from Obama to let the city burn? Is this failed liberalism? Mayor Rudy would have stopped that mayhem, and businesses, structures, police cars, budgets, and a horrible PR image would be saved.

    Police Chief Batts has had a mixed history in Oakland and elsewhere. How did he land such a job with a mixed track record, was affirmative action part of the reason he was selected to run the police force (which is accused of being heavy handed), not a clear track record of success?

    Don’t forget, Barack Obama keeps mentioning recent cases where he was proven wrong! The Boston police officer didn’t “act stupidly”, Trayvon Martin attacked and slammed the head of a watchman into the concrete, and Michael Brown was a 300-pound thief who attacked a police officer and shot off his gun in his patrol car, before charging him again. His re-writing of history is baffling!

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        He’s the big daddy, 45 minutes away… he could have just said “let them protest / destroy stuff safely”, and then this is what we got. He did say, rather nonchalantly, ‘This is nothing new”.

        Facts are, the African American community did far better under the economic polices of Ronald Reagan as judged by a variety of factors.

        10 years after Reagan’s death: How does Obama’s record compare to Reagan’s?

        “The peak period of youth unemployment for 16-24 year olds under Reagan was 1982, when it was 17.3%. Reagan reduced it to 10.9% by 1988. Under Obama, the peak for that same group was 19.1%. By 2013, the number was 16.3%.

        “The unemployment data for 16-19 year olds is even more pronounced. Under Reagan, it fell from 24% in 1982 to 14.8% in 1988. Under Obama, it declined from a high of 25.9% in 2010 to only 22.9% in 2013. The numbers for black Americans aged 16-19 are even stronger in Reagan’s favor. They fell from 49.4% in 1982 to 31.9% in 1988—a vast improvement. Under Obama, they declined from 43.0% in 2010 to only 38.8% in 2013.”

        http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/05/10-years-after-ronald-reagans-death-how-does-reagans-record-compare-to-obamas/

        1. Don Shor

          He’s the big daddy, 45 minutes away… he could have just said “let them protest / destroy stuff safely”, and then this is what we got. He did say, rather nonchalantly, ‘This is nothing new”.

          The president made some very well-considered, careful and articulate comments about the situation specifically and in general. Your personal dislike for President Obama has been well-documented on the Vanguard over many months. I urge you to read carefully the statement the president made during the press conference with the Japanese prime minister the other day. Your characterization of him and his comments is way off base. Your implication that he wanted “to let the city burn” is disgusting.

        2. Frankly

          Unrest Over Race Is Testing Obama’s Legacy

          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/09/us/politics/unrest-over-race-is-testing-obamas-legacy-.html?_r=0

          In the Saul Alinsky role of community organizer, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution”…  where the ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America’s social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx and Engels predicted.

          Alinsky said:

          “[The community organizer] must first rub raw the resentments of the people; fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act…. [His function is] to agitate to the point of conflict [and] singl[e] out [precisely who is to blame for the] particular evil [that is the source of the people’s angst]…. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it…. [T]here is no point to tactics unless one has a target upon which to center the attacks.”

          CEOs
          Industry
          Whites
          Successful people
          Police
          Military

          These are the targets.  And America’s elite liberals are either complicit or supporting it blindly chasing good feelings of having their ideology validated.

          Obama is the source of the greater conflict that has developed in the black community.  He likes it this way because it serves his political agenda.  His “transformation” of America cannot happen without violent revolution.  But he needs law enforcement to be weakened since law enforcement has grown capable of stopping violent revolution.

          The media and the Democrat political machine are now just one and the same.  They all talk.  They all plan.  They all scheme.  They all go to the same parties.  They are all the same people.

          So there is this agenda to divide and conquer.

          It is working well thanks to American liberals.

          1. Don Shor

            Obama is the source of the greater conflict that has developed in the black community. He likes it this way because it serves his political agenda. His “transformation” of America cannot happen without violent revolution. But he needs law enforcement to be weakened since law enforcement has grown capable of stopping violent revolution.

            And now you join True Blue Devil in the disgusting category.
            This president does not “like … greater conflict” nor does he support “violent revolution” or weaker law enforcement.
            I seriously wonder about what the Tea Party has done to American politics. You two show how bad things have gotten when we can’t even discuss issues without resorting to this kind of stuff. Your rhetoric is off the wall. I don’t get it.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, I have seen a photo of Obama at a chalkboard explaining the theories of Alinsky (who had much personal, documented correspondence with Hillary Clinton).

          Is this photo legit?

          Second, was that a one-off photo, or did he teach a full class on Alinsky as some have claimed? One day, one quarter? … I don’t want to overstate the significance.

          BTW, did Obama change things in Chicago when he was a “community organizer”? It sounds like the city is still a colossal mess.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Don, but we know he sent  three emissaries to the funeral of felon Michael Brown, but didn’t attend the funeral of Jews slaughtered by Islamist’s in Paris… while all other major Western leaders attended in a sign of unity and support.

    1. Tia Will

      Are David, DP, Tia, and liberals accusing minority police officers of racism?”

      My opinion is “if the shoe fits, wear it”. Racist behavior is discrimination against another because of the race of the individual being discriminated against, not the race of the perpetrator. I know that this is not a universally held opinion, but it is mine. I speak for no one else and my opinion should not be generalized to “liberals”.

       

        1. Tia Will

          TBD

          At this point the report hasn’t even come out, so we don’t know how he severed his spine.”

          This is true. But there is information that has been reported. We know that he was able to run immediately prior to his arrest. We know that he made the statement that he could not move. We know that there was a delay in obtaining medical aid. This much has been stated by police representatives according to the news.

          Please note that I have not made any comments at all about police culpability except for the failure to obtain prompt medical care which has already been admitted by the officials.

          I do not particularly like being tarred verbally for statements that I have not made. I want to be very clear. I am not against law enforcement. I am against unnecessary use of force. I favor de escalation whenever possible over escalation. I favor a policy of standing down and waiting for support rather than shooting as a first response to “fear for one’s life”. I favor letting a non violent suspect ( namely one that is fleeing , restrained, or has their hands up) to  escape rather than using potentially lethal ( taser or gun or choke hold) on them.

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Tia, I agree with much of what you say here.

          One example are the lives that are lost when police choose to engage in high-speed chases with citizens who have simply done a ‘rolling stop’, or speed away from police. I’ve heard discussions on the radio (various stations) that claim that most of these citizens had no rap sheet, or simply minor offenses, but when you look at the horrible or fatal accidents that happen frequently in these instances, they don’t seem warranted. The benefits are minimal and the costs are huge. This seems to be an example of where we need to retrain police and have new procedures.

  8. LadyNewkBahm

    I don’t think obama wants to let the city burn – thats rediculous – afterall, it doesn’t reflect well on himself. I think his recent comments were actually the first decent thing that I’ve heard from him in awhile -namely that the destruction of property and looting is not protesting or making political statments.

    perhaps obama is saying the right thing now because he’s learned from his mistakes as pointed out by TBD:

    “Don’t forget, Barack Obama keeps mentioning recent cases where he was proven wrong! The Boston police officer didn’t “act stupidly”, Trayvon Martin attacked and slammed the head of a watchman into the concrete, and Michael Brown was a 300-pound thief who attacked a police officer and shot off his gun in his patrol car, before charging him again. His re-writing of history is baffling!”

    hes sided with the protests in the past and that has gotten him into trouble – attacked by police department heads for taking the criminal’s side. Maybe he’s learned his lesson?

     

      1. Frankly

        I’m too tired to list the reams of comments Obama has made that are clearly destructive to race relations and one missed opportunity after another to set the record straight.  Eric Holder just added more gas to that fire.

