Ofc. Krupke at 5:33 PM Permalink |
27 January 2005
Let's say you're a Senate Democrat. You're dealing with a nominee for Secretary of State that you don't like. You know she's pretty much guaranteed confirmation, but you want to do a little grandstanding first, a kind of mini-filibuster to put the administration on notice. Your mission is complicated slightly by the fact that the nominee is a black woman, the first to be National Security Advisor and first to be nominated for Secretary of State, and also that she has a formidable biography that includes being a childhood friend of Denise McNair, one of the girls killed by the infamous Birmingham Church Bombing in 1963. All this is normally the sort of thing the Democratic Party likes to make a big deal of. You are, truth be told, a little miffed that the Republicans managed to pull this off first. So, who do you get to lead the charge?
I know! How about a geriatric ex-Klansman? A Klan recruiter, to be precise? A man who wrote, three years after he later claimed he had disassociated himself with the Klan, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."? And of course, this little gem:
"Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
And, of course, someone who voted against both the Civil Rights Act and the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court? And to top it all off, make sure he's a vindictive cuss from a backwater state with a penchant for naming everything after himself.
Now, you can bring up Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, of course, and you wouldn't be wrong. But those guys were at least never actually in the Klan, they aren't in the Senate any more, and anyway they were used for decades as rhetorical evidence of the racism in the heart of the Republican Party. Nobody will ever call Byrd, or the Democrats, on this. Recall, for instance, how Zell Miller's ugly past statements suddenly became relevant again only when he started siding with the Republicans. And the Trent Lott birthday speech controversy speaks for itself.
I don't object to Rice being questioned; I don't even really care about the grandstanding for fundraising purposes - that's the political game, have at it. Being a conservative and a policeman, it irritates me when race gets injected into everything; it's annoying that I even have to talk about this. It's the flagrant double standard that really burns me. If the parties were reversed, the Rice confirmation hearings would be the subject of challenging Off-Broadway plays for years to come.
Ofc. Krupke at 11:31 AM Permalink |
25 January 2005
A jury in L.A. County has awarded combined damages of $2.4 million to Officer Bijan Darvish and former Officer Jeremy Morse of the Inglewood Police Department, finding that they were unfairly disciplined by the department.
Morse and Darvish came to notoriety in July 2002, when Morse was videotaped slamming Donovan Jackson, then 16, on the trunk of a cruiser and punching him in the face while he was handcuffed (you can see the video here). Jackson is black, and both officers white.
The video sparked outrage around the U.S. and the world (the BBC weirdly and consistently misidentified the Inglewood cops as "Los Angeles police officers"), with few people coming out more strongly than Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn:
"I will not under any circumstances tolerate the type of conduct I observed in the videotape," Mayor Roosevelt Dorn said at a news conference. Outside, dozens of protesters shouted, "No justice, no peace."
Dorn called for the investigation to finish within 10 days. He said he reached his conclusions after viewing the bystander's videotape, which has been shown repeatedly on national television.
"Based on the investigation he should be fired, no question about it, that's my opinion," the mayor said.
He also said, somewhat ominously, "I'm sure if I looked there are other crimes."
Whatever the mayor found when he looked, Morse was charged with assault under color of authority (also fired) and Dervish with filing a false police report on the incident (also suspended ten days). Dervish was acquitted, and the jury deadlocked on Morse. Morse was retried, and after the second jury deadlocked, the charges were dismissed.
In his defense, Morse alleged that Jackson, while his hands were cuffed behind him, reached back and grabbed a handful of Morse's family jewels and gave them a torque, inviting Morse to sock him. This is certainly not unimaginable; the notion that handcuffed prisoners immediately become docile as lambs is a myth as durable as it is tiresome. The video is inconclusive on this point; you can't see Jackson's hands. It should also be noted that the majority of the fight occurred before the video begins.
I am a pretty laid-back guy, when it comes to use of force (quite possibly too laid-back for my own good, but that's another post). I have yet to swing my nightstick in anger (not that this has stopped people from making complaints, mind you). But I can promise, if somebody palms my crotch and they're not, for example, Eva Mendes, I'll dribble their head on a parked car too.
Only two people know for sure whether the nut-grab occurred, and I suppose it comes down to which one you believe. It should be noted, however, that only one of them has given an account that is consistent with the other evidence in the incident. Jackson's story, and the one trumpeted by his advocates, is that he was sitting down doing absolutely nothing when the cops began to beat him up. This doesn't mesh with other witnesses or with the gas station surveillance tape; the prosecutors conceded in court that Jackson had violently resisted the police. Video doesn't lie. But suspects do.
