No Weapon Can Replace Good Police Work: Response to Sheriff Dan Walsh’s Report On Tasers

No Weapon Can Replace Good Police Work: Response to Sheriff Dan Walsh’s Report On Tasers Monday night, February 5, 2007, Sheriff Dan Walsh gave a report on Tasers to the Justice Committee of the Champaign County Board. Sheriff Walsh was on the defensive and at times indignant as he argued that the Taser is a “humane” weapon, even in spite of the discovery that 14-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department William Alan Myers had abused inmates with a Taser in the jail. In November 2003, the Sheriff’s Department purchased Tasers and they went into use a year later. He gave a previous report on Tasers in May 2004 and since his tune has not changed: Tasers are a useful weapon to protect officers and protect citizens. He echoed the Taser manufacturer’s own advertisements, “Tasers Save Lives.” Several members of the community, organized by Chamaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, spoke during the period for public comment at the beginning of the meeting. They included: Belden Fields, Professor Emeritus; Durl Kruse, member of AWARE; Giraldo Rosales, Champaign City Council member; Martel Miller, co-founder of VEYA; and myself. Others opposing Tasers sat with them. There was also a dozen of the Sheriff’s Deputies who were present at the hearing. When I spoke I held up the copy of the News-Gazette article from January 25, 2007 that featured a new experimental “non-lethal” weapon produced by the military. A large color photo showed a military jeep with a large radar on top that fires a ray beam making anyone in its range feel like their skin is on fire. The bold headline read, “Feel the Burn.” I attempted to make the case that the market for such 21st century technology was laid by another “non-lethal” weapon – the Taser. Community members called for an immediate moratorium on Taser use in Champaign County and the formation of an independent study into Tasers and the conditions in the local jail. I cited a precedent for such intervention in Houston, Texas where Taser use has been hotly debated. There was outrage in November 2006, when a lineman for the Houstan Texans was tased during a routine traffic stop. It was also found that 63 percent of Taser victims were African American (the number is 64 percent in Champaign County), and that in 95 percent of incidents, suspects were unarmed. Houston Mayor Bill White, who had previously been a supporter of Tasers, called for an independent investigation. Additionally, several city council members have called for a moratorium on Taser use. An independent investigation is long overdue in Champaign County. Over a two year period, five deaths have occurred in the county jail and the abuse of inmates by Sgt. Myers has been exposed. The Sheriff then gave his presentation, complete with projected video clips, show-and-tell products provided by the prison industrial complex, and expert advice from Deputies who deal with training and recording Taser usage. Walsh began with an anecdotal story from Darlene Dallas, who had spoken in May 2004 at Walsh’s last report to the board. Apparently, no other such supporters of Tasers could be found among the public. Dallas was there to tell her story again. She said she was not a professor, or an expert, she was “just a mom.” But she said she was also there on behalf of officers in the field. While she told her story, she turned and gave angry stares at community members. Dallas was involved in the first incident when a Taser was used in Champaign County. Her ex-husband had come to her house intoxicated and trapped himself in the bedroom with their two children, who were nine and two years old. He had told police, “If you want me you’ll have to go through me.” Police tried to talk to the man for twenty minutes, then resorted to using the Taser, which they had to use twice to subdue the man. Dallas said they could have used guns or billy clubs. Dallas did not address that her ex-husband was unarmed and that the police officers’ lives were not in danger. If her children would have been shot, the cops would have been doing the shooting. Her message was the same as the Sheriff’s: “Tasers save lives.” Sheriff Walsh submitted a 15 page report to the board stating updates in Taser policy. He said the new policy stipulated that Deputies not use a Taser on pregnant women. This was because of the harm that could be caused during the fall – not, he specified because the Taser causes harm to a fetus. A cursory search on the internet suggests otherwise. Most recently, in Wichita, Kansas, a woman had a miscarriage that she says was linked to her being tased. She is suing the city. Walsh gave his own anecdotal story of how he was in Las Vegas vacationing last month and read about Tasers in the local newspaper. A suicidal man had been shot to death by police and one Joe Public was quoted as saying, “Why didn’t the police use a Taser?” Another question might be, “Where have all the public monies gone for mental health care?” County Board members were then shown two video clips projected onto a screen with the help of another Deputy. One showed an defendant who became violent in the courtroom and required several officers to tackle him. Another clip showed a man in a booking area without handcuffs and began swinging at officers. Walsh said a Taser would bring these situations under control “without anybody getting hurt.” The dream is that with Tasers, officers will not even have to touch criminals, that they will have a sanitary situation where they have to do nothing but pull a trigger. Of course, even with a Taser officers are going to have to use some physical force and may have to take a punch. Yet this is what police are paid to do, it goes with the turf. Police are well paid, have benefits, job security, even a powerful union, which is more than can be said of most of working class people, the very same people who often pass through the criminal justice system. Then Walsh showed a video, which looked like it was provided from Taser International, of a woman being shot with a Taser. This was to illustrate how the barbed hooks from a Taser did not significantly penetrate the skin of their target. When he was meeting with the press, I asked Walsh whether the impact is the same at 15 feet or point blank. He did not answer my question. In an interview with Michael Alexander, one of Sgt. Myers’ victims, he gives a bloody account of having the Taser barbs pulled from his skin: “Officer Myers gives a direct order to [Officer] Thompson, take the prongs out of him. Officer Thompson comes in and he’s slowly picking, trying to take the taser little thingys up out of my chest, but I was so close range that it was like stuck. I mean, I mean, I felt like it was stuck in my rib cage, man. I’m a little boy guy, so… he was just that close to me and it’s that powerful that it must have went in pretty, pretty far where he couldn’t just snatch them out….. So they had, Officer Thompson couldn’t do it because while he’s trying do it because while he’s trying to pull them out, I’m yelling. I’m like, ahhh, ahhh, that hurts, so Myers like, man, you just got to snatch them out, man, you just got to snatch them. So I said, no, I prefer for Officer Winters to take them out. I was like, Winters, man, I’m, I’m just holding on to you, man. Just snatch them out, just snatch them out. It hurts like fuck. Officer Winters snatches them out. I get to bleeding all over the place.” This account is partially confirmed in a police report by Officer Winters written on November 12, 2005: “Resident Alexander took a step toward the door, Sgt. Myers opened the door and fired the Taser into the cell 1A26 with out warning and struck Resident Alexander in the torso area. Once Resident Alexander fell to the ground Sgt. Myers told him to put his hands behind his back. This R/O placed handcuffs on resident Alexander. This R/O then removed the probes from Resident Alexander, and escorted him to booking […]. While in Cell H-1 I cleaned Resident Alexander and bandaged up the marks on his torso.” Another one of Sgt. Myers’ victims, Trina Fairley, was examined by a nurse in a written report titled, “County Jail Medical Progress Notes,” and dated November 22, 2005. Fairley was tasered on September 19, 2005, two months earlier. The report includes drawings of an infected scar one centimeter wide and reads: “There is a scar left breast from when she was tasered. There is no pain at this time. Scar seen on side of left breast the shape of a circle. Lump left scab present. Sign of infection seen. Appears to be a scar from an injury.” The video shown by Sheriff Walsh claimed there was no deep penetration from Tasers. Next, Walsh brought up Sgt. Brian Mennenga, who is responsible for Taser reports and records. Mennenga explained how Deputies are trained for a week, have experience firing Tasers, and learn how to deal with mentally challenged. He gave two more anecdotal stories when a Taser was used and concluded, “Nobody’s hurt. Everybody goes home safely.” Mennenga had checked out a Taser to Myers the night he abused Ray Hsieh, the case for which he is being prosecuted. Myers boasted of using the Taser but Mennenga did not second guess if Myers used the Taser unsafely. Mennenga wrote in his report: “At some point during our conversation Sgt. Myers also made a remark similar to ‘it seems like I am the only one with enough balls to use the Taser.’ He also told me that they had to use the Taser on the subject after he had been pepper sprayed. “I did not ask Sgt. Myers the circumstances as to why the subject had to have the Taser used on him and he did not offer that information.” Captain Tim Voges gave two examples from incidents that occurred before November 2004, when the Sheriff’s Department started using Tasers. He ended by saying that Tasers make police work safe for officers and citizens. “We’re not the cowboys,” Walsh began his speech. He downplayed accounts that Tasers has caused deaths. He pointed Amnesty International who claims that 230 people have died from Tasers since 2001 and said that’s “Nowhere near the number.” How many should die before Tasers are believed to be lethal weapons? Walsh defended himself, eschewing community members who, he says, don’t like the way the investigation was done and thought he was covering things up. He said if this happened to him, apparently talking about what Myers did to several inmates, he would go to lawyers and doctors to file a law suit. In fact, that’s just what Michael Rich did. Rich was Myers’ first Taser victim on November 6, 2004. According to Rich, he filed a complaint the day he was released and went to see a Dr. Goldstein in northern Chicago. He also had a conversation with local attorney Michael McLellan. Rich was considered a civil suit, but trusted that the criminal prosecution would punish Sgt. Myers. On August 25, 2005, Rich finally received a response from his complaint to the Sheriff. A letter from Captain Young, in charge of the jails, determined the force used on Rich was “justified.” Myers was fired four months later. But Rich was never called by the State’s Attorney until November 2006 when the statute of limitations on his civil suit ran out. Charges were never filed against Myers for his abuse of Rich. Walsh reiterated his position on the jail suicides and two other deaths. He also said Champaign County has the best mental health in all Illinois. Although not saying her name, Sheriff Walsh alluded to Sandra Ahten and his willingness to allow her Books to Prisoners project in the County jail. If he was hiding things, he said, he wouldn’t let her in the jail. Of course, the Books to Prisoners library is a terrific volunteer effort, but they provide a free service that should already financially supported by the County. Walsh said that Mr. Myers is “very troubling,” but claimed he could not speak on him because the case was pending. Walsh alleged there were no citizen complaints about Sgt. Myers. This is flatly wrong. Michael Rich, Trina Fairley, and Michael Alexander all filed citizen complaints. At one point when fielding questions from board members, he called me out. “Ask Brian. Don’t you have all the police reports,” he said. Of course, Walsh was not answering any questions from the public that night, especially not from Brian Dolinar. While he would prefer to build a new jail, Walsh said cameras installed in the booking area would be a start. Yet none of Myers’ abuses occurred in the booking area. Walsh said he had ordered cameras that can be attached to the Tasers. The public must instead insist that: NO WEAPON CAN REPLACE GOOD POLICE WORK! For more information see the Sheriff’s investigation in the court file on Myers, 05-CF-2105.

