Wednesday, September 10, 2014

the just-us system is a gestalt of the attitudes and inherent biases of the uhmurkan majority

Capitalism, Racism, and Entropy
NYTimes |  The racially torn city of Ferguson, Mo., took an important step on Monday when the City Council announced proposals aimed at remaking its troubled court system and creating a civilian review board for the Police Department.

The initiatives, which have yet to be fully explained, speak to longstanding grievances in the black community and are meant to defuse racial tensions that erupted into riots last month after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by a white policeman.

For the reforms to be truly meaningful, they will need to be adopted by neighboring towns in St. Louis County that have similarly unfair legal systems, which appear to single out black motorists for traffic and streets stops. The reform effort also needs a strong push from the State Supreme Court, which should bring the municipal courts into line with state law and United States Supreme Court rulings that make it illegal to jail indigent defendants solely because they are unable to pay fines.
Defense lawyers say that such abuses are common in St. Louis County, where black motorists are often targeted for petty offenses that generate fines, which provide some towns with 40 percent or more of their revenues. When motorists who can’t afford to pay the fines and penalties miss their court dates, arrest warrants are issued — which makes them vulnerable to losing job opportunities and housing.

A Times article on Tuesday said that Ferguson had the highest number of warrants relative to its size in the state. A report by ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit organization, found that last year Ferguson issued roughly three warrants for every household in town.

The City Council seems to have gotten the message. It announced that it would take up a proposal to repeal the offense of “failure to appear” in municipal court so that defendants would no longer be charged or fined for not appearing. Presumably, the new system will allow defendants to explain their absences and permit them to work out payment plans for fines.

The Council also said it would take up proposals that limit court-fine totals to 15 percent or less of the city’s revenue and abolish onerous fees that can have a catastrophic effect on the lives of impoverished defendants. The Council also expressed the hope that municipal judges and prosecutors would explore alternative methods of sentencing, including community service.

The state courts in Missouri are already forbidden by law to jail indigent clients solely because they are too poor to pay. The State Supreme Court should grant a recent request by defense lawyers and legal scholars that expressly states that the same standard applies in municipal courts to indigent defendants, many of whom are racial minorities.

In acting this week, the Ferguson City Council was clearly being mindful that the Justice Department has begun a broad investigation into police practices in Ferguson, focusing on issues like mistreatment of prisoners, use of excessive force and discriminatory traffic stops.

That investigation needs to go forward, not just in Ferguson but in neighboring towns in St. Louis County, which have been similarly bad records. The goal should be to induce those towns to embrace judicial fairness as well.

24 comments:

DD said...

This is good. Best development in that trouble yet.

BigDonOne said...

"Why would a person transporting drugs be speeding?"
BD has watched probably every episode of COPs and Most Shocking Police Videos.
Drug transporters are incredibly stupid giving police all kinds of Probable Cause to pull them over. Plates expired, plates stolen, vehicle comes back stolen, illegal tinting, all kinds of defective equipment (cracked windshields, lights burned out). Then officers find a few kilos of poorly-concealed product.....


The basic reason for speeding, however, goes right back to the bell curve - FTO failure to prioritize and acknowledge the consequences of irresponsible behavior. Judging from all you seem to know about it, perhaps Vic, you associate with a higher class of mules......???

CNu said...

Weak gruel mayne. This is just superficial stuff that the mayor and city council could do on their own in violation of the sunshine law. The BEST development IMOHO is that Ferguson has put the portrait of America's id on worldwide public display. http://youtu.be/ZsUNXVpjJDw

Uglyblackjohn said...

Vic - You know, I'd have to agree with your 90% assertion. California has low paid cops and even lower paid military men. Lots of cops and guys in the military can be bought. The convergence of Mexico, the ports, military bases and low-paid public servants grouped with a materialism seen in few places across the country and the market for drugs, weapons and stolen goods create a market where it's hard to tell where to cops begin and the dealers end. Lots of busts are pay off for officers having let other traffic through. (Or so I've heard.)

Vic78 said...

There's no way of telling who's on the highway transporting. With the kind of money being made, those stops don't mean shit. COPS and dumbass police videos are what you're going to go on? Like I said before, you're the perfect mark for a con. You fell for one and don't even realize it.

CNu said...

Intelligent criminals have always subverted law enforcement to their own predatory and competitive ends. As many times as BD has posted the "conclude all family business TODAY" clip, you'd think he would've memorized other notable passages, as well..., http://youtu.be/kSQqv2UuvC0

Uglyblackjohn said...

Is that a REAL question BD? When I first moved here, I drove my grandmother's red Cadillac with the gold package. I'd collect rent dressed as though I was about to play tennis afterwards. I retired at 33 so collecting rent was my job. Every new cop in the hood would stop me because I had better clothes, a better car, lived in a better home, had more money and better looking women than they had. Every new cop assumed that I had to be dealing to live that life. The stops only ended when the guy running internal affairs (whom I had met while doing volunteer work) asked how I liked the city. I explained that sometimes I'd get stopped for having thousands in cash in a red Caddy while driving in the hood collecting rent after my renters had gotten off of work. He told me that a young(ish) Black male in that type of car with that amount of cash was what officers were trained to look for. I got stopped for being better than the cops while being Black.

ken said...

"Sure they can, and as long as you don't cross that police line, you're free to video record anything they do."


Is it your opinion then its up to the citizen to decide what they can and can't record regardless of what the officer says. Take for instance at cop's reason and notice at 6:15, that there's things that can't be filmed here...." is it up the judgment of this child/man to determine if he has to follow that request? You really think a judge is going to side with this boy to make some sort of precedence that police request to not film a training exercise they don't want on the internet or public can be denied by anyone with a camera? If so it's going to be for someone with a far better motive than, "I came down here to cause trouble and film it".

