California Cops Can Kill You Simply Because They “Feel” Like It

California has just passed a law that was originally intended to reduce the likelihood of police shootings of civilians. But it still allows policemen to assess whether or not to kill you based on their “feelings,” whatever that means.

9 thoughts on “California Cops Can Kill You Simply Because They “Feel” Like It

  1. Can you imagine the outcry, Ted, if such a law were to be passed in, say, Hong Kong ? Nobody who reads newspapers, listens to the radio or watches TV would be unaware of this outrage. I must confess that despite being a heavy consumer of news via internet journals and an avid radio listener (I don’t have a TV) , I hadn’t heard about this California law. Can you provide a link ?…

    Henri

  2. Presumably “feels” includes the eventual corpse, when previously animated, having reminded the “well-trained” law enforcement officer of a scary villain in a comic book. (See Michael Brown, Ferguson, Mo.)

  3. Good God Almighty, I love Ted Rall’s columns. They plant seeds in my mind. This one makes the points it makes, and they’re good ones. But then other points emerge from mulling the strip over.

    We read about cops being able to “defend” themselves to the point of murder simply by explaining via saying “I feel,” and we are horrified at the potential for abuse. The cops, of course, almost never admit to one of their own transgressing the boundaries of civilized behavior. (Once in a great while, a cop does something so obscenely egregious or on a video recording that even the BlueNoMatterWho police cannot look past it.) But even in those cases, we can expect the show of force for the jury when an entire court room is filled to standing room by armed, uniformed cops. Sure, the jury members can decide as they see fit, and spend the rest of their lives wondering when the cops are going to pull them over and find a couple of kilos of heroin and a stack of kiddie porn in the trunk of the car.

    But the cop-mentality involved here is that of self-anointed superiority: “We’re the cops. We don’t make mistakes,. You don’t understand because you aren’t a cop, and unless you’re going to kneel before us and lick our boots in gratitude, you have no business opening your Commie mouth.” The same thing goes on in many groups: the military–especially those heroes who tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib–comes to mind.

    However (and here’s where the strip led me after a little mulling) the same is true of many of the hyperleft. Twitter is filled with hysterics (and contrary to popular belief, men can be just as “hysteric” as women) who have determined exactly what is and is not doctrinaire, and if you transgress, they find you guilty then hold the show trial, while other bullies stand around, cloaking themselves in jargon about justice and equality and respect, and pile on too.

    Bad cops ruin lives. So do the people screaming either “Believe the victim every single time and don’t even wait for the examination of the evidence” or “Hey, I speak for my entire group, and if you don’t fall into line, I’ll brand you unmutual.” I think we should all be just as scared of the latter group of out-of-control Twitter warriors and social justice bullies as we are of the former group of armed thugs.

    • «I think we should all be just as scared of the latter group of out-of-control Twitter warriors and social justice bullies as we are of the former group of armed thugs.» I’m not so sure, Alex. Personally, I’m far more scared of people who both have the power to do me ill and acknowledge the will to do so, than those who merely mouth off on Twitter. But then again, perhaps I’m not keeping up with modernity….

      Henri

      • “Personally, I’m far more scared of people who both have the power to do me ill and acknowledge the will to do so, than those who merely mouth off on Twitter. But then again, perhaps I’m not keeping up with modernity….”

        Although the methods for “justice” when wronged by the cops are few and far between, a system does exist. It works badly (just ask Ted), but you have procedures for what to do, how to do it, where to do it, when you are wronged. There are evidentiary standards. Testimony can be compelled. The other side can be forced to retract and compensate you.

        On social media? If you DON’T respond, you are tried anyway, and your silence is held up as proof of guilt (not evidence, proof). If you DO respond, you are often dismissed out of hand because you must be a liar as you’re guilty anyway (begging the question). If you try to present a refutation or an argument of any kind, it’s like throwing gasoline on a tire fire.

        Law school/police departments/governmental agencies usually have filters that isolate and eliminate various people from consideration for positions (not always). The Internet has no such system at all. There is, literally, no requirement for logical/critical thinking of any kind. The anti-vaxxer movement’s been around since at least the early 1980s. It took social media to elevate a bunch of isolated kooks to a public health menace.

        Henri, I think you’re wrong to not be terrified of the social media bullies. A cop, even a bad cop, can usually be handled via the use of a few easily used rituals: “I’m sorry officer. Yes sir. No sir. Yes sir.” Twitter? Nope. It’s like the Inquisition. Even a complete confession followed by self-scouring with a whip isn’t sufficient. It’s like what the Amsterdam Sephardic Jews did to Spinoza when they excommunicated him in perpetuity and made it so that the edict could never be countermanded.

        (And in other, Internet-related news: this Hitler guy, no one will remember him in six months…)

    • I read about a black man who shot policemen at his front door and was found innocent at his trial.

      The key information was that the police were wearing their after-hours uniforms consisting of white hoods and sheets.

      That was information that somehow never made it into the original incident report.

      • That’s a solid point, bringing our score up to … uh, one.

        I recently read about some rural deputy who shot someone for talking back to him. Seems nobody ever told him he wasn’t allowed to shoot anyone he felt like.

        Don’t they cover that in cop school? Always carry a weapon you can place in the perp’s rapidly-cooling hand?

      • Sandra Bland was forced out of her car for not properly signalling before pulling off the road and then arrested after questioning why she had to put out her cigarette.

        No, the cop didn’t kill her but she was found dead in her cell three days after her arrest.

        A black man has no rights a white man was bound to recognize, the Tanner Supreme Court decided.

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