You are so biased it's unbelievable

Although I know you have no credibility because I regularly read your commentaries, anyone who is not familiar with your writing would clearly see the bias and pure contempt you have for law enforcement after reading this article. You lost anyone who has any sense of reason at all when you stated: Of course, even with a Taser officers are going to have to use some physical force and may have to take a punch. Yet this is what police are paid to do, it goes with the turf. Police are well paid, have benefits, job security, even a powerful union, which is more than can be said of most of working class people, the very same people who often pass through the criminal justice system. This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, do you really believe that a police officer's job includes having to "take a punch" every now and then. Heck, if that's the case then I suppose it's okay for them to get shot and killed every once in a while. It just goes with the job, you know...Secondly, you seem to be upset that police officers get benefits and are union members. I would guess that they are happy to be in a union with people like you running around trying to sabotage them at every step. It boggles my mind that an entity like IMC (that is supposedly for democratic principles, pro-union, and the middle/lower class) is so hell-bent on destroying the reputation and livelihood of a group of working class people (i.e. cops). How do you propose it should be? No union, no benefits, low wages, no job security? Maybe every time someone makes an allegation against a cop, that cop should be fired on the spot. Would that make you happy? And I’m guessing that most cops would argue that they don’t get paid enough when dealing with situations that you or I will never have to face. It’s easy to criticize. I could go on and on about how you seem to lack any connection with reality, but what’s the point. I’m sure you’ll come back with some lame retort about how my spelling or punctuation is wrong, or you’ll try to change the subject completely. Do let me make one final comment, though. Let’s look at the two local cases that you so love to bring up over and over, Hjort and Myers. Both lost their jobs, which was probably their only source of income. From what I understand, they both had been employed for several years in that line of work, which makes me believe that they don’t have a lot to fall back on as far as finding other gainful employment (which means no benefits, union protection, etc…). Both men were fired soon after the allegations came to light. From what I read in the newspaper, there was no cover-up and no attempt at all on the county or city’s part to diminish what happened. Both men were prosecuted for what they did. In one case, a totally separate independent prosecutor decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges. In the other, it appears as though he will be found guilty in one form or another. Either way, it seems to me that justice has been (or is in the process of being) served.

your a moron

comercial fisherman get paid to take risks that why cops gert paid.if it werent for risk they would be making the saME AS PEOPLE AT THE DESK AT HEALTH AND WELFARE

I WAS TAZED!!

Iv'e been tazed on numerous occasions while being illegally detained for 240 days(mettie vs idaho) I was released with all charges dropped but still spent 240 days incarcerated ,and still got tazed because im a martial artist and the officer felt he was not trained well enough to deal with me while i was enraged at my poor treatment. My PTSD and and anxiety disorder intensified my feeling of helplessness. I was Tazed FOUR times and each and every time I pulled out those barbs and disarmed my attacker(not enjoyable but if you ground correctly and have enough will power it is doable ...mind i was on many psychoactive drugs that I was being illegally forced to take instead of the meds my doctor prescribed me.) i am rather peacefull being a martial artist and all but with the horrid treatment and personal agendas that permeate law enforcement on EVERY LEVEL i got disgusted. on the 5th and final attempt to taze me prior to being released i used a little intelligence. Get out of the way and deflect at least one probe!!!!both have to stick!!! after the miss it was very simple to grab the probe that is in my chest wrap the wire around my hand and pull. that gave me the ability to take action,use the stun gun as a conventional SG and i lunged for a strike.incapacitating the abuser with his own form of protection by pressing the front plate of his own SG against his exposed throat and hands that were coming up to fight it off. so for the conventional sheep yes it will work but the effectiveness diminishes with the degree of training or physical conditioning one undergoes.
for more info about the corruption in Idaho ada and valley county in specific email me at raziel_61190@hotmail.com

My $.02 worth (after inflation)

I went to the hearing and thought that people from both sides made some valid points and also said some things that didn't make sense to me. Sure, tasers would do less long-term damage than a gun or a billy club, but they can also be used for torture/retaliation, and I find this worrisome. From everything I've heard and read, William Alan Myers sounded like a bully, and I wasn't convinced that the incident that lead to criminal charges was the first time he'd ever abused the taser. But I don't buy the idea of the Sheriff and State's Attorney engaging in a conspiracy either, because that doesn't make sense. If I were to hypothesize about what happened with Myers, I'd guess that he'd been a jerk for a while, but he finally pushed the other deputies too far when he tried to make them falsify their reports to match his own.

Some of the speakers referred to a man's complaint that he'd been brutalized by the Sheriff's deputies and unnecessarily tasered. Walsh responded that if that had happened to him, he would have gotten a lawyer and sued, and he pointed out that the alleged victim had not tried to sue the county. I thought that this was a dizzying leap of logic; for one thing, the guy was poor and powerless, and second, the absence of a lawsuit doesn't prove that something never happened. There were a number of speakers who supported the use of tasers. Most of them presented anecdotes, some more compelling than others. A number of them talked about noncompliant arrestees and said that an arrest would have been safer with a taser. I wondered if the police ever just tried outwaiting people, but nobody talked about this. There were some cases where I thought a taser might be worth considering; e.g., a mentally unbalanced person who's trying to commit suicide by cop.

Walsh introduced "taser-cams," which seemed like a good idea. They're cameras that attach to tasers and apparently start recording whenever the device is turned on. He also said that a working camera system in the jail could improve safety and accountability, which also made sense. Probably the most interesting point he made was that there was a need for better approach for caring for the mentally ill; the jail had to deal with many of them, but it really wasn't equipped to do this.

(Note: this was also posted to IlliniPundit at http://www.illinipundit.com/2007/02/06/tasers-in-county-jails)

"Taking a punch"

This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, do you really believe that a police officer's job includes having to "take a punch" every now and then. Heck, if that's the case then I suppose it's okay for them to get shot and killed every once in a while. It just goes with the job, you know...Secondly, you seem to be upset that police officers get benefits and are union members. I would guess that they are happy to be in a union with people like you running around trying to sabotage them at every step. It boggles my mind that an entity like IMC (that is supposedly for democratic principles, pro-union, and the middle/lower class) is so hell-bent on destroying the reputation and livelihood of a group of working class people (i.e. cops). How do you propose it should be? No union, no benefits, low wages, no job security? Maybe every time someone makes an allegation against a cop, that cop should be fired on the spot. Would that make you happy? And I’m guessing that most cops would argue that they don’t get paid enough when dealing with situations that you or I will never have to face. It’s easy to criticize.

I agree that the idea of expecting police officers to be human punching bags is appalling. Most of the people who read UCIMC, including the police, probably would not agree with the idea that protesters may may have to "take a punch" occasionally. Why would it be OK for cops to be physically attacked?

As far as the pay and benefits, it does not seem unreasonable that police should belong to a union and get decent salary and benefits. UCIMC generally does support unions, and I don't see why the police union should be an exception. One interesting story related to a very poorly-paid police force is the saga of Antoinette Frank (former New Orleans cop who's now on death row). She's mentioned in an interesting UN report at http://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/publications/core_factors.pdf .

Cops and Justice

To Annonymous who believes all is well in the justice system since Hjort and Myers lost their jobs: Since when is losing your job the penalty for rape and torture? Everyone else has to go through being charged, tried and sent to jail. What makes police officers different?

Myers

To Annonymous who believes all is well in the justice system since Hjort and Myers lost their jobs: Since when is losing your job the penalty for rape and torture? Everyone else has to go through being charged, tried and sent to jail. What makes police officers different? Myers is currently facing felony charges. He also lost his job. As far as Hjort, the case was handed to a special prosecutor (Dedman), who declined to press charges. I'm not sure why Dedman made the decision he did; it seemed like Hjort could have at least been charged with misusing the county database, since he apparently even admitted it. BTW, someone I know was sexually assaulted recently. They're not optimistic about finding the attacker. So I only wish it were true that "everyone else has to go through being charged, tried and sent to jail."