CNu said...

lol, what's it like to realize that all your heroes are douche bags BD? Watson, Murray, Rushton...,

CNu said...

Which part of "it's not up to the overseer to decide" don't you understand? There IS no subjective discretion here, and just as overseers gone wild don't get to extrajudicially execute black teenagers in Ferguson or make military shows of force as against peaceful protestors - so also - overseers overstepping their bounds don't get to decide what a citizen can and cannot video record.

CNu said...

lol, why you mad brah? Is it cause you've been shown to be serially factually and logically mistaken in every single thing you've asserted here, or, is it because the pompous and overpaid overseers in nazi-styled riding pants got owned by a young man with the knowledge of facts and law on his side? http://youtu.be/WwoM5fLITfk?t=58s

ken said...

The only part this guy might have had the law on his side was asking for the cops ID, even then. I wonder how far that can be taken. For instance can I walk up to cops parked along the road waiting for speeders to and knock on their windows and demand to see their picture ID, I bet not. I suspect if we look into that law there has to be a degree of engagement and it not being obvious if the person engaging you is truly a cop. I haven't researched this so it is an assumption.


There is not mention of this cop asking for the kid's ID. All we have here is kids who knew these people were cops, trying to record something they were clearly not supposed record, and not adhering to police requests to move away from where they were. They had no law on their side, I think a more interesting question would be if these idiots happened to be black would have they been arrested.

BigDonOne said...

Shame on you, CNu, getting personal again. Can't you have a meaningful discussion without maligning those who disagree with you? Do you also do that in the professional world, say in some high-stress meeting where there is disagreement on how to proceed with some IT issue...??


BD suggests you work on your listening skills and perhaps get some anger management counseling. Would be good for your sky-rocketing career........

Naive Tom said...

You really need a "double blind" study -- the drivers can't know whether they're Black or not.

ken said...

Whatever the system that deletes post deleted my reply to your bottom post. This was an urban shield training part of the department of homeland security and according to the Boston Globe the details of the exercise were confidential:

"For this year’s training, the agencies wanted to test the investigative skills of their detectives, as well as their ability to work with detectives in other cities, and share intelligence, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the planned exercise were confidential.
The training, funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant, will probably be rescheduled to early next year, said Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, whose agency was slated to participate."

The training was postponed for year 2013 as the 6/2013 article states, and was done the following year, which these guys decided to try and record.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/06/07/before-police-could-plan-for-terrorist-attack-real-thing-happened/ufxjb9O0RXyzVZNPFyGkiI/story.html

CNu said...

As for your eaten post, there's nothing pending in the filter/moderation queue.

As for the homeland security grant funding, so what? and what's your point?

I'm much more interested in knowing who the gimpy private profiteers who got to pocket the funds from this clown show were? As for the rest, this should all be transparent as sunlight is the best and only certain disinfectant.

BigDonOne said...

It's a gray area. Filming may be legal but 'interfering with an officer' is not, and you can be charged and have the hassle of defending yourself even if you ultimately walk. Same deal as in states where you can legally 'open carry.' But if someone feels threatened, you can be charged with 'threatening' and have to defend yourself against that in court. BD suggests you do your filming from a respectful distance, or you are asking for trouble, regardless of the legality.....

CNu said...

lol, just show up with 15 of your closest open-carrying buddies and see how quickly all that bluster and bravado fades as the overseers get back into their squad cars and their paddy wagon and drive the phuk back down to their little station with their tails between their legs...., http://youtu.be/cIQJ_FJ8zsQ?list=PLytXozDK4XgfIUcK7az9RuZWoizJKyOqg

ken said...

The article says the details of the urban shield exercises are confidential. I have tried various searches to see if any major news organization has press coverage of video of urban shield. Besides Urban Shield video releases, and Department of Homeland Security, there was only a mothejones video on what they saw before being kicked out.


Pretty sure the government still has the right to categorize something confidential, and not even a cell phone with a camera will allow you to observe at will without some sort of security clearance.

CNu said...

Urban Shield is a for-profit sales expo for police militarization which should be opposed and exposed by any means necessary. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/09/militarization-surveillance-and-profit-how-grassroots-groups-are-fighting-urban


So no. private, for-profit skullduggery like that urgently needs public attention, as public dollars pay for it. Mayor Jean Quan in Oakland has banned it in the wake of this year's dissent in the bay area.

Naive Tom said...

Ken supports torture. What's the point in getting his opinion on this stuff?

ken said...

That seems like there is a private weapons expo for police and it may be this needs to be exposed. However it does appear this is confidential, and therefore these guys were not supposed to be filming this. The kids did not adhere to the cops instructions and they knew it was cops giving them instructions. Finally, the police actions here had no parallels with the Ferguson cop Wilson who engaged and escalated the situation at the very least and possibly much worse actions and motives. Meanwhile the kids here came to engage the police and verbally dual with them for entertainment.

CNu said...

You read MUCH too much into the use of the term "confidential". That has no standing wrt being officially "classified" or "secret". Once again you're clutching for non-existent straws and the effort will only bear out your own repugnant support for misbehavior under color of authority and willingness to submit to illegitimate expressions of authority.

We know nothing about overseer Wilson's motives, and speculation with regard to the same is pointless. He will be punished for his actions. The kids here were engaged in perfectly legal and legitimate dissent against a specious, for-profit exercise which amounts to little more than "overseers-at-paly" on the public dime.

CNu said...

Ken is acting as a poster-child for banal evil on this thread. Not only does he unquestioningly believe himself right and correct, even after being shown to be entirely mistaken on every substantive point he's endeavored to raise, he also considers bogus authority to be beyond questioning or reproach, and, as you've pointed out, empowered to use as much violence as it deems necessary or desirable in order to squash questioning or dissent.