        The two of them have basically undermined the credibility and authority of law enforcement.  They came out accusing racism, and then after the facts were in and it clearly was not racism, they refused to take responsibility for the damage caused by their malicious words and actions just as the looters in the neighborhoods had.

        What is “disgusting” here is yours and others blind support and protection of this President who is clearly the most divisive and polarizing President that the country has ever had.

        You must know of course that law enforcement didn’t suddenly get more heavy handed during Obama’s rein.  So then, why now the political and media attention?  It is because a strategy is being executed… the Rules for Radicals strategy.

        This President would burn this country to the ground to make it into something that he and his wife can “finally be proud of”.

        1. Don Shor

          This President would burn this country to the ground

          Some day you’ll take responsibility for your own words. This post is just another example of your incendiary and disgusting rhetoric, blinded by your personal hatred for this president. Yet you have the temerity to call the President “divisive and polarizing.” Listen to yourself. Look in the mirror.

        2. hpierce

          TBD… you’d be more effective if you cited less biased/extremist/partisan sources of info.  Just a suggestion.  I read it, and was “less than persuaded”.  But I’m hated by those who are on the far ends of the political spectrum.  I actually think, and analyse.  My experience with those on both the “left” and the “right” [which is often ‘incorrect’ in my view], is those beyond the first standard deviation on either side base their belief systems, and their comments, on what amounts to ‘fundamental’/’jihadist’/absolute reactions.

          A “pacifist” who is not prepared to use lethal force in order to save their child/loved one from a clearly imminent, and deadly threat, not sure what term to use, but not good… a “law and order” person who would ‘take out’ another from a ‘slight’, that sorta/maybe might be a “danger”, is a sicko.  Just my opinion.

          This forum seems to attract comments from the extremists. There are posters who try to actually share knowledge, think, and share.

        3. Frankly

          Come on Don.  Look at the state of the US and the state of the world.  Then go and review what the political left said about W and even Reagan.  Your critique of those like myself being critical of Obama falls way short of objectivity.

          There is very little that Obama says or does that attempts to hold this country together and bridge the gaps across existing devisions.  He has widened them.

          He is either niave or he is detemined.  He isn’t an ignorant man.  And when you really listen to what he says and track his actions, his intent is clear.

          I get the strategy.  I have used it before to implement significant change in organizations.  You have to disrupt and destruct existing structures of power to transform the organization.   You might like it.  I do not.  I think he is taking the country down a slippery slope.

          1. Don Shor

            Then go and review what the political left said about W and even Reagan.

            I’m not talking about “the political left” or what anybody said about Bush or Reagan, or anyone else. I’m talking about you and what you said, and what you continue to say.
            Own your words.
            You said he likes conflict. You said he wants to weaken law enforcement. You imply that President Obama wants violent revolution.
            That’s crap.
            I’m talking about what True Blue Devil said, that the president wants Baltimore to burn. That’s crap.
            It’s the kind of language that divides the nation.
            People like you and True Blue Devil are the problem. Own your words. Both of you. Look in the mirror and ask yourself how this crap you keep posting helps in any way.

        4. Frankly

          It helps by sheding light on the truth and combating the type of ignorant and blind devotion to identity politics over what is good for the country.

          This is the President of the United States we are talking about Don.  It is absurd and inappropriate that you turn this to be about me or TBD.  Make your case for why you think he is such a great President and provide evidence to back your arguments against what you don’t believe.  But the “crap” here is your tendency toward personal attacks against people whos opinions you disagree with on some topics.

          I don’t know what your background and experience is assessing the character and intentions of people, especially leaders, by observing their actions and behavior… but I have lots of it.  I was disappointed a little bit when Obama won the first election because I had an early read on him from the debates.  But I was like a lot of people proud that the US had elected a person of African descent to the highest office.

          But he has turned out to be my worst nightmare as a President.  He continues to build on my assessment that he is deliberate in his devisivness.  Yes, I think he dislikes Congress and I give him some latitude for not doing more working with that body of dysfunction… but as a populist President, he just keeps poking and denegrating and pitting one group against another.  He is working to destruct all the time-tested structures of power and authority that have kept us all safe and prosperous and replace it with what are basically all radical trouble-makers.

          I think history will mark him as one of the worst ever.  You apparently think he is marvelous.  Instead of personally attacking those that disagree with you, why not make your case?

          1. Don Shor

            Why not own your words, Frankly? Still waiting.
            His comments on the current situation in Baltimore were well-considered and articulate. I suggest you read them or watch the video link I posted earlier.

    1. hpierce

      Yeah… un-verified… maybe true, maybe not… the ‘source’ was PD… no matter where it was published.  It could explain the injuries.  If true.

      1. Frankly

        Maybe true.  Maybe not.  But if true it extends a track record of over reaction against the cops.

        It is clear that many that post on this topic are aflicted with a rush to judgment against police.  Almost like they are so sure that law enforcement is guilty of crime just by existing.

        It is troubling… very troubling.

      2. zaqzaq

        An interesting report.  It would not be the first time a prisoner has tried to  hurt themselves in custody.  We also have well documented suicide by cop incidents.  Neither is a rational reaction by a sane person.

        1. Frankly

          He was also a routine drug user.  Shouldn’t we stop rushing to judgement?  The narrative that the cops would just break the neck of a suspect who did not struggle is something that should require a high bar of vetting before we should accept it.  Yet, our politicians and media just go for it.

          The media has also failed to report on all the peaceful protests of people demanding an end to the rioting and to bring people together.  But that type of thing does not move the left political agenda foward… so better to ignore it.

    2. Not a Liberal

      What? you mean another case where people who want something to be true, jump to conclusions, excuse bad behavior, make false racist claims and then it turns out to be all just more BS?  Shocking…

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        Two problems with that.  (1) The Police already admitted they were in the wrong by failing to give him medical attention.  (2) Prisoner accounts are notoriously unreliable. I’m very skeptical about it and also very skeptical that it would come out now rather than ten days ago.

  9. zaqzaq

    I wonder if Freddie was on searchable probation or parole? That would explain why he ran from the cops when he knew he had an illegal switchblade. Maybe one of the officers recognized him and knew he had a search clause. How would their conduct have been illegal regarding the pursuit and detention.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Maybe. It doesn’t explain the injuries or the lack of medical attention. Let us say for the sake of discussion – he was on searchable probation. That would explain his reaction to police. But it wouldn’t explain much else in this incident and it wouldn’t explain why the police were not forthcoming with information that might have at least partially diffused this incident.

      1. Barack Palin

        it wouldn’t explain why the police were not forthcoming with information that might have at least partially diffused this incident.

        Maybe at the time the police didn’t have the information that Gray was intentionally hurting himself in the van for possibly the reason of making it look like the police had beat him.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Maybe but jailhouse sources are now considered by the courts to be so unreliable that unless there is corroborating information, the evidence is inadmissible. Part of that is they tell what authorities want to hear out of promise or expectation of favorable considerations.

        2. Barack Palin

          Yes that’s sometimes true, but once again the left is running with a story that has doubts and as we’ve found out in the Martin and Brown cases much harm was done by the left pushing an agenda that turned out to be false.

        3. David Greenwald Post author

          The left isn’t running the story – the story is running the left.  The people were out there protesting and rioting on their own.  The big problem here has been the lack of credible information and explanation early on.  Had they come out with an explanation that he hurt himself from the start, this might have been avoided even with the missteps.  By the time that information -suspect as it is – came out, the damage was done.

        4. Davis Progressive

          frankly – i continue to lose respect for you.  you consistently replace partisanship and ideology over having an intelligent discourse.

        5. Frankly

          I can live with that DP.  Sometimes speaking frankly comes at the cost of the more sensitive dropping off.

          Read the book “This Town” and get back to me.