Taser Chase Ends in Suspect's Death

BD: "The dream is that with Tasers, officers will not even have to touch criminals, that they will have a sanitary situation where they have to do nothing but pull a trigger." According to a recent News-Gazette article, this isn't what happened in Vermillion County. See my description below. There was a case recently in Vermillion County in which a suspect was tased several times by a cop or sheriff's deputy. This had little effect on the suspect, who proceeded to run off, with the cop/deputy following close behind. Then, the suspect tripped over a fence that was 4-ft. tall and fell to the ground. The pursuing cop/deputy also tripped over the same fence and fell on top of the suspect. The suspect then died from cardiac failure. An inquest into the cause of death came to the conclusion that the suspect died because of an injury to his heart that was caused by the fence. Therefore, neither the cop/deputy nor the taser was considered responsible for the suspect's death. I find this conclusion unconvincing, however, because this fence wasn't tall enough to cause an injury near the suspect's heart. It seems more likely that the cop/deputy caused the the suspect's death when he fell on top of the suspect. It also possible that the cardiac failure was a response to being tasered several times. Whatever the cause of death, the availability of a taser did not impeed the attempted escape of this suspect, nor did it prevent his death. One can conclude from this case that tasers may not promote the level of safety that is often imagined. jh

I agree....sort of

I tentatively agree with you that tasers are not the end all be all when it comes to using them to deal with combative subjects or subjects who resist. I don't think anyone who promotes tasers would try to tell you that they are, either. They are just another tool that a police officer can use and like any tool, they are subject to not working as intended. However, I would caution you against making such quick judgments on things that I'm guessing you know very little about (the Vermillion County case). I'm not trying to be rude, but I find it somewhat troubling that you can be so quick to jump to conclusions as to what happened based on nothing more than a few observations gleamed from some newspaper articles. I'm also familiar with the case, but I bet we both got our information from the same place (newspapers/television). While this is somewhat informative, it does not even come close to taking the place of a thorough investigation. I suppose that this is one of my biggest issues with most postings on this site. Too many people try to make claims pertaining to specific incidents when in reality, they were never there and don't really have any true idea about what may have happened. It's ok to discuss ideas and concepts, even local current events, but when we try to take on the role of investigator based on what we may have read or heard, it's really not very convincing.

Myers Is Being Charged? Really?

Wayward, Sorry about your friend. Hope the guy is found. And with that consideration in mind, have you read what Sgt. Myers did to Michael Rich, Trina Fairley, Michael Alexander, and Ray Hsieh? And if you have read the accounts of how he tortured these people, would you consider it, as it is currently being charged, a misdemeanor battery? Both Hjort and Myers easily qualify for Class 3 felony charges of Official Misconduct. Why weren't those pursued? I've heard it said that if the State's Attorney were to start charging Official Misconduct everytime a police officer is misusing the METCAD, LEADS, or ARMS systems to look up people's personal information for their personal use, we would have 10 cases a week. Most people would not believe that to be happening however. Point should be made too that it's not important that Myers or Hjort go to jail for what they did. (Though there are hundreds of families in this county who are awaiting their loved ones to return from long prison sentences for drug crimes that might find the lack of jail time for the violence perpetrated by these police officers a bit offensive) If jail time were to send a message to other officers not to do this, perhaps jail time it should be then. But what's disturbing in both cases is the way law enforcement is not willing to expose the truth about these cases by going to trial. Instead we are witnessing a series of back room deals to keep everything under wraps and prosecute as little as possible to avoid expensive lawsuits. Rietz' charging decisions of Myers is driven by the potential civil liability this could create for the county. On November 21, 2006 Judge Harry Clem read aloud in open court that Myers would be allowed to plead guilty to one count of felony disorderly conduct for lying to his supervisors and all charges of the violence, the charges of falsifying police reports, coersion of subordinate officers to falsify their police reports would have been dropped. If it weren't for public pressure, and a legal technical glitch the case would have been resolved exactly that way. That's why it is inappropriate, almost unethical, for the state's attorney's office to be prosecuting police officers. The State's Attorney's office by state statute is responsible for defending the county in such matters. (Check the State's Attorney's Job Duties on the County Website if you need to) Appellate Judge Robert Steigmann even said on WDWS radio that never should a state's attorney be allowed to prosecute an officer for that very reason.

Oh I forgot

I forgot, Myers isn't being charged for what he did against Michael Rich, Trina Fairley, and Michael Alexander. Why is that? How does BD know what happened to these people and the State's Attorney does not? That seems odd.

Did you ever think that the

Did you ever think that the State's Attorney knows what happened to the three above mentioned people but refuses to file charges in those incidents because they all occurred and were reported before the Ray Hsieh incident? Wouldn't look to good for the sheriff if it came to light that he knew about allegations of abuse by Sgt. Myers and did nothing about, would it?

How bout that

Someone besides BD must have read the Myers report - 05-CF-2105 - imagine that??? What distinguishes between a pundit and an investigative journalist??? The proof is in the pudding. BD

Response to I Agree . . . Sort Of

Yes, I'm quite aware of the importance of a thorough investigation of the available evidence. However, it is neither practical nor necessary to suspend judgment unless one has access to such an investigation. People form opinions all of the time on the basis of incomplete evidence, and in fact it is not possible to function in this world without such opinions. It should be implicitly understood that such opinions are tentative and can be revised upon the availability of better evidence. I see no reason to question the validity of the factual evidence that was presented in the newspaper article. However, the conclusion that was derived from this evidence, namely that the fence was the cause of cardiac failure, is not immediately obvious, considering that the fence was low enough to "trip over." Any fence that can cause damage in the region of the heart in the upper chest would be too tall to trip over, it seems to me; instead, both the suspect and the deputy would have bounced back from the fence (or crashed through it) on impact. This is what common sense suggests, anyways. Basically, you are making an appeal to authority without bothering to provide any evidence that would contradict my assertions. Considering the nature of the criminal justice system and its known biases in favor of the police, I consider this a rather hollow argument.

Response to response

I interpreted the phrase "caused by the fence" to mean that the injury was caused by the fall over the fence, not the fence itself. I tend to be skeptical of the so-called "taser-related" deaths anyway. There is a widely recognized axiom in the realm of logic, decribing a flaw in reasoning that roughly translates as "after the fact therefore because of the fact." (I forget the latin phrase......it's been a long time since college!) Example: "Nearly all serial killers ate bread as a child...therefore eating bread makes you a serial killer." Anyway, in a lot of cases, you have a grown man who probably hasn't done a push up in 25 years, is 30 pounds over weight and who is frequently a drug abuser and often under the influence of drugs at the time. (No, Brian not the police officer!) This man suddenly finds himself in a protracted physical fight with several police officers, is pepper sprayed and finally tasered and soon thereafter, suffers a heart attack and dies. Taser related death?? Maybe, maybe not. It could just as easily been a combination of the other factors. Why aren't the thousands of police officers tasered during training every year dropping like flies? The Taser may not be the "be all end all" of force alternatives but I have personally read case histories where they were used sucessfully when the only other alternative would have been deadly force. Any weapon can be abused, the solution is to have competent and trustworthy police officers. When they prove themselves not to be, I agree that they should be prosecuted just like anyone else. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

The Latin Term and a Point of Order

I think you're searching for the term "ipso facto." See: http://www.lectlaw.com/def/i072.htm But if you're going to get into that sort of criticism of BD, who admittedly could be a bit more circumspect with his conclusions at times, you neglect the piece of lumber in thine own eye. For instance, Ishmael (presumably because you've gone off hunting whales for the Right with Capt. Ahab Limbaugh or something), you have the following statement as part of your critique: "Any weapon can be abused, the solution is to have competent and trustworthy police officers." Now, maybe you're just trying to be subtly satirical, but this is usually not the forte of trolls around here. More likely, you have fallen into a bit of an "ipso facto" faux pas of your own. I'm not one to automatically distrust cops. I have had and still have relatives in a variety of law enforcement positions. But just because you have a badge, does not make you an honest person, let alone competent. Police earn the citizenry's trust by how they conduct themselves, just like the state's attorney does. This site and much of the discourse you find on it exists, in part at least, because the community does NOT trust the local justice system for a number of very good reasons. Local law enforcement has largely lost the trust of significant parts of our community. This is a tragedy in itself, but it also doesn't help make the job of the honest people in the system any easier. But don't shoot the messenger every time you get a chance, when you dump on those asking for accountability for structures that have largely been immune to it for too long for their own good. So when you waltz in the door and makes such outrageous claims like one that assumes any armed officer should be considered "competent and trustworthy" you're just asking to have your hat handed to you. Nothing ipso facto about that. Your assumption that the police are to be granted such automatic, positive assumptions about their character is simply not warranted.

Post hoc

Actually, what Ishmael was describing sounds a lot more like the post hoc fallacy. See http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/post-hoc.html . I'm not sure that Captain Ahab and Rush Limbaugh have much in common, other than being less-than-likeable characters. If nothing else, Ahab seems to have far more capacity for self-denial than Rush.

Where did Ishmael make "outrageous claims?" He didn't say that every armed officer should automatically be considered "competent and trustworthy"; rather he was saying that armed officers should be "competent and trustworthy."

Thank you Wayward....

