Another "law enforcement" issue

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by DC_DEEP, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. DC_DEEP

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    For the 3rd time in barely over a year, there's been a controversy over "off-duty" officers being involved in shootings in my area. The most recent one here (I only skimmed the article in the Washington Post) involved a group of kids who apparently didn't pay their tab at a Waffle House (or something similar), got chased by an off-duty policeman, and one was fatally shot by him. Some have said that they actually did pay and it was a misunderstanding. Following the investigation, the panel found that the off-duty cop acted rightly, and the teenager "brought this tragedy upon himself." I'm glad that they have decided that a $12 (accidental or intentional) shoplifting is a death-penalty offense which does not warrant a trial. Another incident was an off-duty federal marshal who got road-raged at someone and shot them.

    Should off-duty officers of any kind be going around shooting people? What occupations should allow their members to be on-duty even when they are off-duty? Does and off-duty cop have the same authority as an on-duty cop? Should an off-duty school principal discipline unruly children at the mall?
     
  2. Dr Rock

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    that's a pretty extreme example (although not a surprising one); clearly anyone who's willing to pull a gun on a kid who hasn't paid a bill, whether on duty or off, is a fucking psychopath who should not be allowed to pursue the occupation of police officer in the first place.

    the issue about off-duty police officers touches on the problem of off-duty citizens, though. it shouldn't be necessary for an off-duty cop to assume duties that everyone should be ready to carry out as people. if, for example, i see a kid snatch a pensioner's bag or purse (one of the favorite pastimes of this town's youth), i'll set my dogs to chase the little bastard down. i've noticed that most people present, however, tend to just look the other way, or stand around gawping like imbeciles. this nearly always happens on busy streets in broad daylight, incidentally. 90% of the time, people who could easily grab or trip the thief in question just shuffle out of the fucking way instead.

    i guess i can understand that for a police officer who's been trained to respond to any breach of the law, it is difficult to just drop that obligation when their shift ends ... but as you pointed out, those who are unable to make that separation risk becoming nothing more than vigilantes (except that they'll usually get away with it, which breeds the sort of culture of contempt that inevitably leads to incidents like those you just described).

    although i can't consider it entirely fair, i think it'd be overall safer for everyone if cops understood that they'd be censured, potentially very harshly, for doing anything while off-duty that they wouldn't expect any regular citizen to do in the same position. of course it'd be impossible to make any hard and fast laws for shit like that, so it'd wind up being reliant on courts, but it's still the least broken feasible solution i can think of.
     
  3. hottxboi16

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    I believe that if they are off duty, that should have no authority or privliges that any other citizen woudlnt have UNLESS it is a dire situation such as a shoot off or something were peoples lifes are at stake...

    which clearly shoplifting and road rage arnt....and the supposed shoplifting one about a food tab is ridiculous and i wouldnt be suprised if the jury was being threatened or something because anyone that would let a cop off because of that is moronic...unless all the details have not be related to us and the situation turned violent. I need more details to make a definitive opinion.


     
  4. Dr Rock

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    that's what ON-duty cops are supposed to be for.
     
  5. madame_zora

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    A few years back, in sleepy little Cincinnati, we had this:

    http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/04/12/cincinnati.riots.02/index.html


    Our racist fucktard police force shot an unarmed kid in the BACK as he was trying to jump a fence. His crime? Outstanding traffic tickets! He fled the police because of THEIR reputation for being racists killers, trying (unsuccessfully) to save his own life.

    Yeah, off duty cops are trained to respond, but HOW they're trained and WHAT they're trained for are very interesting questions. As long as we as people accept organised racism in our police forces, we have no bitch when there is tension between races. When was the last time a white kid had to be afraid for his life because he had an unpaid speeding ticket? You just have no idea how good it is to be white, still.

    In case you think I'm whining, this got national attention, but as expected the results of the independant investigation were never made public, and to my knowledge, no police officers lost their jobs.
     
  6. findfirefox

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    No one deserves to die, Anyone, murders included, unless there posing a direct threat to people around them and its a preventative measure. (The death sentence is the easy way out not the "ultimate" punishment)

    Cops are starting to get away with more and more things, this cop should have been fired if not fired and punished, its ludicrous to kill someone over anything as trivial as money or possessions.

    The local news played a story about a young teen on his way back to Portland from Newport who got into a car wreck and was shot. Apparently this naked teen who was crawling across the ground was some how a threat to the cops because he kept moving toward them, i believe they shot him (It might have been a taser) he died and people were PO, as they should be.

