Saturday, November 28, 2009

Police Oversight in Gainesville, FL and Pueblo, CO

Where It Is Happening

11/25/09 Gainesville wants Citizen Review but is already opting out of any authority.
Read Article.

Gainesville, FL, you are taking a far too passive role in this challenge. It just can’t be done that way. Cops only remember one thing that is taught them at the Academy: “Win”. Their definition of that word is a twisted psychological mess, to be sure, because it never includes equality or accountability for mistakes they make, which are numerous. Those who only know “winning” only know cheating. Nobody like that will EVER listen to suggestions on police oversight.

Chief Tony Jones says he wants a CRB? Does the phrase “stall tactic” apply here? I hope for the best from Chief Jones, but he has the reputations of thousands of cops before him to overcome. Gainesville, go big or go home. You MUST demand full authority over police department findings, files and decisions if you expect to regulate police behavior. You will simply be shunted off and ignored if you don’t. Get the backing from the citizenry and leverage it. Otherwise, it will be an exercise in frustration.

11/23/09 Police claim CRB unnecessary because safeguards already exist Read Article

Pueblo CO police still hold fast to the old, worn out line that a review board exists within the police department already, so we citizens can just hush, and not worry our pretty little heads about it. Chief Jim Billings, how many police chiefs out there think this canard will still work? The “We are your government. Trust us” method went out with Richard Nixon. Please Pueblo, don’t fall for it. Internal Affairs is a fa├žade, and I assume IA is what chief Billings thinks is a civilian review. Citizens need their own. As always, if you actually like what you have now, stay with it, but if you want a change, you need to think outside the police box to find it.

Kristi Martinez, representing the Pueblo Human Relations Commission said,

"This process should be done within the context of what the community wants to accomplish with its review board".

Great idea! But will you accomplish that? Ms Martinez, don’t cave in at the final meeting. Chief Billings has made his stance clear, and you have to make the citizen’s position equally clear. Don’t lose sight of who pays their salaries, and don’t let Chief Billings forget either. Solicit info from your locals and keep track of it. Do what your citizens want, not what police tell you.

And Where It Is Needed

11/26/09---Vermont police settle after tasing an epileptic for resisting arrest Read Article

Is this story civilian oversight material or what? Not just because the victim was terribly wronged, but because the cops paid him to shut up so they can continue to claim “No Wrongdoing”. Thanks to Excited-Delirium for the heads up on this one.

E-D is the place to go for Taser crimes. Anything you need to know about the wonderful world of Tasers and how they affect the mere mortal is there to be found. He points out a salient element of this case in his comments. E-D says:

“Personally, I'd suggest that the amount of the settlement be adjusted to account for the lack of an explicit apology. Denial of wrong doing should be a very expensive option.”

Speaking for myself only, I would not pass up the$40K, but if it was hush-money, the citizens need to review it. Cops love to drive wedges, and this one is between the victim and the citizenry. Offer a guy a pay-off in bad economic times and he will forget how he just got used and abused. OK, but a citizen’s panel should approve it, for the very reason E-D describes. Cops need to start admitting wrong-doing when such things occur, and a financial deterrent is one of the few things cops understand. Going with the $40K base, a “no wrong-doing” declaration should up the payment by 2 or 3 times. Just like a speeding ticket, where the first one costs $x, the second $2x and so on, it is only fair and equal thinking to charge the police for their wrongdoing accordingly. This is a real meat-and-potatoes issue for a citizen review board anywhere in America. I hope it catches on somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link. I'm going to add a link to this post from the related post on my blog. My blog now has more than 1400 posts all about tasers. I've made some very interesting findings along the way. Cheers. (don't forget the dash!)