  10. Tia Will

    It helps by sheding light on the truth and combating the type of ignorant and blind devotion to identity politics over what is good for the country.

    Well I certainly agree that it exemplifies the type of ignorant and blind devotion to identity politics over what is good for the country. Where we disagree is that you seem to see this behavior on only one side, whereas I see it as characteristic of both.

    President Obama has been disappointing to me as a president, but certainly not for the reasons that you cite. For me, he has not gone nearly far enough in establishing a more collaborative society. But then, that is not what you want is it Frankly ? You have made competition, and only competition the cornerstone of your philosophy and cannot see a value in any other approach. This is the height of “blind devotion” and yet you are unable to see or as Don says “own” that position.

    With regard to your comment about favoring holding police officers accountable to the law, I can provide on case in which that was definitely not the case. Remember the pizza parlor drunken brawl incident ?  You staunchly defended the police officer involved at one point stating ( by paraphrasing) “why shouldn’t he be allowed to go out and “blow off a little steam”. So in your view drinking, then driving kids to a pizza parlor and participating in a fight is ok if you are a police officer, but not if you don’t have a badge.

    Sorry Frankly, but based on your own words, I simply do not believe that you believe in equal enforcement of the law for police officers.

  11. Davis Progressive

    “Sorry Frankly, but based on your own words, I simply do not believe that you believe in equal enforcement of the law for police officers.”

    i second that belief

    1. Frankly

      By the way, the President just killed two innocent people in a drone attack in Pakistan.  Isn’t murder illegal?  Shouldn’t he be tried in a court of law and convicted?

      Or because he is on “your team” we should give him a pass?

      1. Davis Progressive

        you made an interesting legal leap.  your first comment was that the “president” “just killed” and then asked, ‘isn’t murder illegal?”  you have conflated killing with murder.  murder has a very specific legal definition.  to get murder you would have to find that the killing was done intentionally and illegally.  that’s at least a reasonable stretch in the case you describe.  you’d also have to attribute direct blame to the president, which i don’t see how you do unless you can tie the president’s orders to the failure to proper carry out the mission.

        i’m very much against the use of drones and i think they should be abolished.  i don’t consider myself on a “team.”  i reluctantly voted for him.  but i don’t see how you can get the president with murder based on the facts at hand.

        now back to the subject at hand.

  12. TrueBlueDevil

    How many white suspects or criminals who have died in police custody or interaction has Obama rallied the troops for the past six years?

    How many has he addressed in press conferences?

    How many times has he had his hand-picked emissaries attend the funerals of said white criminals / suspects?

    1. Frankly

      Exactly TBD.

      Not only that, but have policing changed since Obama came in office?  Why didn’t we have all these media storms about policing in black neighborhoods then?

      The reason we are seeing it all now is that the Democrats are in trouble and Obama’s legacy is toast.  And so the Democrat political-media industrial complex strategized on the next round of Saul Alinsky tactics to blow something up so they can pin it on their political opposition.

      It is unbelievable how all these smart and well-educated people on this blog take the media bait and run with it.  I see it as people so craving validation for their views that they switch off listening to any facts that don’t support that.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i guess when you can’t defend the actions of police with logic and reason, you have to resort to these kinds of partisan conspiracy theories.  of course you are unlikely to gain any adherents from across the aisle from that kind of tactic, but it places well with your base.

          1. Don Shor

            Yeah, this is getting ridiculous. Three conservatives on this blog have lost any vestiges of my respect. Robb Davis just said it well on another unrelated thread:

            this kind of rhetoric is toxic to the public discourse and ignores what is happening to create a better community here.

            And ‘here’ includes the greater community of our country.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        The mainstream liberal media won’t report the Democratic policies in Baltimore that lead to these statistics for the neighborhood Freddie Gray lived in:

        – 50% truancy rate

        -50% unemployment

        – 60% of young adults have less than a high school education

        Frankly, how non-thinking are the Left and journalists? The Democrats have this “war on women” stance, and even the President has his “commission on the status of young girls”… but don’t the statistics really show if there is any special “commission”, it should be for young boys?

        – it is young boys / men who are incarcerated

        – it is young boys who are dropping out of many schools at record rates

        – it is young boys / men who have decreased their representation in college

        – 250,000 young black men have been killed by other young black men the past 3 decades

        – it is blue-collar jobs that were the domain of the middle class that have been shipped overseas, or taken by illegal immigrants, all which were jobs predominantly held by young men

        This really seems to prove the point that Democrats are after votes and power (by scaring women to the polls), not addressing critical issues.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Are you suggesting that when a young black fatherless man commits armed robbery or assault, we give him a prize?

          Or are you somehow suggesting that young black men are incapable of following laws and rules they followed before their communities were torn apart by liberal policies?

          Maybe you desire more patronizing behavior?

          I’d suggest if we closed the border, reduced welfare payments, and had honest, hard work with decent wages driven by a true free market (without 30-40 million illegal immigrants suppressing  wages and opportunity), a lot of these men would chose the better options. Cut taxes, lower energy prices, and maybe more manufacturing businesses would return to the USA. Put Americans before illegal workers… a novel concept in Davis. And cut some of the bloated social programs which encourage irresponsible behavior.

        2. Frankly

          and you continue to ignore the impact that putting half the male african american population in felony status has on the community.

          And you continue to ignore the impact of half the male african american population dropping out of their crappy schools and turning to a life of crime because the Obama job-less recovery with more free stuff has them even less likely to work…has on the community… and the job of police having to deal with the resulting mess.

    2. Davis Progressive

      seems to me that if there is a large number of white suspects who have died in police custody, that adds to the problem rather subtracting from it.

  13. TrueBlueDevil

    It is possible to hold views that appear to be opposing.

    In this case, a suspect was taken into custody, and the police may have used poor judgement in how they transported him. I haven’t read the report, so I don’t know the details. (It appears in the newly released report that there was a 4th stop that the police didn’t report … did they lose count?)

    On the whole, even with this possible misjudgement (or even worse), the liberal social, educational, and political policies appear to be disastrous, including how the mayor and president have handled this sad situation.

  14. tribeUSA

    Re: partisanship in this blog on the greater Baltimore issue

    –as a self-considered moderate, I find both sides on this debate who have expressed strong views to be comparably partisan/ideological–with the difference being that the few on the right seem to recognize their own partisanship, whereas those few on the left appear not to recognize their own partisan/ideological framework of thought.

    I say hurrah for empiricism and general principals (as distinguished from ideology)–I think Tia exemplifies this approach, and I’m pretty well rooted in this as well (though I have some quibbles with Tia on some of her general principals, I respect her viewpoint).

    Meanwhile, I’m fine with letting it all hang out–good to see people expressing their thoughts and getting a clashing of thoughts without censorship and psychic trauma lawsuits!

  15. Frankly

    Every Vanguardian should watch this interview to gain perspective for the mindset of a senior professional law enforcement official (who is black) concerning the media storm over the events in Baltimore.   Listen to the points made beginning around 4:24.

    I expect the biased anti-cop people to start attacking this guy.  But for the rest, there is opportunity to learn something.

    http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/04/30/i-report-people-sheriff-says-he-would-have-defied-mayors-orders

     

    1. hpierce

      Interesting that O’Reilly kept cutting him off when he wasn’t making the points that O’Reilly wanted made.  Thanks for sharing the video.  In a court of law, I suspect what O’Reilly was asking constituted “leading questions”.

      1. Frankly

        O’Reilly tends to do that.  When confronted about it he explains that he is trying to get as much information to the “folks” in the limited time he has.  All newstalk cable program talking heads to the same to some extent.  But this Sherif has been consistent in all the interviews he has given.

