God Save the Police and America With Honest Criminal Prosecutions

Column by Tim Hartnett.

Exclusive to STR

Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, two NYPD officers killed by maniac Ismaaiyl Brinsley on December 20, didn’t stand much of a chance against a random attack on their uniforms. Likewise, the two of them couldn’t even reach room temperature before being honed into weapons in the battle to stir public rage. Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch dipped his brush instantly into the gory crime scene:

“There is blood on many hands, from those that incited violence under the guise of protest to try tear down what police officers do every day. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.”

No decent person can begrudge the police their grieving anger when two innocent ones get slaughtered over controversies they had no control of. But placing any whit of blame for that crime on demands for police accountability is a cheap tack. Murdered policemen are not shields to deflect criticism away from the sins of living ones. Five presidents of the United States have been shot, four of them fatally, a casualty rate over 10%. That doesn’t make the other 39 untouchable martyrs above reproach.

The Garner and Brown cases are not the most damning examples of municipal armed guards on a tear. Snake oil salesmen who gin up public rancor don’t pick their causes on merit. The media just follows the noise to the easiest prey. Limelight is nothing like a disinfectant.

Would Lynch have chosen different words if someone like beat cop Peter Liang had been shot instead of Ramos and Liu? Liang was patrolling the stairwell of a Brooklyn development, against explicit orders, with gun drawn on November 20. He claims to have shot Akai Gurley accidentally when a door opened on the floor below. The New York Daily News reports that the officer’s first communication after the discharge was a text to his union rep. A 911 dispatcher, called by a resident of the building, was unable reach Liang or partner Shaun Landau for six and half minutes. Gurley was pronounced dead on arrival at Brookdale Hospital.

“That’s showing negligence,” an unnamed “law enforcement” source told NYDN reporter Rocco Parascandola. The dead man’s relatives may have another name for it. “[N]egligence” for the rest of us is something like not paying a traffic ticket on time. The word doesn’t exactly do justice to an emergency first responder who creates an emergency and fails to respond to it.

Minorities are not the only victims of government’s reckless disregard for human life. Completely unprovoked assaults on people like John T. Williams, formerly of Seattle, almost invariably fail to result in any trouble for killers with badges. In this case, the dash-cam clearly shows Officer Ian Birk springing wildly from his vehicle to pursue a man innocently walking down the street. The victim was minding his own business whittling with a perfectly legal pocket knife. The shooting takes place off camera about four seconds after Birk follows Williams around the corner.

Charges were ruled out in this open and shut case of what is called “assassination” when a municipal uniform is on the receiving end. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer paraphrases Prosecutor Dan Satterberg:

“[A] jury could not possibly find, unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted with malice or that he did not believe Williams was going to attack him.”

Unless scores of websites have been linking the wrong video for the last four years, there is no question that it’s the officer doing 100% of the attacking. That evidence alone justified self-defense if Williams had stabbed the rabid dog pursuing him. There is no rational explanation for Birk ever leaving his squad car. Under Satterberg’s construction of the law, what happens if the Seattle policeman visits a public fishing pier? Surrounded by blood, fish guts and men with knives, does the jury have any choice but granting Birk his free pass for a massacre?

Foreign media noticed the threat posed by the American anti-threat industry at least 15 years ago with The Sultans of SWAT (The Economist 9-30-1999). The latest installment in that series, America’s Police on Trial (12-13-2014), describes 37 year old Angela Williams’ fatal heart attack when shopper John Crawford is shot without warning by police in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart August 5th. Synchronizing the store’s video with 911 audio proves Crawford had no opportunity to put down the BB gun he planned to purchase. Williams wasn’t afraid of the young black man with a rifle off the shelf standing nearby. It was the lunatic in uniform who fired on him for no good reason that scared the life out of her.

The Beavercreek boys rounded out their class act that day with the interrogation of Tasha Thomas, Crawford’s surviving girlfriend. Detective Rodney Curd’s grilling is a classic demonstration of that legendary professionalism we never stop hearing about, from a class whose only concern is the facts, in action. Whatever was in Curd’s mind when this macabre burlesque was taped, there’s no doubt who was being protected and served, and who was not.

It’s just another example that the public interest is a priority well below the top of its minders' agenda. The Geer case from Fairfax County, Va. evinces exactly the same thing. Fifteen months after the shooting of an unarmed man at his own front door, the FCPD refuses to even release the trigger man’s name. The same department stalled and obstructed the Culosi murder investigation seven years before. The problem is that a police “career” is too precious to imperil over a body or two in its wake.

Crawford made it far enough along his path to pass on DNA. That’s more than we can say for Tamir Rice. In case you haven’t heard, he was the 12 year old boy wielding an airsoft gun shot by Cleveland Patrolman Tmothy Loehman November, 22. The child was struck down less than two seconds after the police car stopped in front of him. The kid looks to be doomed no matter what he did next. Watch the video link as many times as it takes and decide for yourself. Mob hit men don’t get the job done any quicker.

Like Ramos and Liu, neither Williams, Crawford, Rice nor hundreds of others executed by the state in unjustifiable circumstance ever had a chance against obsessive, bloodthirsty attackers. Especially since, unlike the two dead cops, they had no lethal weapons. All three videos show public safety employees who will not miss out on their big chance to kill someone.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s eulogy for Rafael Ramos begins: “Every time I attend a cop’s funeral, I pray it will be the last.”