That was indeed the phrase my alleged brain was trying to recall... As I said before college was a long time ago... How does that phrase go "If you can remember the '70's you weren't there." "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

unarmed victims

The claim is often that Tasers are used instead of deadly force, aka a gun. Yet 90 percent of Tasers victims are unarmed. And police officers do not have authority to gun down an unarmed man BD

By the way Brian

Leaving alone for the moment that I suspect your source for this statistic is probably some organization with an agenda, "unarmed" does not mean "harmless." You expertly asserted..... "And police officers do not have authority to gun down an unarmed man" Oh really? Let's say that you, Officer Dolinar (picture that one!) are on a prowler call by yourself when you are suddenly confronted by a very large and angry man. Let's say this person is 6'5" and over 350 pounds and is on PCP. This person knocks you to the ground and jumps on top of you and begins striking you in the face before clasping his hands around your throat and choking you. You feel yourself beginning to black out. No matter what you try, you cannot get this guy off of you. Guess what professor? You would be completely justified in shooting this "unarmed" man in order to save your own life. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Latin phrases

Assuming that today is Latin phrase day, I think another useful one is "ipse dixit." :) http://www.answers.com/topic/ipse-dixit

Mr Anonymous...you may want to read it again

Nowhere in my posting did I make the "outrageous claim" that any armed offer (as opposed to an unarmed one?) should be considered competent and trustworthy. I said the solution is to have comptetent and trustworthy police officers. Are you maintaining that we, as a society, don't want our police officers to be competent and trustworthy? Or are you taking the BD route by asserting that there is no such thing? If you can read what I wrote and take from it "all cops are honerable" either your reading skills are terribly lacking or you scanned the posting through the prism of your own biases regarding law enforcement officers (like they're some type of monloythic entity). Either way, you do yourself and the readers on this board a disservice, Mr Anonymous. My point was (and is) simply that any type of weapon can be abused by a dishonorable person. Ergo, the greater interest of society is served by doing everything that we can to ensure that positions of authority are not filled by those who would abuse that authority. Hardly a conroversial stand?!? My Father once told me that when your opponent in a debate falls to name-calling (troll....right-wing whaler? ha ha) that you've already won your argument. Meaning no disrespect to his memory, I decided to answer in any case. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

indeed

Indeed, there is a range of violent reactions to the police but when it comes to protecting the right to use Tasers the most extreme examples are given. The rationale is wouldn't you rather be tased than shot to death? But by the Sheriff's own record (is that credible enough for Ishmael?) such as the 30 page report given to the County Board last week there are no incidents described where a suspect wielded a gun. One man had a stick. And then I'm accused of being an extremist. BD

Response to Ishmael

Ishmael: "I interpreted the phrase 'caused by the fence' to mean that the injury was caused by the fall over the fence, not the fence itself." Then the article should have stated that the fatal injury was caused by "the fall over the fence." This would have made its content more clear. Clear writing is important! ------------------------------------- Ishmael: "I tend to be skeptical of the so-called "taser-related" deaths anyway. There is a widely recognized axiom in the realm of logic, decribing a flaw in reasoning that roughly translates as "after the fact therefore because of the fact." Ishmael: "Example: 'Nearly all serial killers ate bread as a child...therefore eating bread makes you a serial killer.'" This is an inappropriate application of deductive logic: In this case, you can't determine cause of death using it, which requires probabilistic induction from available empirical evidence. I hope people in the criminal justice system understand this basic distinction; if not, then so much the worse for this system. ------------------------------------------- Ishmael: "The Taser may not be the "be all end all" of force alternatives but I have personally read case histories where they were used sucessfully when the only other alternative would have been deadly force." The one-sidedness of this argument doesn't provide sufficient justication for the use of tasers: Tasers can both kill and save people. When tasers are used, some people are going to die (or receive injuries from their use), and if they are not used in some situations it seems likely that some people are going to die (or receive injuries from their non-use). With this kind of reasoning, you wind up with a "calculus" of alleged benefits versus alleged costs. Because this is not easy to calculate, it is unclear whether the use of tasers can be justified using this kind of reasoning. I recall reading an article several years ago in which a police department (not local) attempted to demonstrate the safety of tasers to members of the public and press. This involved one member of the police department tasering another member of the police department in front of reporters and members of the public. The result: the tasered cop fell to the ground, struck his head on the pavement, and was knocked unconscious from a concussion. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. Needless to say, this was an embarassing setback for the police in their attempt to convince the public that tasers are safe. --------------------------- Ishmael: "Anyway, in a lot of cases, you have a grown man who probably hasn't done a push up in 25 years, is 30 pounds over weight and who is frequently a drug abuser and often under the influence of drugs at the time. (No, Brian not the police officer!)" Why not a police officer? Many of them are obviously overweight and they are known to abuse drugs like steroids. There was a study investigating the physical fitness of the police, firefighters, and criminals (possibly convicted felons). Among these 3 groups, it was found that the criminals were in the best physical condition, while the police were in the worst physical condition. I heard this on the radio several years ago. ------------------------------ It should be kept in mind that the safety of tasers and their relative costs/benefits are not the only relevant arguments concerning whether or not they should become available to the police. For example, an argument can be made that tasers should be banned because they are another form of torture; this also applies to pepper spray. Both tasers and pepper spray are extremely unpleasant and/or painful to any person who has been targeted by such weapons, therefore they are both attempts at social control through torture. The same reasoning applies, of course, to the new Pentagon weapon that emits a form of microwave radiation, causing an intense burning sensation on the skin of a targeted person. Another argument against making tasers (and similar weapons) available to the police involves the doctrine of limited government. In other words, providing such weapons to the police provides the government with too much power over its own citizens. When the government acquires too much coercive power over its own citizens, it has a tendency to abuse it. This is amply demonstrated by a consideration of the historical record. jh

JH....I hardly know where to begin. **sigh**

So....I'll try to go alleged point by alleged point..... I.) I agree the article should have been more clear. (I didn't write it) II.) My point was that, very often there are a number of potential contributing factors when a suspect dies after fighting with police. Some people are too quick to make the assumption "Oh, he died after being tased" when a more correct assessment might be "He died after 30 years of sedentary living, smoking, abusing narcotics and alcohol and then, while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol got into a death struggle with the police and was ultimately subdued with a taser." III.) Since when is it "one sided to say 'it may not be the be all and end all.... but..'" That sounds more like two sided to me.... Furthermore your own example actually buttresses the claims of taser advocates. While I agree the "demonstration" was poorly executed, the officer did not die and was not injured by the taser but by the fall. A suspect who falls after being stuck or tackled by the police is no less likely to be injured. IV.) I can't believe you're actually pulling out that "Dollinarism" again about cops being drug abusers but at least it lets the casual reader know wherefrom you speak. And as to YOUR fitness sutdy, of course, if you heard it on the radio it must be true. **ahem** V.) This last one just convinces me that you've completely taken leave of your senses. I certainly hope that you possess the intelect to understand the difference between the application of force to effect an arrest or stop an assault and "social control through torture." If a person breaks into your house and begins stabbing you with a knife and you pick up your lava lamp and crack him over the head, are you trying to socially control him through torture or are you merely trying to survive an attack? Is the woman who uses pepper spray to stop a sexual assault guilty of torture? Really?? If you believe that, I think you and Brian are going to get very lonely in your little universe. Furthermore limiting government (which I am completely in favor of) has very little to do with limiting the intermediate force options available to the police. Limiting their use, absolutely! "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

How Come???

The Moby Dick Fetishist wrote: "My point was that, very often there are a number of potential contributing factors when a suspect dies after fighting with police." What I find inexplicable is that if Joe Public gets in a fight and someone happens to die, they nearly always get brought up on criminal charges. Whereas when cops get in a fight and someone dies, the cops nearly always walk away to fight another day because those mysterious "other causes" get invoked. I'm sure Ishmael will tell us, "Duh, because that's their job." Which proves that he is still missing the point of my earlier comment. Just to make it simple, readers are here because they tend to believe that the "Myers is just a bad apple and he will get thrown out -- trust us the system is working" excuse just doesn't cut it anymore. It's pretty clear to most who read the whole story -- and not the expurgated semi-fiction that the News-Gazette sees fit to print -- that Officer Myers was a serial torturer. It's clear that he got away with this repeatedly. It's clear that he no longer got away with it once others got tired of covering up for him, not the first time he asked, but only after he repeatedly abused prisoners. And now most of this has been swept under the rug, the charges have been watered down, and some sort of plea deal is being offered to spare him -- and not so coincidentally, the county and his supervisors -- more embarassment, not to mention trying to bury the legal liability incurred by the local justice system's ineffective supervision and all too sadly patient tolerance of such brutal abusers. No, my point is that large sectors of the population no longer just trust police officers because they have a badge and that cops must now prove their veracity and credibility just like anyone else. Which is really the way it should be anyway. Unfortunately, this justified skepticism is not shared by the state's attorney, who would do well to clean out the jailhouse and the stationhouse before the next election gets much closer -- but who prefers to make nice with the police when she should be doing her job far more effectively than she has so far. And I don't want to hear that the law limits her in what she can do. She has broad discretion and it has grown tiresome to hear that she is just doing what she has to. That just isn't so. Neither is the myth of the nearly universal "competent and trustworthy" cop or the justice system that "works" for anyone other than itself.

This is what I never

This is what I never understand about you people. You will bitch and moan until you puke, but you never do anything to correct the so-called injustices or problems that are so rampant in our society (at least in your warped minds). And no, standing along the side of the road with cardboard signs and chanting doesn't do anything to correct the 'problem,' it only serves to alienate your group from everyone else. So get a job in law enforcement if you can do it better. Fix it from the inside. Good luck to you, I sure as hell don't want to subject myself to the same kind of crap that police have to put up with on a daily basis.

Please keep up the name calling...

You're just proving my point. The fact is that it IS THEIR JOB to arrest people who break the law. (Are you going to do it?!) I know this will come as a shock to you, but some of those who would be arrested really don't want to be. Especially those who would be facing long prison terms. When a person really feels like they're looking at spending the next twenty or more years of their life behind bars, they will sometimes fight well beyond their physical capabilities. Sometimes this ends badly. Every year we read about seemingly healthy people who suddenly drop dead after shoveling snow. I doubt if you've ever been in a fight, but if you had you'd know that it puts a tremendous strain on your body. Look, I don't support abuse of authority by anyone. Sgt Meyers deserves whatever he gets. Most police departments do everything they can to ensure that they only hire quality candidates. They go through physical and psychological testing, background investigations, polygraphs, etc. No doubt, sometimes bad people slip through. When an officer is found to be guilty of abusing their position they should get nailed. Regarding the "myth of the competent and trustworthy cop," the fact is that most of them are. (I know I'll get flamed for that one) That's why it makes such headlines when one screws up, which is how it should be. However you're right to be skeptical of everyone, regardless of their title, be it Professor, Father, Your Honor, Senator, etc. Blind allegience is a dangerous thing. By the way..... How do you know my name isn't really just Ishmael? "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

The snow

Every year we read about seemingly healthy people who suddenly drop dead after shoveling snow.