        1. hpierce

          Guess that’s why I tend to avoid “newstalk” in any of the media formats.  Wish I could see a “full” interview with the Sheriff.  I also wonder if the sheriff (usually a ‘county’ office) has much experience in the inner-city urban venue.  I am not trying to ‘discount’ his views, just curious about his “credentials”.

          The other ‘take-away’ I had was his seeming willingness to act contrary to the directions of the Mayor, supposedly acting on behalf of the City Council elected by the people he purports to serve.  If his is also an elected position, I get it.  Otherwise, not so much…

          Wording it another way, am not too interested, but would listen to, our County sheriff saying what Davis CC and PD should do in a given situation.

           

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      I was in San Francisco on Wednesday, I listened to the perspective of two senior professional law enforcement officials both of whom were black concerning things in San Francisco.

      1. Frankly

        I’m sure your point is that there are different perspectives.   The problem is that we hear and read a lot from people supporting your perspective.  However, there are a lot of people… possibly a majority… that don’t share that perspective.  But they either keep their mouth shut for fear of attack from the rabid activists and media, or the are never asked to be interviewed.   It is clear that this Sheriff is outspoken and principled.

        1. Davis Progressive

          from my experience there are two types of minority police officers.  one kind, try to go along to get along.  they tend to swallow the party line and probably hold some of the same biases as white officers.  the other type are reform minded, they tend to get quickly ostracized from the department.  my understand is that some of the officers targeted in the text messaging incident were of that ilk.

        2. Frankly

          Interesting how you weave a victim mentality tapestry so in the end only white males are culpable for misbehaving.   Are you a white male?  Maybe you are having some issues with self-loathing.

          Personally, I don’t see this at all.  Most police departments, like the military, are so diverse and integrated that interpersonal conflict is simply that and not some politicized groupism bias that needs to be stamped out by top-down government social engineering.

        3. Frankly

          That is actually a very good point.  How about we just stop it all together?  No groups of victims, only individuals.  Because two wrongs certainly cannot equal a right.

        4. hpierce

          Seems I saw/heard that a majority of PD in Baltimore are black (maybe that included all minorities).  Of the six PD officers looking to be charged, how many are black/white/other minorities?  The answer may reveal how much racial, how much ‘police’.

          I realize that info might not be available.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I watched the entire clip that you posted. What is endlessly fascinating to me is how two people can listen to exactly the same interview and focus on entirely different aspects of it, and interpret it in apparently entirely different ways.

      The most telling part of the interview to me was not the part you cited, but rather his very clear comments about holding his own officers to the highest standards of behavior up to an including walking them into the DAs office himself when their actions were outside the law. No cover up, no defense, no statements about how hard their job is or other justification. No, if they break the law, they are responsible. No excuses. Sounds like a policeman I can thoroughly respect.

      Another major point of respect for Sheriff Clarke was his repeated statement that he represented his constituents, the citizens of his district. With these statements he is clearly embodying the exemplary behavior that we should be able to expect consistently from our police officers. He represents first, not the police, not the police union, not the public officials,  but the citizens they are sworn to protect.

      But the most interesting part of all for me was when he said that he would have defied the civilian order to stand down. Here we get into very murky ground for me. Does a police officer have the right to defy an order to stand down issued by a civilian authority  if he truly believes the order to be in error ? What separates this action from establishment of a police state ? Whose authority can be defied and whose must be respected ?  If a police officer can defy a civilian order that they see as in error, then why cannot a civilian defy a police order that they see as in error ?  Does the fact that he carries a gun and commands officers so armed put him above the law or the normal order of authority ?

      I do not pretend to know the answers ?  I merely see the questions as critical to our time.

      1. Don Shor

        That’s true: a sheriff is answerable to the public. A police chief is answerable to a mayor or city council. So the sheriff’s comments are interesting, but not really relevant. If a police chief chose to ignore an order from a mayor, that police chief can and should be fired because it is the mayor that is answerable to the voters.
        Sheriffs hold a unique place in our legal system. As we’ve seen in Yolo County, that can place them in a position of being essentially unanswerable to other elected officials. I’m not sure we want that in urban policing situations.

        1. hpierce

          Clarification Don.  In Davis, at least, not the Mayor, nor the unanimous CC, can fire the Police Chief.  Only the City Manager can.  Strongly suspect that Baltimore operates under a “strong Mayor” system, where they can fire the PC.

        2. Frankly

          How often are county police involved in these media circus events over suspect mistreatment?  Maybe the police chief being an elected official is a better model?

          One main point is his assertion that law enforcement is welcomed and respected by the majority and it is only a minority of “loud mouths” that complain.  That sounds about right to me.

          Note the media did not report on the thousands of people in Baltimore that marched to end the riots and in support of the police.

          Again… evidence of a ginned up conflict.

          1. Don Shor

            Note the media did not report on the thousands of people in Baltimore that marched to end the riots and in support of the police.

            Again… evidence of a ginned up conflict.

            I read about thousands of people protesting peacefully, about citizens cleaning up after the property damage. The News Hour has run thoughtful and well-produced segments about the incidents and issues in Baltimore. And I’ve seen a few snippets about peaceful protesters confronting media about how they’re covering this story. So I don’t know what you mean by “the media,” all I know is that the media that I read and watch has been pretty balanced. I don’t see a ginned up conflict. I see an issue of police behavior and a lot of very upset citizens protesting peacefully, with a few violent incidents on the fringes of that.

          1. Don Shor

            TBD, are you aware that the governor of Maryland is also in regular direct contact with Valerie Jarrett? Of course, he’s a Republican, so I guess that doesn’t fit whatever narrative it is you’re trying to concoct.

  16. Tia Will

    TBD

    A 3 or 4 year old child can’t be reasoned with like an adult, it’s pretty simple.”

    I agree that it is simple that an adult cannot “reason with” a 3 year old like an adult. My point is also pretty simple. Physical punishment is not the only way to effectively protect the child and has adverse consequences.

    My son was very adventurous and we had a near”hand on a burner” episode. My response was not to spank, it was sweeping him away from the object in question with a sharp verbal  “No, that will hurt ! Let’s play…..” Equally effective. He was never hurt in this way. Objective achieved without ever “spanking” ( nice euphemism for hitting) and never in effect teaching that it is ok to hit someone else. Just as one cannot reason with the child about the harm of a hot stove, one also cannot reason with the three year old about the reason that his mother just hit him. Children learn primarily by example. If it is ok for mom to hit when provoked sufficiently, it must be ok for me to hit. Or worse yet, it teaches that this is the only way to approach discipline, when it clearly is not.

    I am not talking about physical harm. Of course a swat on the bottom does not produce permanent physical harm. It is the modeling of the use of physical force that I object to.

    Also, there is nothing in the rejection of physical force that encourages lack of discipline. Neither of my children have had any disciplinary problems either at home, in school, on a job or with the police. They both have both a healthy respect for authority and the ability to question whether or not the authority in question is acting in a just manner. I believe that a balance between respect for and a willingness to question authority is not only desirable but in fact is necessary for full participation in a democratic society. Blind acceptance of authority is no better than unfounded rejection thereof in my opinion. Both can lead to tragic consequences.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      So then why do you think we have seen such a relative explosion in crime the past 50-60 years, which seems to parallel many of these newfangled parenting theories?

      We have tens of thousands of gangs. We have tens of millions of people living with bars on their windows, prisoners in their own homes. We have rampant drug use (wealthy society), many “no go” areas, 3/4 ths of Washington DC is considered off limits to visitors.

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        So then why do you think we have seen such a relative explosion in crime the past 50-60 years, which seems to parallel many of these newfangled parenting theories?”

