Maybe the NYPD should check in with its PR department once in a while. Last week at Eric Garner’s funeral–the Staten Island man who died as a result of a police chokehold–police arrested a man who wasn’t doing anything illegal. While Calvin Bryant did indeed have an open warrant, was it really necessary for police to arrest him at Garner’s funeral while he was peacefully protesting police brutality in front of his two small children?
“Why on earth choose this moment?” asks Scott Hechinger, one of the lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services working on Bryant’s case. “There’s about a million other ways to arrest this guy. Get him at his house the day before, the day after, any time over the last four years. Why choose the funeral service—the service that they caused—to inflame tensions? The timing just makes you wonder: Is this to make a statement?”
In addition to the warrant, Bryant suffered a blow to the head and was charged with resisting arrest. Bryant was allegedly holding the holds of his children and he couldn’t get his hands up, but does that equal resisting arrest?
Bottom line: the NYPD has a perception problem. People don’t trust them. Actions like this will only make the tension worse.
Team Blackness also discussed Richmond, California’s black, latina, lesbian vice mayor; why companies should hire more women; and the university president who took a pay cut to give minimum wage workers a raise.
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Villago Delenda Est
Because they’re sending a message, particularly to the communities of color and economic disadvantage. Stay in your place, peasants. The 1% will not tolerate you acting like you have any rights at all.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
I can’t see any other reason.
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You would think someone in the chain of command would have told them not to do this, but they’re cops, most of whom were either bullied in high school, or were the bullies themselves. And none of them grew up. Arresting the guy at his friend’s funeral?l — the friend the NYPD killed btw — that was just gratuitously stupid. If the NYPD is NY’s finest, Mr. De Blasio has a lot of human resources problems to fix.
The NYPD is like the Israel of public services!
Yes, that was pretty cool….
There’s a really bad article by Malcolm Gladwell this week in the New Yorker that ends abruptly but one of the points he makes is that the treatment of the Mafia by the Police and the treatment of AA criminals/offenders is entirely different and leads specific and repeated harms to the community. He is reviewing two different books–an old sociological study of the mafia community and one criminal family over time and a new ethnography of two crack dealers in their community. He specifically points towards this kind of everyday, low level, aggression in the form of issuing warrants and citations and arrests for things that in the Italian community were simply ignored. Ignoring petty crime, leaving families free to live, work and police themselves, enabled the Italian community as a whole to rise up economically by engaging in criminal acts and also successfully pushing their kids through college and into the middle class in regular employment. Meanwhile, although he doesn’t draw the conclusion, the kids the ethnographer follows in the later study of the AA community, simply don’t have a chance. Most of the men around them will spend most of their time locked up and the kids themselves are railroaded out of school and into prison in record time.
Villago Delenda Est
@? Martin: Obviously, you’re a Self Hating Cop, or an Anti-Copite.
Villago Delenda Est
@aimai: Italians are, nowadays, for all practical purposes, white. Which they were not before. African Americans, on the other hand, will always, always be ni*CLANGS*.
He didn’t do what the police wanted before they told him. For a person of color, especially one who’s making them look bad by protesting, that constitutes resisting arrest.
Villago Delenda Est
Emphasis for laser precision accuracy.
@Villago Delenda Est: Exactly. Don’t you dare speak up, of they will come after you, your family, and anyone else associated with you.
When there’s a culture of brutality in a police force, as there seems to be in the NYPD, doesn’t it become a systemic violation of civil rights and thus a matter for the US Department of Justice? Or do these incidents not rise to that level?
@aimai: The police have always been the natural enemy of the poor, and they hold a special hatred for blacks, poor or not.
Unfortunately, I think this is the NYPD PR Department.
The NYPD brand identity: fuck you, you fucking fuck. :-(
@Amir Khalid: That would presume that we had a Justice Department that actually, you know, took justice seriously. But then, depending on their perspective and which master they report to, perhaps they feel that justice was served.
Wait. The NYPD arrested someone AT ERIC GARNER’S FUNERAL?
They need to be reined in now.
@Villago Delenda Est: Yes, but actually some of this difference started early when whiteness was up for grabs (I’m reading Whiteness of a Different Color right now). The main difference, aside from racism and history of policing is that the NY cops were paid off by the mafia while they aren’t allowing themselves to be bribed or aren’t being bribed by the major AA criminals–or the bribes aren’t working and don’t cover the entire community.
Meanwhile: From the Grauniad
At least here in Los Angeles, the police corruption trend seems to be the police taking over the action themselves rather than merely accepting bribes to look the other way. Given that our damaging policing model has spread all over the US, I wouldn’t be surprised if our corruption model has done the same thing.
This would seem like the sort of thing US AG Holder would take seriously, not just because he’s a black man himself but more importantly because the DoJ under him has taken the protection of civil rights somewhat more seriously.
One might wonder if they are trying to push folks into a less than peaceful protest so that they could say, “See, these people are dangerous and we are doing what we must to keep them in line.”
A modicum of justice for a victim of American gun culture:
Had a friend who was in the NYPD very briefly a few years ago. As racist as you think it is, the reality is worse.
Paul in KY
To me, you are stupid, if you go out in public knowing you have an active bench warrant. He gave the police the happys over being able to arrest him there. Have your people who don’t have an active bench warrant protest.
@Amir Khalid: It would be better for de Blasio to step in and bring this foolishness to an end, but we shall see.
Paul in KY
@Mandalay: Dr. Burse is a pretty cool dude.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Amir Khalid: I have seen reports on TV that the DOJ is keeping a “close eye” on this. Given our system, the state generally has first crack at a case like this. If they don’t pursue it or if they half-ass it, the feds may step in.