    Fucking insanity
     
  7. davidjh7

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    I can't speak for other countries, but here in America is a very prevalent attitude among the police. There are two groups of people---the police, and everybody else. The police see EVERYBODY else as an unworthy criminal, who DESERVES to he beat up, abused, or killed---they would do more of it if they got away with more of it--it has become so endemic, the us against them, us being the cops and them being everybody else---that everybody not a cop, SHOULD be afraid for their lives in any police encounter. The cops are NOT your friends--not anymore. The worst thing you can do is give them any excuse--they will run with it, potentially to the end of YOUR life. I accept there are good, decent, honest, hardworking cops who truly want to serve the public good. I have just never met any in my life.
     
  8. DC_DEEP

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    Thanks for your input, folks. Dr Rock, these were NOT extreme examples, these were two of the three in barely over one year, that I could recall much about. And you hit upon PRECISELY my point - that when off-duty, the police have no more authority than any other citizen. Hottxboi16, there will BE no jury to threaten in the case of the unpaid restaurant tab... the board of inquiry found no wrongdoing, so it will not go to trial. See, guys, the part that just steams me so bad is that "the sheep" are willing to accept a senseless murder just because it was "an off-duty police officer." I'm not kidding you, I'm not exaggerating, I'm not grasping at straws here... in the Washington DC area (which includes Northern Virginia and most of Maryland) these off-duty murders are occurring. Too often. And again, I say, is there any other occupation/career/profession where the phrase "off-duty" is license to abuse? If this were an area with just one single law enforcement official, and there were no second and third shift to take up the slack, it might be different. The other incident I mentioned... the young fellow (driving the smaller car) supposedly cut off the off-duty officer (driving the SUV, his wife & kid with him) so he chases the guy down, claims he thought his life was in danger, pulls a gun, and shoots the kid. Witnesses claim they heard his wife screaming and begging him to come back and let it go. He got off with a slap on the wrist. Because he was an off-duty officer.
     
  9. Dr Rock

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    how do you figure that?
     
  10. Lex

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    Police Officers are not the cream of the human crop and often they exhibit some of the worst of our behaviors. Sad.

    DC, DrRock, Zora--thanks for sharing those stories.

    Rock hits on a valid point when he mentions that citizens should look out for one another more frequently than they do. And shooting someone over $12 of food or fucking tickets? UNACCEPTABLE.
     
  11. bigboy9239

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    Well as a former law enforcement officer in the philly area of PA....I can tell you that here, an off-duty 369 (cop), depending on the department..may be required to carry a gun 24/7 and to effect an arrest of anyone commiting a crime in his presense..whether he is in uniform or not...on duty or not. He has been sworn to uphold the law... and it doesnt matter if he is on duty or not.

    As for racist cops...I have to tell you....Cinncinnati has a reputation..even amounst other cops...for being really hard on blacks..and other minorities. I hear stories about the "white hats" all the time. I had a friend who lived out there..and frankly, I didnt believe it until I went out there and saw the goings on for myself. Frightening....
     
  12. findfirefox

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    Its just my opinion that no one deserves to die, it just something I strongly believe.

    Is there really any reason to kill someone? (Excluding when the person killed poses a direct threat to others, as I said above)
     
  13. SpeedoGuy

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    Stories like this illustrate the pressing need for strong and vigilant civilian oversight of police and military forces.
     
  14. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    I don't think cops should be allowed to have guns. Reserve that for SWAT and national guard. Most of the cops I know are not nearly intelligent, responsible or competent enough to be trusted to carry around a loaded firearm. Plus they are so friggin' jumpy all the time... I know they get scared around me because of my physical size, I can imagine what it must be like for a black man trying to deal with these guys, when one wrong move could mean getting a gun pulled on you... that's frightening.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    Well, yeah, no shit... and that's when he's ON DUTY AND IN UNIFORM! It worries me that these guys get the inflated ego, begin to overestimate their own importance, and start flinging around firearms when they are off-duty. It worries me even more that the sheep will say "well, it's ok, he's an off-duty police officer. It must be legal and proper."

    Woman walking through the mall: "Hey, that guy over there just ran up to me and started snipping off my hair!!!"

    Bystander: "Oh, it's ok, he's an off-duty hairdresser. He knows what he's doing."
     
  16. Dr Rock

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    no. but you need to redefine your idea of a "direct threat" a little, i think.
     
  17. madame_zora

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    Haha, if only off duty hookers were so nice.