        What I think is the coincidence does not equal causality. I believe that there have probably always been families that did not use corporal punishment as discipline. I do not believe that teaching respect for authority, or discipline, or just plain good behavior is ever done by modeling the opposite. I do not see this as new fangled. I believe that children are most strongly influenced in their early years by their parents. I believe that if the parents consistently model calm, non violent, respectful behaviors and appropriate positive ways of dealing with negative emotions, this is what the children will see as the norm and this is how they will behave as they grow up. Children who are exposed to striking or hitting or other corporal punishments will grow up to see this as their norm. I do not care to make facile judgements, but it seems to me that having been exposed to corporal punishment is as likely to lead to future acts of aggression as it is to avoiding them.

         

      2. wdf1

        TBD:  So then why do you think we have seen such a relative explosion in crime the past 50-60 years, which seems to parallel many of these newfangled parenting theories?

        Please offer a citation to show the increase in crime over the past 50-60 years that you suggest.  Everywhere I look, I see crime rates declining since the 1990’s.

        And if it’s indeed the case that crime has decreased over the past 20 years, would you offer any explanation about what “newfangled parenting theories” have led to that decrease?

        1. hpierce

          Think you meant to say “crime rate”, wdf… I’ll bet total crimes have gone up, even as crime rates in many categories are same or often, actually decreased.

        2. wdf1

          hpierce:  crime rate.  Yes.  When I look at major categories of crimes, crime rates have declined since the 1990’s, many to levels below those of the 1960’s and 70’s.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          We had a huge spike in the late 70s / 80s, and then the Rudy G / broken window / tough on crime / Bill Clinton legislation and approaches. New York had the murder rate increase to over 1,000 per year, it is now, after a tough slog, decreased to around 400 per.

          The devil is in the details. The city of Davis recently has had 4 pretty violent robberies (semi automatic weapon, gun, knife), and I never recall that happening 30 years ago. I wonder why David has shied away from an expose on that troubling occurrence. Os is that now the new norm in Davis?

          I know people who used to leave their doors unlocked in Woodland, Davis, Concord, they would never think of doing that today.

        4. hpierce

          TBD… “honest” crime rates are usually based on crimes/population, not crimes per year.  If the population increases 100 percent over a ‘study period’, and crimes committed increase by 10%, that actually shows a decrease in crime rate, not a 10% increase.  If the population decreases by 50% but # of crimes committed decrease by 25%, that is an increase of the crime rate, which would be disturbing.

        5. Davis Progressive

          the crime rate actually peaked in 1980.  it dropped from there until the late 80s where there was a small uptick.  but most of the crime reforms that were put in place were in 1994-1996, the crime rate had already fallen by over ten percent, in fact by 1996, nearly 20 percent before the laws were passed, let along implemented. the crime fell starting in 1991 pretty much each year until the present.  most crimonologists trace the fall to demographic patterns – as the population began to age, the population producing the largest percentage of crimes declined in size.

  17. David Greenwald Post author

    Interesting developments – six officers charged, second degree murder for one, and the knife he had was lawful and they had no probable cause for arrest…

    Prosecutors here, in an unexpected announcement, said Friday they had probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges against police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

    In a news conference, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. Time and again, she said, officers abused him, arresting him without grounds and violating police procedure by putting him in handcuffs and leg restraints in the van without putting a seatbelt on him.

    Ms. Mosby also said the officers had repeatedly failed to seek medical attention for Mr. Gray after he was injured. By the time he was removed from the van, she said, “Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all.”

    “We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Ms. Mosby said.

    The death, Ms. Mosby said, is believed to be the result of an injury Mr. Gray sustained while riding in the van without a seatbelt.

    Ms. Mosby also said that the knife the police say Mr. Gray was carrying had not been a legitimate basis for his arrest. “The knife was not a switchblade, and it is lawful,” she said. She said the officers had “failed to establish probable cause for an arrest.”

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/02/us/freddie-gray-autopsy-report-given-to-baltimore-prosecutors.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    1. Frankly

      Heard the press conference on the radio this morning.  Disgusting.  Apparently some or all of these cops involved are dirty.  They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        If the facts prove that, I agree. I haven’t read the report: if there is an allegation of direct physical harm, and cover up, nail them to the wall. If they were negligent in transport, that becomes a bit murky. They are innocent until proven guilty.

        This doesn’t change the macro view that President Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and many liberal journalists have fanned the racial flames. Ted Cruz just made that allegation the past day. They have repeatedly exploited these deaths of black men before facts were available, while ignoring the deaths of white and Latino men.

        Has anyone read the autopsy? Were drugs involved?

        Some on the far right see these consistent actions by Obama and Holder as laying the groundwork for the federal government taking over local law enforcement.

        1. Davis Progressive

          second degree murder has a necessary element of intentional killing.  it will be interesting to see the basis for that charge.

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Let’s say there were 1 or 2 ‘bad apples’ who lost their cool, opened the van, and smacked him in the head with a blunt object. The other 3-4-5 cops close rank, and ‘protect their own’.

          Isn’t that some kind of conspiracy or Rico action?

        3. Barack Palin

          Goodson faces second-degree depraved heart murder, which indicates a “callous disregard for the value of human life.”

          Whatever the heck that is.  It’s starting to look like this is going to come down to Gray getting his head banged on a bolt during the ride because he wasn’t in a seatbelt and the officers not seeking medical attention quick enough.  To me it looks like trumped up charges in order to try and appease the rioters.

           

        4. hpierce

          Yeah, I suspect by the time the prosecutors are done, there will probably be some “conspiracy to commit”, or “accomplices before/after the fact” added… but would that be ‘over-charging’?

        5. Davis Progressive

          on the conspiracy – i think most likely you are looking at conspiracy here as an obstruction of justice for keeping quiet or possibly misleading investigators.  a big problem with these police departments is you have a few “bad apples” and a bunch of police officers who refuse to say anything about it.

        6. hpierce

          CD (most recent post)… you got me to thinking… if some of the officers saw stuff, and didn’t voluntarily report it, that’s one thing… if they withheld info when asked, or mislead/lied, that’s quite another.

          Teachers and medical/MH professionals are ‘mandatory reporters’ (correct term?) in cases of suspecting child abuse, imminent harm to others, etc., even if they are observing behavior from peers, subordinates, or supervisors.  Perhaps we should extend the same (or similar) model to Police.

        7. Barack Palin

          The driver of the police van is the one who is charged with second degree murder so it’s possible that he maybe made the statement that he was going to drive in such a way to toss Gray around in the back.  The other prisoner in the van that said that Gray sounded like he was trying to hurt himself never said that the van was being driven in such a way.  So who knows, the facts will play out.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            As I posted before the belief is he gave him, a rough ride.

        8. Barack Palin

          If it ends up being that Gray died from hitting his head while being driven in the van how would it be murder unless the driver had made the statement that he was going to rough him up?  It’s a huge leap to make.  It’s possible that other officers have testified that the driver did indeed make such a statement, but without that I think Ms. Mosby has bitten off more than she can chew.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Like I said there is a belief that they intentionally gave him a rough ride, if they did it’s murder. But the prosecutor has to prove it and probably their jobs is on the line

  18. Tia Will

    TBD

    Has anyone read the autopsy? Were drugs involved?”

    Does it matter if drugs were involved ? What is this except a clumsy attempt at further deflecting from the responsibility of the police to ensure the physical well being of a suspect now in their charge ?

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      See DP’s post above. Apparently (I haven’t read it), the report says that he suffered the head injuries while in the van. I have heard no reports that the police entered the van and ‘roughed him up’ or ‘hit him with a billy club’. Reports have said that he wasn’t secured in the van.

      Does this prove intentional murder? If objective viewpoints think this is manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, can an officer(s) be found guilty of the lower charge, if what is charged is 2nd degree murder?