Wait, are you trying to imply that the State's Attorney doesn't control the weather?

I'm sure BD and some of the

I'm sure BD and some of the other conspiracy theorists will find a way to blame the SAO for the weather. She is an omnipotent being, capable of doing anything she wants, you know...

FanFic contest

I think maybe we should have a State's Attorney/police fan fiction contest.

Conspiracy theorists? Is it

Conspiracy theorists? Is it that hard to believe that the sheriff and SA are covering this up because THREE people filed complaints against sgt. myers before the ray hsieh incident and I spoke to the sheriff directly and brought this matter to his attention a month before myers went on his rampange? Wouldn't look to good for the sheriff if the people who elected him found out about that, now would it? see next post as i'm sure it will be deleted and wanted to put my 2 cents in.

More sighs for Ishmael

Ishmael: "Some people are too quick to make the assumption "Oh, he died after being tased" when a more correct assessment might be "He died after 30 years of sedentary living, smoking, abusing narcotics and alcohol and then, while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol got into a death struggle with the police and was ultimately subdued with a taser." You're almost implying that if a person has poor health because of a bad lifestyle, then it doesn't make any difference if they're killed by a taser. However, the cause of a person's poor health is irrelevant. If a person in poor health is killed by a taser, then he or she has died prematurely; and his or her death is almost certainly a greater evil than any crime he or she may have committed. I recognize that the police can't reliably predict who will, and who will not, drop dead after being tased -- it's one of the intrinsic dangers of this kind of police work, particularly when it is pursued in an over-zealous manner. ------------------- Ishmael: "Furthermore your own example [of a cop getting a concussion after being tased by another cop] actually buttresses the claims of taser advocates." Well, you're obviously willing to rationalize almost anything in order to reinforce a pre-existing belief. I consider this another example of serious injury resulting from the use of a taser -- -- and thus, this weapon isn't as safe as some of its advocates claim. ------------------- Ishmael: "A suspect who falls after being stuck [sic] or tackled by the police is no less likely to be injured [than from a taser]." Clearly there are some significant risks with these various methods of social control. Perhaps they should be used less often than they are. ------------------- Ishmael: "I can't believe you're actually pulling out that 'Dollinarism' again about cops being drug abusers . . ." I'm not really sure how many, but some cops DO abuse drugs. They also have above-average rates of alcoholism, divorce, and suicide -- I remember reading this somewhere . . . . I suppose these are the consequences of having a high stress job. ------------------- Ishmael:"This last one just convinces me that you've completely taken leave of your senses. I certainly hope that you possess the intelect [sic] to understand the difference between the application of force to effect an arrest or stop an assault and 'social control through torture.'" I haven't taken leave of my senses. The problem here is that pepper spray and the electroshock from tasers are not merely applications of force, but applications of force that cause severe pain/discomfort and possible injury to the targeted person. For this reason, they can be considered forms of torture. Ishmael: "If a person breaks into your house and begins stabbing you with a knife . . ." You're attacking a straw man, therefore this argument is irrelevant. The point is: The police often use tasers and pepper spray when they are NOT confronted with lethal force -- for example, when a suspect is merely fleeing a crime scene. Because of the severe pain/discomfort that these methods of social control cause in non-lethal situations, they can be considered forms of torture.

Anonymous..Am I typing too fast for you??

I.) I'm not "almost implying" anything. I'm simply saying that I suspect that some deaths that people like to attribute to tasers my have other underlying causes. In other words IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE TASER THAT ACTUALLY CAUSED THE DEATH... THE PERSON MAY HAVE DIED EVEN IF THE TASER WASN"T USED.....got it now? If a 40 year-old man can have a heart attack after shovelling his driveway, why can't he have one after a protracted physical fight with the police? It's at least something to consider. II.) It was a serious injury caused by a fall. Yes, the fall was caused by being tased. But people don't fall any softer when they're punched, thrown down or tackled. III.) You could just as easily make that assertion about any occupation. It's just your (and Brian's) attempt to discredit an entire profession. Just like your petty attempts at discrediting me by pointing out two "typos" in my previous posting. Does that make you feel smarter? IV.) The distinction between force and torture is not the device but the reason for its application. Furthermore, your "cop out" (no pun intended) on my two examples just illustrates your inability or unwillingness to defend your position. Surely you're not asserting that these examples I provided don't happen? I can introduce you to people who are only alive today because they used force to save their own lives when they were forced to do so. Again, I ask you, in your alleged mind, are they guilty of torture? I'm sure that the force they used caused pain. In one case, the force used actually killed the assailant. This time, instead of scouring my posting for typos, try reading it. (Unless it makes your lips too tired!) "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Anarchy vs. Police & Prison State

"So get a job in law enforcement if you can do it better. Fix it from the inside. Good luck to you, I sure as hell don't want to subject myself to the same kind of crap that police have to put up with on a daily basis." Or better yet, get rid of the police!

There's a fine piece of thinking!

Maybe we can just go to an honor system. I'm sure all of the rapists, murderers, armed robbers, burglars, child molesters, etc. would just turn themselves in because of a guilty conscience. You know, making inane statements like that might make you feel like that you appear colorful and free-thinking. To anyone who gives the matter any serious thought, you just appear cartoonish and silly. At least it lets readers know the level of your bias and gives them a feel for your loose grip on reality. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Typical republican straw man

Typical republican straw man logic. Set up an idea so ridiculous that it is easy to shoot down. Cops are such ******* Michael Rich

I'm more of a Libertarian actually....

Michael: I'm glad to see that you apparently recognize that eliminating the police is a "ridiculous" idea. However, if someone hangs a curve ball on the inner half of the plate, don't blame me for knocking it into the bleachers! "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Dissecting Ishmael's Propaganda

Ishmael: "IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE TASER THAT ACTUALLY CAUSED THE DEATH... THE PERSON MAY HAVE DIED EVEN IF THE TASER WASN"T USED.....got it now?" The base rate probability of a person dying shortly after being tasered -- but without the taser being involved when there are no other obvious causes -- is so low that we're talking about a death occurring from a miraculous cause. And I don't believe in miracles. Instead, I would see this as an attempt to excuse the reckless behavior of a cop that resulted in a suspect's unnecessary death. Ishmael: "If a 40 year-old man can have a heart attack after shovelling his driveway, why can't he have one after a protracted physical fight with the police?" One can just as easily ask: "If a 40 year-old man can have a heart attack after shovelling his driveway, why can't he have one after being tasered by the police?" As anyone can see, the possibility of death by being tasered doesn't go away in spite of your attempts to spin the facts. -------------------- Ishmael: "You could just as easily make that assertion about any occupation. It's just your (and Brian's) attempt to discredit an entire profession." However, the facts won't necessarily substantiate such assertions about any occupation. I have stated only what I have read about the police elsewhere from credible sources. There is no attempt on my part to discredit an entire profession; I prefer to state the plain facts even when this may ruffle the feathers of other people, as it occasionally does. Ishmael: "Just like your petty attempts at discrediting me by pointing out two "typos" in my previous posting. Does that make you feel smarter?" Look, I don't know who you are. You could be a cop, or maybe not. As for my use of brackets, this is done to make the content of your posts more clear. It's essentially an old academic habit; I'm used to editing content. And so far I have chosen to overlook your own poor attempts at denigration, such as the title of your previous post and other snide remarks. ----------------------- Ishmael: "Surely you're not asserting that these examples I provided don't happen?" They DO happen, but it's still irrelevant to my argument: This is supposed to be a discussion about the use of tasers and similar weapons by the police. The police don't use tasers or pepper spray when they're confronted with lethal force. Instead, they pull out their guns and fire away. The police use tasers or pepper spray when they are confronted with non-lethal force; they also use such weapons while attempting to subdue suspects in non-violent situations (such as the case of an officer chasing a suspect, as described earlier). In these non-lethal and non-violent situations, it is possible to question the moral legitimacy of such tactics, considering that these weapons cause severe pain/discomfort with possible injury or death to the suspect (in other words, torture). Because you have consistently ignored these obvious facts, this can be considered an indication of the weakness of your position. ----------------- Ishmael: "This time, instead of scouring my posting for typos, try reading it. (Unless it makes your lips too tired!)" From such derogatory comments, it is safe to assume that you have little respect for democratic discussion. jh

You act like "non-lethal

You act like "non-lethal force" is a walk in the park. Once again, do it yourself if it's so easy. However, I doubt dealing with someone using "non-lethal force" is as easy as sitting on your ass pondering all of life's problems and coming up with simple solutions. It's essentially an old academic habit; I'm used to editing content. - Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Yet another anecdote

FWIW, here's yet another personal anecdote. For a few years, I went to grade school in a conservative small town outside Springfield. I got in more than my share of trouble, but there was one kid in my fourth grade class, Mike Roof, that the teacher seemed to dislike even more than me. Mike wasn't always the friendliest guy, but I felt a certain gratitude to him nonetheless. One day at noon recess, Mike and another guy got into a fight. When we got back to the classroom, things were ominously quiet, and then the teacher picked up a large paddle with holes drilled in it and took them out in the hall. When they returned, both boys were crying, and I felt a little sick. After that year, I transferred to another school and never saw Mike again. However, some of his exploits did make the paper. One night, he apparently got violent with his SO, and when the cops showed up to arrest him, he also fought them. After that, he got married for a while, but that ended in divorce. According to a news story, he broke into his ex-wife's place, hurt their cat, and sexually assaulted her. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and also meth possession, and is now doing a stretch in IDOC. Anyhow, people could argue that Mike was "unarmed," but I'd still suspect that arresting someone with drug problems and a propensity towards violence could get pretty unpleasant. OK, imagine Mike was assaulting you, your wife, your sister, your daughter .... Would you still object to the police using less-lethal force to subdue him?

