To “pacify tensions” brought about by cops killing unarmed people, we’re instructing teens to become docile subhumans who should only respond to the presence of law enforcement in the manner law enforcement prefers. That’s the gist of the Community Safety Education Act Instructor’s Guide [PDF], which not only tells people to remain suitably cowed during traffic stops, but also gets the law wrong.The problems with the instruction manual (and the law… and required course itself…) begin at the beginning, in the “Tips for Educators.” The guide says instructors should remind students of their rights, as well as warn them that exercising them could get them killed.
Something’s very wrong with Albuquerque-area law enforcement. The Albuquerque Police Department has been described as a “criminal enterprise.” These words didn’t come from an activist group or an enraged op-ed in the local paper, but rather from a departing District Attorney in a letter to the DOJ.The DOJ is at least partially aware of the Albuquerque PD’s criminal activities. Its 2014 investigation concluded APD officers routinely engaged in indiscriminate force deployment. Worse, those above the officers did almost nothing to curb misconduct and brutality. Beyond shooting citizens at an alarming rate, APD officers were found to be tampering with camera footage — an accusation brought by a private employee of the department in an affidavit presented to a judge.
Jury to be asked to consider self-defense in secretly recorded shooting.
on Wednesdsay, it was announced that a settlement has been reached in which law enforcement officers will receive more training. While the official details of the settlement were “confidential,” the Huffington Post got a copy of the settlement using a FOIA request and found some interesting details, including an agreement that none of the four journalists in question will “publicize” the agreement in any way
Ten years ago today, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, police gunned down two black families on Danziger Bridge. A new book by Ronnie Greene tells their story.
Section 38.15 of the Texas Penal Code makes it an offense to interrupt, disrupt, impede, or otherwise interfere with “public duties,” including those being exercised by a police officer. That’s the law pretty much everywhere, of course, but the question that has arisen in recent years is whether you are “interfering” (etc.) with a police officer just because you are recording what he or she is doing.
Actually, that’s not a serious question, it’s just something bad cops say because they don’t want to be recorded. The argument boils down to, “I had to stop what I was doing and come over and kick your ass because you were recording me, and you therefore interrupted my exercise of a public duty.” It’s a hilariously bad argument that way too many officers have gotten away with.
The Texas statute doesn’t say anything specific about recording, although it does say a person can’t be prosecuted if the interfering acts “consisted of speech only.” That would probably also cover “expressive conduct” (i.e., the middle finger) which also counts as speech under the First Amendment, but what about recording? Yes, say courts who don’t hate freedom, that’s protected too because it is “fundamental and virtually self-evident” that the reason for the recording is so you have proof when you tell somebody what happened. It is therefore unconstitutional to punish someone for doing that, whether via criminal prosecution or the more expedited procedure of just shooting them.
Okay, now along comes Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) with H.B. 2918. This bill would amend section 38.15 to expressly include within the definition of “interference” the conduct of “filming, recording, photographing, or documenting the officer within 25 feet of the officer,” or doing so “within 100 feet of the officer” if you are also carrying a concealed handgun.
Of course, the officer is always going to be “within 25 feet of the officer,” but let’s assume he meant to say that the person doing the filming must stay more than 25 feet away. (The 100-foot distinction makes no sense to me either, but let’s set that aside.) Villalba says the provision is only meant to provide a buffer zone—or as he insists on putting it, a “halo”—around police officers so they can do their jobs without interference. But the law already precludes actualinterference, so this provision adds nothing in that sense. And by legally defining any recording within 25 feet as “interference,” it plainly authorizes police to arrest anyone who’s doing that, whether they are actuallyinterfering or not.
“At the time officer Mearkle fires both rounds from her pistol, the video clearly depicts Kassick lying on the snow covered lawn with his face toward the ground. Furthermore, at the time the rounds are fired nothing can be seen in either of Kassick’s hands, nor does he point or direct anything toward Officer Mearkle,” the affidavit said.