      I’m not a lawyer, but if a suspect was high on PCP or other strong narcotic, that might explain why he was potentially throwing himself against the walls of the van. I don’t know. That could be a smear campaign against the suspect, I haven’t seen the facts or report, we’ll learn this at trial.

      Does this now mean that every time a suspect is taken downtown, they’ll have to be hog tied to the seat?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Exactly. So we have to design systems and procedures for 100% of the cases because of 1% or 1/10th of 1%. This assumes it was merely accidental, improper assessment of his well being,  and delayed care.

        Interesting, given his long rap sheet, the other dozens of times he was picked up, their procedures worked just fine.

        If they took a billy club to him or such, it’s completely different situation.

         

        1. hpierce

          I was hypothesizing, based on Tia’s comment, which was also somewhat theoretical.  As far as I know, any toxicology results on the deceased are not done/available.

          I have seen the results of an attack by someone on PCP.  3 year old dead, fetus murdered, mother devastated. That was ~ 40 years ago, and still remember the details of the scene.  That’s why I’ll never read/see ‘Helter-Skelter”.

  19. Tia Will

    TBD

    Does this now mean that every time a suspect is taken downtown, they’ll have to be hog tied to the seat?”

    Interesting how choice of words expresses and influences view point.  I would have phrased this differently as, ” Does this now mean that every time a suspect is taken downtown, they’ll have to be safely restrained.” Put this way, my answer would be a resounding “yes” !

     

     

  20. Tia Will

    BP

    It’s starting to look like this is going to come down to Gray getting his head banged on a bolt during the ride because he wasn’t in a seatbelt and the officers not seeking medical attention quick enough.  To me it looks like trumped up charges in order to try and appease the rioters.”

    Am I interpreting you correctly that you do not perceive it as serious to not properly safely restrain a prisoner and to delay medical care for a seriously injured prisoner ?

    How would you feel about a parent that did not choose to use an infant car seat and then delayed taking their baby to the hospital when they recognized that it could not move due to injury during a drive ?

     

  21. Barack Palin

    Am I interpreting you correctly that you do not perceive it as serious to not properly safely restrain a prisoner and to delay medical care for a seriously injured prisoner ?

    It’s serious but I’ll bet that most people being taken to jail in the paddy wagon aren’t in a seatbelt.  My point is it’s looking more and more like Gray’s death was accidental and hardly the result of cops beating him.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      What I’m hearing is that they think he got a “rough ride.” That means he wasn’t seated belted in and they intentionally jolted him. That would make more sense for the second degree murder charge.

      Also, It’s a pretty serious problem that people in custody do not get proper safety precautions and immediate medical care. I know this is a frequent complaint when inmate deaths occur as well. For something accident you would never see a second degree murder charge against a police officer, si I’m skeptical that it was accidental. I understand the argument that they might be charging heavily to diffuse the situation, but if you overcharge and the guy gets acquitted, so ended up with just as many problems. Oscar Grant comes to mind.

      1. Tia Will

        David

        I know this is a frequent complaint when inmate deaths occur as well.”

        I have it on good authority that this is correct. A close friend who has intimate knowledge of the prison system  from direct experience is very slow to pass judgment on that system. However, when I read him a recent account of a traumatic cell extraction, with multiple taser use on an already completely restrained  ( hand and foot shackles ) small female ( 130 lbs) being transferred from one prison facility to another ( so unable with no ability to harm an officer or escape), who admittedly because of mental illness did not immediately comply with the directions she was given to sit down instead of maintaining the prone position that they had her in, commented tersely…..”they killed her”.

         

  22. Tia Will

    BP

    I find your use of the word “accidental” very telling. If one is aware, as I am sure that the police must be, that a handcuffed prisoner is unable to protect himself from injury, then it is hardly “accidental” to leave him unprotected. Do you also consider it “accidental” to ignore pleas for medical help ?  Do you consider it “accidental” to not investigate further when a previously talking prisoner becomes unresponsive in a face down position ?

    These are the actions that the police admit to !  Is not being beaten synonymous with “accidental” for you ?

  23. Frankly

    If you watch the video taken of the cops putting him in the wagon, it was clear he was high on something.  The cops had trouble getting him in.  I assume that the cops, seeing his condition, would have seat-belted him.  But what would prevent him from releasing the belt?

    Most of us work in jobs that have a finite number of criteria we have to assess to make decisions.  We have defined procedures and policies and we use those to help guide us to make the right decisions.  Every now and then we get a new challenge that pose new criteria and our policy and procedure do not cover it.

    For the job of law enforcement, there are infinite criteria.  No two situations are going to be exactly the same.  There are reams of policy and procedures… too many for the average human to store in his/her noggin and pull out in that instant that a decision is required.  When you consider the tremendous variability of conflicting criteria and the volumes of policy and procedure… many that would also end up conflicting with each other… it is pretty easy to understand that mistakes will happen.  What is the protocol for apprehending and transporting a suspect that is high on PCP?  Maybe the police followed the protocol but that protocol ended up being flawed and resulted in the injury and death of the suspect being transported.

    Or maybe the cops ignored protocol on purpose.  Or maybe they were just lazy and failed to follow protocol.

    The bottom line here is that the armchair quarterbacks so quick to criticize law enforcement don’t seem to want to acknowledge the impossibility to make rules to cover every single situation and for an average capable human to be able to memorize all the rules and perform perfectly with them every time.

    If these cops are guilty of mistreating the suspect in any way that contributed to his death they should be punished to the full extent of the law.  However, there needs to be balanced consideration for the possibility that mistakes were made in a difficult assessment of risk for a suspect high on PCP.  And if we are going to persecute mistakes in a role fraught with a high level of decision criteria… then let’s increase the size of the jails and prisons for all of Tia’s professional peers in Medicine.

    1. Tia Will

      Interesting that you should mention professional mistakes Frankly. If this is the case, that these are just mistakes, they are certainly not single mistakes, but a whole series of “mistakes” which in my profession is usually judged to be negligence. And while that is usually not punished by imprisonment ( which I have said nothing at all about in this case), it is frequently cause for loss of license.

      So let’s suppose that I make the following series of “mistakes”. First, I do not take special care of a patient that I suspect is acting aberrantly because of drug use. Then I knowingly compound this by placing the patient in an obviously unsafe setting ( by history of this setting having been the source of multiple settled lawsuits against negligent doctors previously). And then I double down on my error by ignoring my patients repeated requests for medical assistance including reporting progressive symptoms of inability to move and inability to breath ( both admitted to by the police as reported). Further compounding my “mistakes” I then deliberately chose not to investigate further when my patient becomes unresponsive and it is only when she is not breathing that I decide that I had better get some help. These are the actions taken by the police in this case as so far reported. PCP or no PCP, would you defend me for this series of “mistakes” as a doctor ? Or would you not be calling out negligence and malpractice. I sincerely hope you would chose the latter as this series of actions would clearly mean to me that I was not fit to practice medicine. I see it as the same for these police officers. Whether it was ignorance, poor training, ineptitude, negligence or malice makes no difference to me.

      Their failure to protect this man in their custody which is a key part of their position makes it clear to me that they failed in their primary charge abysmally and are not suited to police work. Whatever else they may be charged or convicted of is rightfully in the hands of the justice system, but it is my opinion that they have forfeited their right to serve the population that they are sworn to protect.

       

      1. hpierce

        “… but a whole series of “mistakes” which in my profession is usually judged to be negligence.”  True, for an individual.  Not so much for an organization, and definitely not for an entire profession.  If it were, your first mistake, if made previously by 50 other doctors nation-wide, would lead you to be found negligent.

      2. Frankly

        I think you conflate intensity of media attention with actual statistics.

        The media is not reporting all all of these types of stories: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-found-dead-in-st-barnabas-hospital-waiting-room-8-hours/

        But the media has latched on to police occurrences.