@Paul in KY: I don’t think people always know that there are warrants out for their arrest. And the police can always contact him and ask him to turn himself in–isn’t that a courtesy that is extended to white, upper class, criminals?
Paul in KY
@aimai: If he didn’t know he had a warrant out, then he’s not stupid & the police were being total & complete assholes. They were assholes anyway, with the bench warrant, but they like being assholes & if he knew about the warrant, he was just teeing it up for them.
Thank you for the clarification, I’ve never had those kinds of dealings with the police, so I was not aware of that fact (bench warrants being issued & you don’t know about them until they grab you).
Offer most emphatically does not apply to minorities uppity enough to make the police look bad. Probably wouldn’t apply to upper class whites who made the police look bad.
ETA: The police certainly care about white vs brown and black, but they care most about blue vs. the world.
Given the source’s credentials, I’ll take his opinions with a very large pinch of salt.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
Meanwhile across the Hudson: Obama made me do it!
Helmetta cop resigns after being caught on video saying Constitution doesn’t apply to him.
And who knew there even is a place called “Helmetta”? Is that some kind of code for Motorcyclecopland?
People like that plainly don’t belong in a police uniform; such an attitude turns the police into one more criminal gang, only with badges and legal powers. I recognise the difficulty here is that the culture perpetuates itself: police recruits are chosen by serving police officers, who after a career in that culture wind up picking those most like themselves.
From the article:
I guess that, while Bryant was expressing his free speech rights, the cops decided to express theirs.
Davis X. Machina
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: There are towns in Jersey so small you can hit a 3-wood across them….
It wasn’t always this way in NYC. I will remember, fondly, my weekly encounters with Officers Toody & Muldoon.
@aimai: I didn’t when I was arrested.
OT: Kiss Montana good-bye:
It’s becoming more and more clear that the problems with police in this country will *not* be solved without violence.
@FormerSwingVoter: Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity.
@Paul in KY: I have a friend that is a detective in the warrants and fugitives division. He solves most of his cases over the telephone with a simple “hey you got a warrant for your arrest”, some basic courtesy, and a willingness to talk.
@catclub: and? As far as I can tell, the elected government is not acting very concerned about the situation. Seriously. They are more concerned with keeping what little power they have left. So why should we be concerned.
@Yatsuno: speaking of dishonest men in uniform.
@Yatsuno: Obama’s going to be busy with the veto pen for a couple years
Does anyone else find it suspicious the degree of NYPD asshole behavior has increased with the start of de Blasio’s term and the end of stop-and-frisk? It’s almost as if they are trying to make the mayor look bad. I wonder why… /sarcasm
@SatanicPanic: As much as it galls me, there is one saviour in this mess: Schweitzer. He could theoretically get the nomination & have the star power to still win it. Even then it will be tough, but with Grimes killing the Turtle & Nunn having more than a decent chance, it may be still okay. Oh and Kagan & Pryor are still leading as of right now.
We should be concerned because ISIS are a bunch of really awful people who are oppressing the residents of the areas they control We should also be concerned because their territory is likely to become a safe haven for terrorists. Neither of those things is necessarily sufficient grounds for military action, but they are certainly enough to be concerned about.
@Yatsuno: This is true. I’m not giving up hope yet
@Yatsuno: Wrote that one off a long time ago.
The two biggest shitstains in the Democratic Party are Walsh and Schweitzer.
Two vile, self-serving jerks.
So I guess the rule is just because they sell air guns at target, it doesn’t mean they want you to buy them.
This reminds me of an old riddle:
So here’s my riddle:
If a customer in Walmart is killed by the police, and within 24 hours the police chief is saying that the “quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers”, what is the color is the dead man?
“Bottom line: the NYPD has a perception problem.”
I think they have an action problem, in that too often they take actions that kill people.
No amount of PR lipstick can beautify that pig…
Worst part is, because the police panicked everyone, two people died:
ETA: Sorry, just realized my info is from this story, not the one originally linked to.
There’s stuff the story doesn’t make clear. What were the police officers doing in the Walmart: were they there as customers, were they on patrol, had they been called to some disturbance there? Don’t the toy guns sold at Walmart have an orange-tipped barrel to distinguish them from real guns? Why did the police think a customer holding a toy was a threat?
The article I linked to seems to indicate that it may have been an air gun, which was the only kind of gun that would have been easily accessible to a customer (basically, a BB gun).
And, frankly, this kind of incident is why you’ll never see me urging African-Americans to open carry — a white guy fooling around with a BB gun would never have been killed by police. Ever.
@Mnemosyne: A while ago in the great LA area, a drunk white guy named Doug Zerby went to visit a friend at an apartment building. The friend wasn’t home, so the drunk guy sat in a lawn chair outside, got bored, and started going pew pew pew with a spray nozzle. A neighbor called the cops, who surrounded the drunk guy and shot him to death.
@raven: Peace? Who gives a shit about peace? I want “police won’t arbitrarily murder people for no reason because they know there will be consequences”. If the legal system won’t provide consequences for their actions, those consequences need to come from somewhere else.
There’s a reason police treated Occupy protesters so differently than Second Amendment and Tea Party protesters. Guns and who had them.
I’m not saying that white guys never get shot for stupid reasons. I’m saying that a white guy in Wal-Mart playing with a gun would not be shot by police for doing it.
Paul in KY
@Cassidy: Sounds like a smart police officer.