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View Diary: Berkeley PD kills Transgender woman- Investigates self (14 comments)

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  •  Decades ago, the spouse, a college teacher of (6+ / 0-)

    English, offered to provide brush-up instruction to the police department to improve the accuracy of their officer's reports (and make them more likely to be useful in court). This offer of free instruction was rejected. Since the lingo employed is everywhere the same, I have decided that's how the police academies teach them to write. Among other things, if a case goes to court, it requires many hours of officer time on the clock during which they have an opportunity to socialize out in the hall and bitch about how court appearances are such a waste of time. I've been there, as a lone court watcher, and heard them. Then, if they are called to the stand to explain themselves, the lawyers are merely interested in the written word being consistent with statements given (under oath) on the stand, because, given the officer's qualified immunity (he is immune from liability because he's been qualified as an officer of the law and a witness for the court), his testimony is doubly certified. The truth has no chance.
    There are good reasons for lawyers to avoid trials. The system has been set up to punish whoever has the temerity to insist on a trial. Think of a pedestrian stepping into the roadway.

    As I've said before, our agents of law enforcement are granted immunity from negative consequences in exchange for obeying their superiors and doing what they are told, regardless of an order's moral import. Since this is an abusive situation to be in, the victims, not able to resist their superiors, pass the abusive demand for obedience further down the line to persons whom they perceive as their inferiors. That the citizens govern does not occur to them. Indeed, if they were to consider citizens as their superiors, they would end up serving two masters and that's an impossible situation. Serving the Constitution is supposed to take care of that problem. The problem with that is the Constitution's commitment to human rights was and continues to be aspirational. Indeed, even involuntary servitude is still present as punishment for crime. (Never mind the persistence of the draft and the obligation to register for it). Killing people on purpose is legal, as long as the proper process has been followed. Since putting people to death on purpose is lawful, why punish an accident, a lesser included offense?

    The characteristics of the victim in a particular event have little, if anything, to do with the outcome. The training and supervision of our agents of government are all-important and can't be affected on an incident by incident basis. If, for example, we don't want the police using tasers, we have to remove them from the department's budget. If they are recommended by the administrator, it takes a majority vote by the authorizing body to remove them. If we don't want local police to have armoured vehicles, we have to make sure the local council rejects the gift from the Pentagon or Homeland Security. If we want people on local governing councils prepared to make such determinations, then we have to select them on some criterion other than their name, their gender, their jokes, their ease in front of a camera or any other superficial attribute. And, we all have to be prepared to take a turn at holding public office.

    One thing that makes it increasingly difficult for good people to serve is that our educational system no longer prepares our young people to actually speak. Free speech is another right that's honored more in theory than in practice. Teachers no longer have time to listen to students speaking. After all, they've got a curriculum to deliver. Writing, btw, is different from speaking. Just the fear of being tongue tied is enough to shut many people up.
    Recent immigrants, btw, have an advantage in that area. Americans love people who speak with an accent and encourage them to speak up all the time. Speaking English with a foreign accent is a distinct advantage. Look at how far it got Schwartzeneger.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:14:29 AM PDT

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