        How many police occurrences are there?  Are there more today than when the media wasn’t heated up reporting them about the time Obama took office?

        And what is the rate of harm per encounter for the practice of medicine versus the rate of harm per encounter for law enforcement?  And what are the trends for both?

        Until you can answer those questions there is great risk that you are either just being manipulated by the media, or you are complicit in a strategy to gin up outrage for political and/or ideological advancement purpose.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          How do you disparage the media for not covering the story by posting the link to a story on CBS?

          Besides, your missing the point I made earlier this week, the media was hardly cover this story before the riots broke out.

          As someone who writes a lot of stories, there are countless times when I have seen a story or an issue multiple times and thought no, only to have an angle come up that made it interesting. I guarantee you if families of dead patients started protesting and rioting, it would get focus in the news.

        2. Frankly

          In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous “To Err Is Human” report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted ubiquitously in the media.

          The actual media reporting on this falls way short of the actual stats.

          This year, a USA TODAY analysis of the FBI’s justifiable homicide database during a seven-year period ending in 2012 found an average of 96 incidents each year in which a white officer killed a black person.

          The actual media reporting on this far exceeds the actual stats.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      If these cops are guilty of mistreating the suspect in any way that contributed to his death they should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

      Interestingly enough, I do not necessarily agree with this statement. I do not see the value of “punishment” beyond the assurance of the safety of the public in ensuring that they will never again be in a position of power over anyone else. I see no good in putting these individuals in prison. What would seem most appropriate to me would be immediate loss of job, inability to ever obtain a job in law enforcement, jails, prisons, inability to ever possess a weapon ( due to the demonstrated poor judgement in a position of power over another), coupled with retraining for another type of work and mandatory community service perhaps including rehabilitation work with criminals attempting to re integrate into society or work with at risk youth as examples of the consequences of unjustified use of force.

      Such an approach would have the possibility for some redemption for the individual as well as modeling a more forgiving approach to correction of bad behavior. I suspect that this approach would not be well accepted by the protestors on the streets nor by the” law and order” crowd who seek an “eye for an eye”. However, I firmly believe that it would be a more constructive approach for both the individuals involved, their families, and our society as a whole.

       

    3. DavisBurns

      having his hands hand cuffed behind his back would have prevented him from releasing his seat belt.  Try it yourself. Also what I saw was someone already injured and unable to stand when he was being put in the van.

        1. Barack Palin

          The reports I’ve have knowledge of say the only injury to Gray was the neck injury.  As far as Gray being unable to stand could be the result of him being tazed and/or high on something.

    4. tribeUSA

      Frankly–As i understand it, the seatbelt law went into effect just 3 days before Grays arrest. So this was a very new requirement; somehow they managed without this requirement for many prior years (so the risk incurred by not belting up was, though not zero, presumably very low).

      The new seat-belt procedure adds to what I am sure is the thousands of pages or procedures and protocols for the police for all tiny details of every conceivable situation.

      Not to say he shouldn’t have been safely restrained; but an oversight on such a detail doesn’t warrant a murder charge (perhaps some kind of negligent manslaughter, though).

  24. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Good luck holding someone to the standard of ensuring the physical well-being of someone high on PCP.”

    So do you have evidence that this is the case from the autopsy ?  Or are you just throwing this out there to distract from the issue of police responsibility for the well being of those in their custody ? I admit I have not kept current this morning, so you may know something that I do not.

    And let’s say that PCP did pertain to this situation. All the more reason to be extra cautious as the judgement of the detainee would predictably be impaired and therefore they should be considered more, not less in need of restraint and protection.

    1. hpierce

      Guess you missed my later, clarifying post.  My response to your apparently ‘universal statement’ was a “what if”.  As I clarified separately, as far as I know, no toxicology results are available.  There is no apparent excuse for not having a car restraint on the suspect, but I still question the use of “ensure” (an absolute), vs., “taking all reasonable measures”.  It appears, from reports to date, subject to modification, the latter didn’t occur.  Are your medical acts supposed to “ensure” there will be no untoward outcomes?  Have you been 100% successful?  Have all your colleagues?

  25. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Yes, I am having trouble keeping up with the comments while attempting to multitask this morning. Thanks for clarifying for me.

    1. hpierce

      Well,I just hope your other ‘multi-tasks’ don’t involve patient care.  I’d hate to feel responsible for provoking you to respond while taking care of patients.

  26. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Well,I just hope your other ‘multi-tasks’ don’t involve patient care.  I’d hate to feel responsible for provoking you to respond while taking care of patients.”

    Absolutely not. Rest assured I maintain an strict boundary between work and the Vanguard. I am on  my day off. I don’t really care if you provoke me away from the laundry !

  27. TrueBlueDevil

    There is the potential that the AG overcharged this when she implicates six officers. If the officers who safely put him in the van had no further contact with him, why would they be charged? Grandstanding? Political ambitions?

    That Twana Brawley’s lawyer – Al Sharpton – is a frequent guest in the White House, and is sticking his nose into this, is so, so wrong.

    This is highly political, and we can thank Obama, Jarrett, and Holder for that.

    Recently we had a dental hygenist and mother try to crash into the White House. She was unarmed, and black. She fled away from the White House, was chashed, and there were incorrect reports that she had fired a gun. She crashed a second time into a barricade. She was surrounded by at least six officers with their guns drawn, and she had her daughter in the car. She was killed, some say executed. Why? She had obviously had some kind of a breakdown.

    But the media focuses on a possible low-level drug dealer because they want to stoke the racial flames? But they ignore the tragic death of this hard-working Mother?

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/breaking/US-Capitol-Locked-Down-After-Reports-of-Shots-Fired-226338921.html

     

    1. Don Shor

      TBD, I don’t get you. I really don’t. The story of the woman who tried to crash into the White House was widely covered at the time, it was a tragic story that got a lot of media attention. IN 2013. Two years ago. The media did “focus on” it then. Nobody “ignored the tragic death” of the woman. It has literally nothing whatsoever to do with the Baltimore situation. Yet you bring it up in furtherance of some theory, some narrative, that permeates your posts on the Vanguard. Your constant references to “Holder, Obama, and Jarrett” and Al Sharpton really speak to a mindset that I find troubling. I don’t know what you’re trying to say here, and I really wish you would stick to the specific topics in Vanguard articles and stop trying to turn everything into a jeremiad against the Obama administration.

      1. DavisBurns

        Don, Thank you for calling posters out for being racist, disgusting and off topic.  This blog has been hijacked by trolls.  Who wants to argue with crazy people? I appreciate different points of view but see no point putting an ideological spin on every subject.  Trolls; ya gotta ignore them or get rid of them but don’t encourage them by arguing.

        1. Barack Palin

          Don, Thank you for calling posters out for being racist, disgusting and off topic.

          I think I’ve read every post on here today so would you please point out any racist posts?  Calling posters trolls or crazy people I think depends on where you’re coming from.  One that’s considered a troll by one poster could be considered a good commenter by another poster.  I think it all comes down to how one leans politically.  As far as being off topic, often posters sway off topic on here from BOTH sides of the aisle.

        2. tribeUSA

          DB–tut tut, be careful of stereotyping those whose opinions you disagree with. Also be aware that about half the USA population shares the views you disparage–from a pragmatic point of view, you’ve got to learn to live and communicate amongst the crazies; they are everywhere! By the way I don’t agree with their opinions all the time, but have no problem with them being expressed–I do agree they get off-topic, however.

