Thursday, July 7, 2016

Alton Sterling Meets The Murder Factory

A lot of generalized, not particularly well-thought-out points about the Alton Sterling shooting:
  1. Presuming Louisiana subscribes to the same grand jury system as the rest of the US, expect to see a stacked-deck grand jury presentment of the sort engineered to get the cop exonerated (Darren Wilson, there) in the Michael Brown case. This is tolerated because grand juries are tools of prosecutors and almost never fail to convict, unless the subject is a law enforcement officer.
  2. Even if the case were to get to trial, the prosecution would have a rough go of it, because of the presumption of truth baked into the system. That is, the system presumes cops never lie; their accounts of events, even in the face of video, are rarely questioned.
  3. That is further exacerbated by the fact that Louisiana is one of many states whose statutes feature a "police bill of rights" that gives cops extra protections civilians simply do not have. This gives them time to corroborate stories, delay investigations, and other things no other accused murderer could do. "Louisiana’s law allows officers to wait up to 30 days before being interviewed as part of an investigation."
  4. Finally, the "living Constitution" is frequently translated in terms favorable to police, in the form of tests that include the world "reasonable", e.g. Graham v. Connor. Cops get off with a lot of stuff civilians can't because of it.
Update: Scott Greenfield has more to say on "reasonable":
The reasonable person. The reasonable cop. The reasonable whoever. These are the sorts of rules that courts love to embrace when confronted with hard, maybe even insurmountable, problems and they can’t develop a principled test that would actually inform people what they can do without getting prosecuted.

And you love these rules. Well, not so much lawyers, but the rest of you. Because “reasonable” sounds so, well, reasonable. And as Seth Godin asks, who isn’t reasonable?
Also worth reading: "The First Rule of Policing And Alton Sterling".

Update 2: Well, then (N.b. I do not endorse "pigs"):
Update 3: Why are ex-military given priority for civilian police jobs? Is this begging for factory-installed undiagnosed PTSD? (Not saying this was a factor in this or the I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-so-damn-soon-after-but-yeah-it-is Philando Castile shooting.)

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