Propaganda?

Referring to people's opinions as "propaganda" just because you don't agree with them seems intellectually dishonest. Dictionary.com provides one definition of "propaganda" as "information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc." Ishmael's posts to UCIMC don't really satisfy this definition.

They DO happen, but it's still irrelevant to my argument: This is supposed to be a discussion about the use of tasers and similar weapons by the police.

Ishmael's examples didn't support your argument, but I don't think that makes them irrelevant.

From such derogatory comments, it is safe to assume that you have little respect for democratic discussion.

Funny, some of the responses to Ishmael didn't exactly epitomize civility either.

Why the Charge of Propaganda Can be Legit

1. If Ishmael just wants to read articles that assume the local justice system is doing a generally fine job, then Ishmael should subscribe to the News-Gazette. It is hardly news or worthy of comment that a number of people in this community believe this fiction. Indymedia is here to represent and provide resources to those who may differ with that very conventional wisdom. Ishmael should not be too surprised, and may even be coming here intentionally, to provoke reactions among a group of people who generally disagree with him. Some of these reactions may even be uncivil, but I suspect Ishmael knows and expects that, which may be why he visits. 2. It is not a "Dollinarism" to claim that cops have some significant drug abuse problems. IIRC, one of the sources cited previously on this topic was from the DEA. Now, the DEA spends far more time chasing drugs in minority communities, just like local law enforecement, than it does in pursuing drug-abusing cops, even when it knoes they have systemic drug abuse problems. But this does not mean that the DEA's intelligence on this is faulty or inaccurate. 3. Ishmael wrote: "It's just your (and Brian's) attempt to discredit an entire profession." I don't think it is Brian's intent to "discredit an entire profession." After all, people like Officer Hjort and Sgt. Myers do that. We all know there are good cops out there, but we also know -- and there's plenty of evidence for -- the fact that there are also far more bad cops out there than ever get dragged into court. What Brian's argument is is that the system is corrupt, because cases involving law enforcement officers are treated with kid gloves, while the justice system is still running a revolving door between communities of color and the prison system. Those who've noted that there is plenty, if not more drug abuse, among white folks have statistics running back to the 1960s to back them up. Yet the prison system is full of minorities. The standard excuses that the system is somehow working simply don't hold up. Why is it that conservatives are all for performance and outcome based metrics when it comes to such things as public schools -- but not private or religious schools -- and NEVER for law enforcement? There is no really good answer for that except that the criminal justice system is corrupt and systematically targeted against minority populations. Finally, why are paramilitary organizations, like the police, in the United States so resistant to civilian oversight? After all, -- and I hate to use this example, because it only proves that even where there is civilian oversight, it can be abused and prove insufficient against political manipulation -- even the Pentagon NEVER makes an argument that it should somehow run its own house without civilian oversight. If civilian oversight is good enough for the American armed forces, then I think the numerous cases in which the police argue that civilian oversight is a problem that threatens their very existence is a case of "Thou protesth too much." What have they got to hide? We'll never know -- with the exception of the few cases they can no longer cover up like Hjort and Myers -- without empowered civilian oversight. But there is certainly plenty of evidence that the police needs better oversight. And it is simply unAmerican to argue that any armed forces, military or paramilitary, should be exempt from civilian oversight and the equitable enforcement of the rule of law against them, just like against civilians.

Differences

I think dissent and disagreement are good for discussion, though; they reduce the likelihood of groupthink. That's why I think it's important that people with other points of view are allowed to post here. BTW, I also think that a civilian police review board would probably be a good idea.

Just One Opinion

I really don't think catering to lame recyclings of opinions taken pretty much straight up from the News-Gazette's editorial page/WDWS is going to contribute much to the avoidance of "groupthink". In fact, it's far more likely to tend to close the space for creative thinking that exists here. There is a wide range of opiniosn, but allowing Indymedia to be used to contribute to the echo chamber of the right-wing is a waste of electrons. Everyone here is well aware of what the dominant media has to say. There's a wide range of opinion here without the dubious addition of a replacement for Jack. And didn't we make a decision that people with such chips on their shoulder as their only contribution to this website are basically engaging in trolling? They know it. The readers here know it. People can go over to Icky Pundit if they want to read it. I come here to get away from it. Don't disappoint and discourage readers and users here who have come to rely on the IMC for the limited safe space that is available to alternative points of view in this community.

So......

You're definition of "creative thinking" is people who agree with you. Very enlightened. I don't get my opinions from any media. I form them myself based on my observations and forty-something years of life experience and education. If you can't defend your position on issues without resorting to name-calling (trolls, right-wing... blah blah ablah), maybe you should re-examine your position. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

"Safe" space?

OK, so does "safe space" mean that you should be able to say whatever you want, as long as it appears to be somewhat left-leaning, and nobody should be able to question you or disagree? Sure, it makes sense that UCIMC should be free of personal attacks and hate speech, but I still think that silencing dissent is an extremely bad idea. To be honest, if nobody was allowed to challenge factual errors or faulty logic because it could make someone feel "unsafe," UCIMC as a whole would look dumb. On one hand, IlliniPundit has a number of conservative posters who often say things I disagree with. On the other, IP has been pretty good about allowing people with different points of view to express themselves there. (In fact, I've posted there and so have other folks from UCIMC.)

I disagree

There is a wide range of opinions, but allowing Indymedia to be used to contribute to the echo chamber of the right-wing is a waste of electrons. The way to fight one echo chamber is not to contruct another one. And I can't agree with the idea that our stance(s) need a "safe space" to survive -- because that implies that they're too weak to withstand the real world and can only live in an artificial quarantine. Posters who are disrupting only to disrupt are shown the door, as they should. @%<

Right of response

It's also occurred to me that when people are criticized on UCIMC (e.g., the police or SA), they really deserve the right to respond. I wouldn't call self-defense trolling either.

If They're Dealing with the Issues, OK; If Not, They're Trolling

Having sat through way too much trolling here before something was done about it, I have no trouble with giving people the right of reply or allowing them to make a substantive point, no matter how much I disagree with it. On the other hand, I've already seen that ishmael spends a lot of his time here restating the proposition, "I disagree with you, but I don't really need to engage in a serious discussion." Once we've heard that several times in the same thread, and it's clear you don't want to address most of the arguments being made by either the poster or other commenters, then you've had your right of response. I've seen where UC IMC is listed as a "Blog" over on IP. I think that may be part of the problem, in that people think they can play things with a dismissive gesture and ignore the substantive part of the argument someone else is making. That plays well over at IP, because it's mostly conservatives, they typically use this approach in dealing with those they disagree with, and they represent what has already been noted as the conventional wisdom in this community. None of those apply here. This is defintely not a blog and shouldn't be approached with the attitude that you can get away with what passes for etiquette on many blogs. People who post here usually go to the trouble of gathering facts and stating why the conventional wisdom needs to be questioned -- or in rare cases, being supported. Being able to argue your case is a big part of why Indymedia has been successful. And comments are intended to discuss the substantive arguments raised, not to be ignored while doing a drive-by Rush imitation or simply to let someone know you disagree with them. You need to explain WHY and give evidence or you need be satisfied with stating your disagreement and moving on, instead of starting to act like an infected splinter in someone's toe. Essentially, that was when we arrived at the decision that a certain troll needed to go in the past and established the current policy, but additionally we agreed that it wasn't so much the person involved, but the behavior that was unacceptable. I realize that some of the current editing group was not present then, so I think it's important to raise that, as from what I understand, it is from this persepcative where some of the comments made here originate. I've concluded by reading through the comments again that Ishmael is skating a pretty thin line here. It's OK to disagree, but it needs to be a substantive disagreement that deals with facts and doesn't simply repeatedly restate your disagreement while ignored important points that others raise. You might actually find a better conversation and exchange, if that is truly your objective. And I know that those who bother to make a substantive argument will be far more inclined to listen to your opinion, even of they disagree, if you've actually bothered to return the favor. I also note that wayward disagrees on this particualr issue (and I'm prsuming that deoesn't color her opinion too muc), she can do so by making short comments, but alsways seems to deal with the facts, without a lot of excess disgression into attacking someone else. There a good example of what you should be doing if you disgaree. The whole thing with "Dolinarisms" is one example of what is unacceptable and need not be repeated. Our posters should not have to put up with having their own personal trolls targetting them with such pointless and utterly off-topic crap. We've lost more than one regular correspondent who has done good reporting this way -- and that was one reason behind the JR decision when it was made. I don't think the comments made here ask for some pristine echo chamber of the left. But I've already heard from others wondering what accounts for the difference in our editing policy and I've explained the looser way in which we've chosen deal with those who bother to register on the site. But I also explained that I personally didn't feel that we'd changed the previous consensus, simply adapted it to new circumstances. I fully support dealing as appropriate with behavior that is a lot like JR's, because that was the decision made by Steering. And that goes for those registered users, as well as the anonymous, if they act like Jack. It might take a little longer, but if that's what we're dealing with, so be, They paint themselves into that corner. The position taken on trolling, if it's not clear already, is that the JR decision that was made did not ban anyone, but did clearly ban a set of behaviors. And it was also clear from the discussion at the time that the screen name didn't matter, because we had already had encountered the slippery business of trolls using multiple names and clearly wanted that base covered. So my advice would be, whether you're inside or outside of the dog, is to deal substantively with the issues raised here and start acting a lot less like Jack, whatever or whoever you are. That way we'll all enjoy a better discussion -- and your screen name will enjoy a long life.