Ironically, the jury award to Morse and Darvish was for racial discrimination, arguing that they had been more harshly disciplined than a black officer who had also been on the scene. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was outraged by the verdict, saying that it would discourage officials from punishing police officers:
Waters said the damage awards might have a chilling effect on other police departments that want to discipline officers and open the door "to every white officer to bring about a discrimination lawsuit."
I guess tort reform doesn't sound so bad after all.
Ofc. Krupke at 7:40 AM Permalink |
Hundreds of people gathered at both ends of Meridian Hill Park in Northwest Washington for a peace rally sponsored by the D.C Antiwar Network.
But there were interlopers: Thirteen members of ProtestWarror, supporting the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq. When the Bush supporters arrived, about 20 black-clad, self-described anarchists emerged from the crowd, shouting profanity and epithets and demanding that they leave the peace rally.
When the Bush supporters refused to leave, the anarchists tore the signs out of the Bush supporters' hands and stomped on them. When ProtestWarrior leader Gil Kobrin objected, several male anarchists knocked him to the ground, kicking him in the back and punching him. Other anarchists punched and shoved Kobrin's 12 colleagues.
After D.C. Antiwar Network members broke up the fight, the Bush supporters heeded their order to leave the park. Kobrin then called D.C. police, who are now guarding them at the entrance of the park as they hold up their pro-war signs. "We're going to hang tight," Kobrin said. "We're expressing our freedom of speech just as they are expressing theirs." --Robert MacMillan
Is it too much to ask that people refrain from committing assault and battery at a peace protest?
Ofc. Krupke at 9:25 PM Permalink |
16 January 2005
To all you nay-sayers who say America is not a land of opportunity, where any dream is within reach if you just work hard enough at it, I say "Poppycock!"
How could you believe that, in a land where mere lack of belief in God cannot stop a man from being the most petty, humorless, hectoring, self-righteous nutbar religious zealot in the country?
Chase your dreams, Mikey! And [DELETED] bless America.
Ofc. Krupke at 8:34 AM Permalink |
15 January 2005
I realize that I haven't posted yet this year, but it's been a busy couple of weeks in Krupkeland (not to be confused with its Continental counterpart, EuroKrupke). My supervisor, the redoubtable Sgt. Rudy, is being transferred before month's end. I tried out for, but did not make, the SWAT team, not managing to pass the panel interview. Perhaps, upon reflection, when asked about my long-term law enforcement goals, "To go work somewhere else" was not the most well-thought-out response.
I managed to survive New Year's Eve, and, in a move that confounded bookmakers all over Devil's Island, Jack S. was a no-show. Maybe Jill really did kick him to the curb this time. Good for her. I figure we have a good month or two before she's shacked up with a new abusive drunk.
Instead, I spent much of the night chasing unauthorized fireworks displays, which are verboten without a permit from the Southern City Fire Department. And I'm not talking about an errant bottle rocket or a Black Cat or two; the combination of Southerners and above-average disposable income meant the skies over Devil's Island looked like Khe Sanh on a long weekend. It wasn't difficult to find them; I just had to follow the ground smoke, which inevitably led to a sheepish middle-aged suburbanite with a rocket in each hand, while his middle-aged professional neighbors pointed their fingers and gleefully sang "Busted!" I was generally able to get through about half of my mock-serious speech about the Municipal Codes of Southern City Prohibiting... before another impromptu firebase cranked up around the corner, and I was off.
Other than that, people were generally well-behaved, except for one idiot drunk who decided to engage in a shouting match with his girlfriend and another man. The guy looked like a younger, shaggier-haired Gary Busey, his girlfriend was wearing a black dress and high-topped white fur go-go boots, and they were standing next to their SUV in a dark construction site lit by police strobes and spotlights. It felt like I was in a bad music video circa 1983. We finally got everyone separated and sent home, but Busey placed himself in the running for Best Drunken Self-Incrimination of 2005: when asked why he was in the neighborhood since he didn't live there, he answered, "Oh, we just came here to drop off our designated driver." You don't say.
Also, the Accident Review Board sent me a letter with the outcome of my case. I will quote them:
...and have determined that the accident, that happened when you left the driveway surface at [ADDRESS] and ran over a ground level driveway light was PREVENTABLE on your part. As there was no damage to the city vehicle you are not required to make restitution to the city. You are cautioned to operate your assigned vehicle in a more attentive manner in the future.
How come none of this shit ever happens to the guys on Law & Order?
Ofc. Krupke at 7:26 AM Permalink |