    2. Tia Will

      TBD

      But the media focuses on”

      Like Don as posted below, I am quite baffled by repetitive references to “the media” which you then frequently back up with a single article by a single reporter as though this were the entirety of the discussion or coverage. I also have a great deal of difficulty making the connection that you see between  these single reports which you seem to see as some kind of reflection on the President or the AG or some other prominent personality. Perhaps I am just too obtuse, but your posts would make much more sense to me if they actually appeared to have some connection with topic of the article.

  28. TrueBlueDevil

    Apparently, the lawyer for the deceased has close ties to the AG, and donated money to her political campaign.

    The attorney, former police officer, and union head said in his 35 years, he has never seen a process move so fast, and thinks there has been a “violation of due process”.

  29. Tia Will

    TBD

    The attorney, former police officer, and union head said in his 35 years, he has never seen a process move so fast, and thinks there has been a “violation of due process”.”

    And I had never seen a Cesarean section completed in under 7 minutes from decision to cut to delivery of the baby, until I watched it happen when one of my colleagues performed this near miracle saving  the lives of both mother and child in one of the worst obstetric emergencies I ever witnessed. Sometimes, speed, transparency and direct forthright action are exactly what is called for even if it is not the usual protocol.

    1. Barack Palin

      Are you really conflating the saving of one’s life through doing a quick surgery to hastily speeding through a legal process where no lives are in danger instead of taking one’s time to gather all the evidence and make the best decision based on the facts in order to make the best decision whether to indict someone for crimes?

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        That sounds like an argument that the Vanguard makes (that you automatically discount). That’s how prosecutor’s work.

        1. Barack Palin

          Not so, I said we needed to wait on the Wilson case and the Zimmerman case in order to hear all the facts which it turned out that the people that rushed to judgement were wrong.  If anything, imo, I’d say that the Vanguard swayed in that direction too, of rushing to Wilson’s and Zimmerman’s judgement.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            My point is that prosecutors usually make quick determinations to charge (and long determinations not to charge). This wasn’t a complicated case – they either have the evidence that they gave him a rough ride, failed to follow protocol, and failed to get him medical attention in a timely matter or they won’t. I’m pretty sure they can assess their probability of winning.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            BTW, you clearly don’t remember that My View at the time was that the decision by the jury was correct – there was reasonable as to whether Zimmerman committed murder (I still believe he acted wrongly) : http://www.davisvanguard.org/2013/07/sunday-commentary-no-justice-for-trayvon/

            My problem with Wilson was process-based, I think the DA didn’t want to indict and directed the evidence away from that direction.

            I am convinced in both cases that the death was unnecessary and the incidents were poorly handled by Zimmerman and Officer Wilson.

        2. Barack Palin

          Yes, agreed, by the time the jury had made their decision you had come around.  Why don’t we now wait until all the facts are out here too.  What’s the rush by Ms. Mosby.  Is she trying to quell the rioters?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Well I think she thought she had the evidence – if she’s wrong she’s going to look bad. Meantime the officer is entitled to a fair trial. And then we can decide if he’s guilty or innocent

        3. Barack Palin

          Have you seen the clips of the Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake dodging the press and not taking any questions?  Yesterday she looked like a scared puppy dog cowering behind Sharpton as the press was trying to ask her questions.  How can a mayor hide and not address the press or the public at a time like this?

           

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          David, I am still utterly confounded by what else you think Officer Wilson could do when a 300-pound raging young man decides to grab his gun, pummel him in his car, and attempt to shoot him. You must have some Utopian fantasies here.

          Per Baltimore, I’ve heard another public person speculate that the driver may have “taken him on a ride” to soften him up by the time he reached downtown because he was difficult when first being put in the van. This is plausible, as well as he could have been under the influence of strong narcotics. These items will be flushed out in a trial.

          The disturbingly sad occurrence is how we now have this perpetual state of agitation ready to rev up in any urban city when the liberal media pounces on a suspected wrong. It doesn’t happen when a European immigrant is killed by black youth, and it doesn’t happen when illegal immigrants execute sheriffs in cold blood.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            First of all, I don’t feel like we know enough about what happened between the time Officer Wilson first confronted Michael Brown and when the situation escalated into the physical altercation.

            But the second point is the most important one – by the time Officer Wilson fired the kill shot, Michael Brown was away from his vehicle by 150 feet. He was injured. He was not armed. At that point, Officer Wilson could have called for back up. He could have let him go and sent authorities to arrest him later. He did not have to shoot and kill him. Assuming the forensic evidence was accurate (which I’m not prepared to do) and assuming that his testimony was correct, the kill-shot is still in question for me.

      2. hpierce

        Passing on a recommendation to consider prosecution is not ‘conviction’.  Yes, time is of the essence to see if there is “probable cause” to look at criminal charges, if the evidence is there, and yes, once charged, the officers involved who have been charged can definitely kiss promotions goodbye, and if convicted, their law enforcement career is over.  Maybe without a conviction, depending on evidence presented.  The time is not “ripe” to pass judgement.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Just to clarify, the decision to prosecute is based on a probable cause – or is there a reason to believe that the officer committed in crime in their conduct in this situation. They then have to prove that he committed the crime beyond a reasonable double. Realistically, the prosecutor is not going to bring charges in a matter unless she believes that there is enough evidence to convict. Right now we do not know what evidence they have, so we are speculating. Do prosecutors make mistakes and overzealously prosecute? All the time. That’s why we have due process of law.

      3. Tia Will

        BP

        “Are you really conflating the saving of one’s life through…”

        Absolutely not. My comment was limited to the previous comment about “never having seen” something happen previously. Just because one has never seen something before, does not mean that it is, or is not the right thing to do. Just that it has not been previously witnessed. One can then start spinning that observation any way they want to based on ideology, politics, or personal animus.

        In my work, we are trained to gather all the information that we need to make a sound medical decision and then act upon it. There are times that may be minutes, there are times when it may take weeks. But once the information is all gathered there is no point in further delay, and there may be a cost to that delay. I don’t believe that any of us are privy to whether or not the AG has every thing needed or not, only that she clearly felt that she had enough. I don’t see the value of the speculative spinning based on what someone else has or has not seen in their career.

         

  30. Tia Will

    From what I have read about her campaign, the AG had made a promise to be tough on crime regardless of whether the perpetrator was a civilian criminal or a criminal with a badge in her promise to stand firm against police use of excessive force. I applaud her for honoring her campaign stands at a time which must be very difficult for her having been in office only around four months. What TBD is not mentioning is that she comes from a family of police officers and would seem to have both direct and indirect experience with law enforcement. To try to brand her as having some kind of alternative, shadowy agenda without having heard the full accounting that she has in her hands is just wrong from my point of view.

  31. Tia Will

    BP

    As far as Gray being unable to stand could be the result of him being tazed and/or high on something.”

    It would be a very strange drug that would allow him to run until the police caught up with him and then mysteriously managed to keep him from standing. I think that you are trying way to hard to somehow make this his fault.

    1. Barack Palin

      Tia will, if you watch the arrest video someone in it said Gray had been tazed.  Gray was also busted many times for drug possession and selling drugs.  So for me to say he had been tazed is most likely factual with a good chance he was also on drugs.  I think when you say I’m trying hard to spin this maybe you should look in the mirror as the spin can go both ways.

      1. hpierce

        I’m thinking there are no “innocents”… now we’re looking at degrees of culpability, similar to the other “notorious” examples cited.  The two NY cops executed by the deranged dude who then offed himself was an exception.  See no blame in the two officers.  They were true martyrs.

      2. Tia Will

        BP

        Please look more carefully at the portion of your post that I was criticizing.

        or high on something.”

        I made no comment on the use of a taser. What I criticized was your implication that there is a drug that would allow someone to be running one moment, and unable to stand a few minutes later.

        If you know of a drug that has this property, please cite your reference and I will concede this point. Otherwise my criticism of this portion of your comment stands.

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