ML.....Guess I really hit a nerve....

Whether you choose to agree or disagree with my (or anyone else's) postings. I think an objective reader would be hard-pressed to call them "off-topic." Off-position maybe.....in relation to what appears to be conventional wisdom here. As for my use of the term "Dolinarism" it refers to pulling factoids out of.....er.....lets say thin air and stating them in such a matter of fact tone as "a quadrangle has four sides." A great man once said "It ain't the things that people don't know that worry me. It's the things that they know for sure that just ain't so." Sounds like you're threatening to silence me by taking away my screen name because you're more of a free-thinker than I am....... If you can't see the humor in your position, then you have no sense of irony in you. One of the more vaild criticisms I've heard about Rush Limbaugh (you brought him up..) is that he engages in a debate with himself and he always wins. Is that what you would prefer to do here? I'll leave you with one last quote: "The true test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time." -F. Scott Fitzgerald "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

The nerve

Guess I really hit a nerve....

Sort of, but maybe not in exactly the way you thought. The story is that several years ago, a poster using the screen name "Jack Ryan" showed up. Why, you may wonder, would someone want to adapt the name of a mediocre writer's Mary Sue character? We're not sure either, but he made a number of really obnoxious posts. Someone noticed an interesting resemblance to some of the tactics discussed over at http://www.protestwarrior.net/ OK, imagine a support group for folks who are very interested in disrupting leftist activities, but aren't exactly clever or original. Voila ProtestWarrior. After Jack had been hanging around UCIMC for a while, some people were angry and frustrated, and others (me included) found him boring and tiresome. Anyhow, there was a general decision to ban the pattern of behavior that became known as "JR," though it turns out that identifying troll posts can be very subjective. Personally, I'll only flag the stuff that seems really egregious (e.g., the idiot who repeatedly tried to post pro-Klan stuff here). But it's always a judgment call.

Oh....

Sorry, I don't know him.....and I've never heard of that web site. Of course, I've heard of the Character "Jack Ryan" but that's another matter. I'm not trying to be "disruptive" just trying to offer a different perspective. I guess for some people, that IS being disruptive. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Perspectives

I'm not trying to be "disruptive" just trying to offer a different perspective. I guess for some people, that IS being disruptive.

Personally, I would be inclined to guess that you're an educated guy in his 40s who works in a job related to law enforcement (or possibly the court). I did notice that the dearly departed JR tended to make more categorical comments about everyone on the site, and you seemed to be responding more specifically to a handful of posters that made comments about the police and SA.

So you're threatening free speech?

Let me get this straight. Anyone is allowed to post here, as long as it goes with the flow. If it doesn't fit the line of thinking that is so prevalent here, then we'll ban you from posting. We want free thinkers, as long as they are agreeable. Otherwise, we'll call them names and ostracize them from the group. This is the most flawed logic I've heard in a long while. I've read through all of the postings on this thread, and there is absolutely nothing that Ishmael has wrote that is inappropriate, threatening, racist, or otherwise unkind. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it inappropriate. About your argument that his/her posts aren't 'substantive,' I disagree wholeheartedly. Ishmael's posts may not be left-leaning, but they are full of just as much substance as any other person's post. As for the comments about Ishmael 'skating a pretty thin line' and his/her screen name 'enjoying a long life,' just who the hell are you to threaten someone else?!? If anything, Ishmael has done more to expose how you truly are. This is supposed to be a democracy where everyone has a voice, not an oligarchy where a handful of elites control everything. This is a sad day for UCIMC and I am truly disappointed in you. I hope you do the right thing and retract these statements and apologize.

Wayward, you're a breath of fresh air!

It's really nice to see someone that always seems to be fair-minded posting on this board. Even when you've posted things with which I don't necessarily agree, you do so in a thougtful and intelligent manner. I hope that my saying so doesn't precipitate any backlash against you. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Thanks but ...

Thanks, but I doubt that there will be any backlash. UCIMC isn't the Borg on Star Trek, and we don't collectively share a single brain. As the crowd in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" said, "We are all individuals."

ML and JH following the playbook

Brand anyone who disagrees with you a "troll" and any posting with which you disagree "propaganda." JH seems to have added another plank to the platform "above all, be obtuse." I guess not every person who died following a fight with the police from undetermined cause before the implementation of the taser died of a "miraculous cause?" My last attempt at explaining my skepticism for some deaths that are labeled "taser related." I assume everyone remembers a few years back when CPD had a big fight with a man who later died. The medical examiner found no evidence of manual asphyxiation or blunt force trauma, yet the person died. Do you think that, if the identical circumstances existed with the addition of a taser being used during the fight, that some would have labeled this a "taser-related death" when clearly it was not? Finally, to ML: If you think that the police are not answerable to civilians and civilian review for their actions, you clearly have no idea how the system operates. Their actions are reviewed by their superiors, their governing body, be it state, municipal, county or federal, all levels of criminal and civil court and the press. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Complaint handling

However, some people have indicated that they've had problems filing complaints about their experiences with the police. If this is the case, it sounded like there would have been little or no review of the police's actions in those situations.

I agree

If people's perception is that they're not getting a fair hearing, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. I also believe that the process by which complaints are investigated should be as tranparent as the law and personnel policies will allow. Whether a complaint is determined to be valid or invalid, it is crucial that the complainant know that it was taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Anarchy: It's less silly than than you think

Ishmael: "Maybe we can just go to an honor system. I'm sure all of the rapists, murderers, armed robbers, burglars, child molesters, etc. would just turn themselves in because of a guilty conscience." If a society is in a state of true anarchy, there wouldn't be any place that they could surrender themselves to. Even under the current system, many convicted criminals receive probation, which differs very little from what you describe above. --------------------- Ishmael: "You know, making inane statements like that might make you feel like that you appear colorful and free-thinking. To anyone who gives the matter any serious thought, you just appear cartoonish and silly." You're being judgemental and close-minded. To understand anarchy and other alternative social systems, it is necessary to conduct "thought experiments" and remain open-minded. This is one of the methods of science. People don't commonly realize this, but all societies exist in a state of greater or lesser anarchy -- they are intermediate between complete order and complete disorder. Many kinds of human behavior are unregulated; people often violate the law and don't get caught. Consider, for example, the millions of people who have smoked marijuana illegally -- only a tiny percentage of them have become entangled within the legal system as a consequence. Thus far, the criminal justice system isn't omniscient and omnipotent, even in the United States, although it is slowly moving in this direction. Today, we exist within the context of a global society. However, in earlier societies, there was often a little-regulated frontier or wilderness area to which the dissidents of society could escape. Consider the territory of Florida when it was under Spanish rule. Because the Spanish only nominally ruled most of Florida, it became a magnet for various dissidents: escaped black slaves, fugitives of the law, Amerindians, pirates, and eccentric explorers. These dissidents established villages for themselves in this little-regulated wilderness area, which they preferred to mainstream society. And so, history makes it clear that some people PREFER living in a state of anarchy, rather than the rule of law, because it is less oppressive to them. There are other methods by which anarchy has been implemented in human society. Consider, for example, the University of Paris during the Middle Ages. At this time, both faculty and students at the University of Paris (and other universities as well) were exempt from common law -- in effect, local judges and bailiffs had no jurisdiction over them and could not control their behavior through some kind of punishment. At this time, the University of Paris was a royal institution, and aristocratic society and its institutions were accountable only to the royal government, which was relatively indifferent to the complaints of commoners. As a result, the students were notoriously rowdy and could flout local laws. I suggest that it is desirable to create police-free zones within our society where dissidents can seek voluntary exile from the laws of mainstream society. To some extent, we have already created such zones in the past, which were commonly referred to as "Red Light districts" in major cities. In these districts, certain laws were not rigorously enforced (e.g., prohibition against prostitution and laws governing the use of gambling and drugs). As things currently stand, the criminal justice system (and the legal system generally) has jurisdiction over all territories and there is no avenue of escape to a little-regulated frontier or wilderness area where alternatives to mainstream society can spontaneously develop. This is one of the shortcomings of the modern era. There are thousands of cities and thousands of counties in the United States. Is it really necessary that ALL cities and ALL counties have law enforcement personnel? Is this truly a desirable state-of-affairs? I think not.

No, it's still silly

From The Blank Slate, by Steven Pinker As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-1805-12238-10/on_this_day/conflict_war/twt

The Various Problems of the Police

Here are excerpts from various sources of information about the problems of the police (suicide, divorce, steroid abuse, alcoholism, etc.) that were culled from the internet. -------------------- from: "The Effects of Stress on Police Officers" by Dan Goldfarb "A study of 2376 Buffalo NY police officers found that compared to the white male population police officers had higher mortality rates for cancer, suicide, and heart disease." "The national divorce rate is 50%. All research shows police suffer a substantially higher divorce rate with estimates ranging from 60% to 75%." --------------------- from: "Police Battle Troubled Officers' Mistrust of Counseling" by N.R. Kleinfield with George James, New York Times, Sept. 12, 1994 "Incidences of divorce, alcoholism, and suicide run abnormally high among police officers throughout the country. In the last 10 years, 62 New York officers have killed themselves, a rate averaging 2 or 3 times higher than in the general population." --------------------- from: Suicide Prevention Resource Center -- Law Enforcement Personnel "This level of [job-related] stress can take a toll. Law enforcement officers are at elevated risk of divorce, alcoholism, and other emotional and health problems (Ayres, 1990). Police officers are also at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which also contributes to the risk of suicide." -------------------- from: "Dopers in Uniform: Cops on Steroids" by John Hoberman, Meso-Rx, May 22, 2005. "One of the remarkable anomalies of the anti-steroid campaign of the past two decades is that it has virtually ignored the many reports of steroid use by police officers in the United States and in other countries. Unknown but clearly significant numbers of policemen have imported, smuggled, sold, and used anabolic steroids over this time period. According to an article that appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin in 1991: 'Anabolic steroid abuse by police officers is a serious problem that merits greater awareness by departments across the country.'" --------------------- And so forth.