    Seriously, our attention to the media is so pronounced that we tend to think of the cops as they are portrayed on tv and in the movies- good guys with hearts of gold who selflessly defend the world. It just ain't real. These are ordinary, donut eating, mortgage having, lower intelligence level people who have very unequal rights in our society. While I can understand the concept of them being able to fight crime when they are confronted with it off duty, in practise it is becomming too scary to tolerate. These are not superheroes we are empowering, but individuals with their own prejudices and agendas that are often less than pure. If we don't hold them accountable for their behaviors, we will very soon find ourselves living in a police state and still calling ourselves a Democracy (which of course, isn't true to begin with).
     
  18. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    well said Zora. Personally I find it highly disturbing that the common and popular rhetoric surrounding police officers, firemen, and the men and women in the military is that they are above reproach. That to say anything not "supporting" our troops is unpatriotic somehow because it hurts morale to point out that our soldiers are committing atrocities. Our military and our local and state police are supposed to be our "best and brightest"... but just because politicians say this over and over again to win popularity points doesn't make it true. If you were really so good and so bright why would you take some shitty low-paying job? The only perks of which might be that you get to kill people once in a while with guns or explosives, and that you get to push people around on a daily basis. I know pesonally several people who serve in these professions. My friend Eric was a marine... he's one of the stupidest, most ignorant fuck-ups I know. He was anxious to get over to Iraq and "kill some sand niggers." This guy, as long as I have known him, could not hold a job for more than a week and a half. The thought of him carrying around an automatic weapon terrifies me. The military does not always attract the best and brightest, or even most often. I feel like politicians probably know this yet they keep saying the opposite to try and keep the morale of the cannon-fodder up and to do better for themselves in the polls. If it were really true then why would recruiters spend so much time in lower-income neighborhoods? Our volunteer armed forces suck up the dregs of society by offering them work when they feel they can't find it anywhere else, or by giving someone a chance to get out of whatever environment they're in, which would have to be a pretty shitty one if Iraq looks better by contrast. Then these guys complete their tour of duty, come home and join the police force. Which also happens to attract exactly the sort of people I am not comfortable with handing authority to. The anal-retentive hall-monitor types. The school bully types. Ignorant racists who have their own agenda to impose their prejudices on the rest of us because they think it's making things better. All together a handful of people, many of which are frustrated by their inability to achieve much else in their lives but now find themselves able to exert authority over just about anyone. This bothers me. It bothers me that the word of a police officer is taken as inassailable truth in court when most of the time they are lying through their teeth in order to get convictions or save their own butts, and their buddy the judge usually lets them get away with it because they have the same agenda. The judges I would label as good judges, the ones who are more concerned with doing their jobs correctly, upholding justice, giving fair trials to defendents; as opposed to being concerned with getting convictions and helping troopers and cops... these judges (at least the ones in Fairfax County) are hated by the people that they work with. They try to force them into retirement or else get them to come around. I used to work in an ER and I'd hear the state troopers talk about it. There was this one judge who they all despised because he actually acting in the interests of the people that the troopers had, by their own admission to myself and others, given citations to based on questionably legal methods of police work, including racial profiling, illegal search & seizure, fudging notes and readouts on traffic control devices, etc.

    I'm not saying all cops are like this, there are a few good ones out there, but my point is that, just like Zora said, these are not superheroes. They are very real people with very real weaknesses, in a job where pay is low and perhaps our standards are too low as well. Yet we trust them to carry deadly weapons and exert authority over everyone else without much accountability.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    I'm just up the road from you, bud, so you KNOW the news stories I was talking about when I started this thread.

    FWIW, I was a US Marine in our all-volunteer force. I stayed in for my six years, turned down the assistant chief-of-staff when he tried to convince me to stay in. I decided it was not worth it to give up 10 IQ points for every stripe I put on my sleeve.
     
  20. Shelby

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    I think most cops become cops to get even. They were either bullied as kids or are subconsciously trying to make up for something. They scare me.

    As far as off duty stuff here's a different twist. On a summer vacation trip we were passing through a rural area when we came upon a 12 year old boy that had been hit pretty hard by a car. He was unable to breathe. My father, who was a surgeon, performed an emergency tracheotomy on the side of the road using his pocket knife and a stick. It kept the boy alive until the ambulance showed up. Some days later after we returned from our trip I asked Dad if he had heard anything about the boy. He said yes, that he lived for a couple of days but ultimately died from massive internal injuries.

    This was years back and these country folk - the boys parents and the devastated old man who hit him - were nothing but grateful. In todays hyper-litigious society I don't know if Dad would have stopped. It would be a wrenching decision to weigh his desire to help against his fear of malpractice.

    It's fucked up that cops routinely get excused for doing what's wrong but md's often get burned for trying to do what's right.
     
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