That prayer’s a little paradoxical. The police industry’s whole theory for existence is based on a perpetual glut in the supply of evil and violent threats. Without risk, however exaggerated, all the mystique evaporates from a job that is, essentially, a semi-skilled one for over 95% of its tasks. Bad guys are what save LEOs the aggravation of learning a trade.

Very few people don’t feel exactly as Bratton does when it comes to dead cops. That number would certainly be fewer still in a country where the police faced prosecution and prison for assault, illegal search, false arrest, barratry, manslaughter, murder, destruction of evidence and private property, obstruction of justice and numerous other offenses. Rather than jailed, these crimes seldom even get them fired.

It’s not fascism to believe citizens should have a certain fear of authority’s consequences. But it certainly is totalitarian to believe authority shouldn’t fear offending its citizens even more. No one has “earned” the right to be a publicly paid armed guard over others. If humanity is bad enough to require policing, the ones signing up for the job are doubly suspect.

Cops accused of wrongdoing have no more in common with Ramos and Liu than Paul Shanley did with Giralmo Savranola, Dutch Schultz did with Anne Frank or Al Sharpton does with Francis Mcintosh. Mcintosh was the free black man mentioned in Lincoln’s Lyceum speech who was burned at the stake for defending himself against cops during a false arrest in 1836. The courts let the lynch mob go. These days our good judges only grant cops such liberty with the law.

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Tim Hartnett's picture
Columns on STR: 20


Samarami's picture

This bears repeating: most tend to ask the wrong questions, thus expect impossible solutions to what appear to be "problems". As if the white man's "legal system" could be improved if they'd just somehow straighten out their acts. And, of course, we on the street have little contact with a power elite who arrange bread-and-circus events ("elections"). All we see is the egregious grunts on the street with state costumes and tin badges which are supposed to convey "jurisdiction" to the unwashed masses. Due to this "jurisdiction" those lunatics seldom go up for any real punishment for murder and mayhem.

Because if, for example, you're in MS and happen to be black the psychopaths have a case if they say they have a case -- no matter the law or the charge or the evidence. Theirs is a monopoly upon violence. They make laws, enforce laws, prosecute laws, hire prosecutors, license "defense" attorneys, pay "judges", build jails, contract jails to private entities, employ and pay "wardens", employ and pay guards, employ and pay "parole officers". All with stolen resources. Good work if you can get it.

So I don't spend time wailing or gnashing teeth over monopoly "police" misdoings. It's in the cards. Try to stay out of their way -- and never, never speak to one of them. Sam

Paul's picture

"Theirs is a monopoly upon violence."

Sam, I will pick one nit with you here. See my article, "*What* Monopoly on Force?":

I agree "it's in the cards". Perhaps you've seen my other article, "Protection Implies Submission":

As to the original article, I couldn't agree more. This point however, got my attention: "No decent person can begrudge the police their grieving anger when two innocent ones get slaughtered over controversies they had no control of." Are there any innocent police, after all? I guess I don't see it, because the occupation of police work is inherently objectionable. Perhaps that means I am not a decent person.

Samarami's picture

From "Protection/Submission":

    Want protection? Protect yourself and your own, or join vigilance committees to do the same thing, or submit. Those are your only choices.

I tend to steer clear of vigilance "committees" -- generally all "committees" for that matter. I ain't about to "submit" (voluntarily). I agree totally with your two essays -- and Joe Sobran's "Reluctant Anarchist". It's sad that Sobran's life was cut short before he could totally assimilate anarchy. He was on his way.

I am a sovereign state.

And yes, those psychopaths hiding under the guise of "government" merely engage in protection rackets, held together by obfuscation. They rely solely upon a phenomenon well known to psychopaths, but only recently labelled "Stockholm syndrome". "Voluntary Compliance".

The khans, forerunners to "Our-Founding-Fathers", understood well the terror and fear villagers had of the Huns and nomadic hordes. So it was relatively easy for them to begin the process of setting up what we later called the "family of nations". A major stroke of genius was "democracy" -- the ruse that the masses could actually be above the overseers "elected" (appointed, for those of us who understand the reality of the political process) from among them. That those senators and legislators and ministers and presidents would become subservient to "We-The-People".

The jive of "terrorism" is particularly humorous to those of us who see through all the dots. How "9-1-1" was actually pulled off is something none of us will ever really know.

But, as you infer, "uneasy rides the head that wears the crown". Even totally disarmed (complete "gun control"), the hoi polloi present an ever-present risk. What if all of us become non-compliant at the same time?

So, from that point of view, my use of the phrase "monopoly upon violence" fails. Because those presumably "in charge" must constantly keep the critical mass happy -- even those in max-lockup. The majority must always be persuaded to "pledge allegiance to the flag", to be "law-abiding-citizens".

Most of our contentions here and at other anarchist forums are disagreements over definition. I've observed for many years that the only legitimate governing unit is the family unit. All others are interlopers. There is no such thing as "jurisdiction" that I don't voluntarily hand to those proclaiming such.

Of course I always believe a man with a loaded gun. Sam