News Flash....

Police work is stressful and cops are human! Thanks for clearing that up Mr Anonymous! (Has anyone else noticed a lot of people who post on this board have the same last name?) Very timely too, Mr Hoberman (whoever the heck that is) quoting a sentence from a sixteen year-old FBI (since when do we believe them) bulletin. Are you aware of any similar studies regarding pizza delivery personnel or volunteers at the food co op? "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Riots, Prisons, and Anarchy

"As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose." Riots are also triggered by aggressive police action -- this has happened quite often in the U.S. (particularly during the 1960's). As I explained in the earlier post, this isn't an all-or-nothing issue, because every society exists in a state of anarchy to a greater or lesser degree. The least anarchic society that I can think of is a maximum security prison in the U.S. -- however, I don't know anyone who would want to live there voluntarily. The appropriate question is this: As a society, are we moving in the direction of a police-and-prison state, or moving in the direction of too much anarchy? There isn't a simple answer to this question as individual preferences vary.

As easy as it would be......

To answer the lengthy post extolling the benefits of Anarchy vs the "Police State" that we're living under (that one always cracks me up!), I wouldn't want to be accused of "setting up" another straw-man situation. I will interject one point of information, however. If you think that a maximum security prison is the LEAST anarchic society that you can think of, talk to anyone who has been there, you might change your mind. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Why Police/Prosecutorial Corruption Remains an Issue in Illinois

Why Does Police/Prosecutorial Corruption Remain an Issue in Illinois? Because it's both an old state tradition and an ongoing problem. Thus people are understandably skeptical about any claims that the "system" works in this state as anything but a jobs program and a dog-and-pony show for political climbers. There's plenty of evidence locally, including a lot in this thread, that the defenders of the status quo have stubbornly refused to discuss or acknowledge. Racism, classism and plain 'ol meaness in the form of the us versus them attitude by many in the police take towards citizens. I would not be surprised if those griping that the system is getting a bad rap here are cops. They sure sound like it. Unfortunately, I know a few good cops and it's a real shame that they've chosen a profession that has so many self-imprtant bad apples in it. But here's the point of my post, just to remind everyone why the public wants answer NOW about local issues that seem way too similar to things we all know go on in Illinois, but are all too frequently swept under the rug -- or dealt with as political damage control, rather than by taking the same aggressive stance as against, let's say, teenage marijuana smokers. >>>>>>>>>> Daley faces torture query Judge orders him questioned; suit says he ignored claims of cop abuse February 23, 2007 BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter Mayor Daley must sit for questions in a lawsuit accusing him of failing to investigate allegations of police torture when he was Cook County state's attorney and mayor. Thursday's ruling by a federal judge comes just five days before the Feb. 27 municipal election. Here's one question Kurt Feuer, attorney for alleged torture victim Madison Hobley, plans to ask Daley: "Why, when faced with documented injuries that clearly indicated torture above and beyond a beating -- this guy had allegator clips burned into his earlobes -- did Daley apparently kick the issue down the line to a very junior associate and never follow up on it?" Feuer said. Appeal considered Feuer said it was an "open secret" in those days that suspects were beaten at Area 2 Chicago Police headquarters under Cmdr. Jon Burge. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown's ruling Thursday applies only to Hobley's case. But attorneys for other alleged torture victims expect judges in their cases to follow suit. "He could well spend the first couple of months after the election standing for depositions after 25 years of avoiding any serious questions of his substantial role as mayor in the torture scandal," said Flint Taylor, attorney for two other alleged victims. Jenny Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city Law Department, said her office was reviewing Brown's ruling and considering an appeal. Daley's attorneys argued he had already answered questions from special prosecutor Edward Egan for a grand jury report. 'We've been waiting 2 years' Brown rejected that argument, writing, "The statement taken by the Special Prosecutor from Mr. Daley contains little useful information. It consists almost entirely of leading questions posed by the counsel for the Special Prosecutor, often prefaced by long, factual recitations." Other judges ruled this week that these cases could proceed because the city stalled on a $14.8 million settlement that included a provision that Daley would not be deposed. That cleared the way for Thursday's ruling. "We've been waiting two years for this," Feuer said. "It's funny. We always felt we had the right to depose the guy, and it kept getting put off and put off and put off. "So I guess, at this stage of the game, the judges are finally getting as fed up as we are with the city's antics." © Copyright 2007 Sun-Times News Group >>>>>>>>> It would be great if we could get a judge or two like that down here. Unfortunately, we have judges in this county that simply don't have the ethical cojones to take on either the state's attorney or the police. In fact, in some ways, the situation is even worse In Champaign County than it is in Chicago, with one of the judges being a sweetheart political appointment of a former states attorney and the states attorney maybe even literally in bed with the police. Justice against the justice system in this county is a walking, talking conflict of interest that is more about avoiding political and financial liabilities than it is about any real justice.

Hey Anonymous......**ahem**

In case you haven't looked out the window lately, you don't live in Chicago..... Or maybe you do.......either way.... Most thinking individuals don't confuse "Chicago" with "Illinois." Your repeated jabs at the police only accentuate the fact that you have a problem with the police in general. Tasers....Shmasers...... It wouldn't matter if their new weapon of choice were pixie dust, you'd hop in your 1979 Volvo wagon and head to any venue holding a meeting to voice opposition. Puhlease! "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Get with the times

It wouldn't matter if their new weapon of choice were pixie dust, you'd hop in your 1979 Volvo wagon and head to any venue holding a meeting to voice opposition.

Puh-leeze, dude. Modern hippies drive Toyota Priuses.

Sorry....my bad **blush**

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Police, singular

and the states attorney maybe even literally in bed with the police It would probably only be one particular policeman, namely her husband. AFAIK, our State's Attorney is not into polyamory.

Blah, Blah, Blah

Ishmael: "If you think that a maximum security prison is the LEAST anarchic society that you can think of, talk to anyone who has been there, you might change your mind." I was thinking of a super-max prison in which the prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hrs. out of every 24 hrs.

There's more than one Mr. Anonymous

Ishmael: "Your repeated jabs at the police only accentuate the fact that you have a problem with the police in general." Sorry, Ishmael, but there is more than one Mr. Anonymous who is posting comments to this thread. Apparently the world is a bigger place than you realize. So you're having trouble telling us apart, huh?

Mr. Anonymous

Well, you do seem to have the same last name and all....

Why So Much Anonymous in This Thread?

Why do so many wish to remain anonyomus in this thread? One reason I can think of is that citizens in Champaign County already know that, a la Officer Hjort, police and other law enforcement personnel can blatantly misuse law enforcement data systems for their own personal ends and/or pleasure and get away with it. Neither the states attorney nor any special prosecutor she appoints has shown any willingness to unhold the law against such abuses, even when the fact that they occured is well documented. Given that it's obvious that supporters of, if not actual officers of, law enforcement are here making feeble defenses of their abusive practices, other posters are understandably cautious.

Misuse of data

I did wonder about that, especially when I read that Hjort had admitted to misusing a police computer system and Dedman apparently declined to prosecute. Do these systems have adequate auditing capabilities? (Misuse or intrusion should ideally leave a trail, but that's only useful if the system is capturing it.)

"Unfortunately, I know a few

"Unfortunately, I know a few good cops and it's a real shame that they've chosen a profession that has so many self-imprtant bad apples in it." So before I run out a pick up an application for journalism or law school, tell me where the bad apples really are? Where is your profession on the "most trusted" list? Cops might not be at the top, but they are certainly not floating among the "bad apples".

bad apples get promoted

Perhaps downstate is worse than Chicago. According to Michael Rich, Sgt Myers told him, "This is how we do things down here." And like Daley in Chicago, Walsh knew that Myers was torturing inmates. Michael Rich told him so August 2005. Rich also told Walsh that he was beaten by two men. Was it Deputy Jeremy Heath who clearly falsified a report saying that Rich came into the jail bloody? The same Jeremy Heath who is now in charge of the downtown jail? Are cops rewarded for beating inmates in the Champaign County jail? BD

Brian, you're a marvel....

I enjoy the way you just state things as fact that are, at the very least, in dispute. You may BELIEVE that Sheriff Walsh knew these things and did nothing. I would venture to say that the Correctional Staff at the jail has a different version of the events of that evening. If you choose to believe Mr. Rich's version then that's, of course your choice. But, unless you were there, it does nothing for your credibilty to keep stating things as fact that you don't KNOW. Anytime there is a dispute about events, people will make up their minds whom to believe. Sometimes it's based on which story seems to make the most sense. Sometimes it's based on how well the story is told. Other times it's based on the listener's predisposition to trust or mistrust one of the story tellers. Occasionally, (especially in cases like this) a peson may decide whom to believe based on the fact that that version of events confirms a long-held belief held by the listener. "Cops are good." "Cops are bad." No matter what side a person believes, it's pretty hard to assail that belief unless you have first hand knowledge of the facts in dispute. You don't. I believe Scott Peterson killed his wife. I don't know it. See the difference? That is what I mean by a "Dolinarism." Your opinion is just that. It is not an immutable law of physics. I BELIEVE that, if I could buy you for what you really know and sell for what you think you know, I could retire a rich man. (Just my OPINION, of course.) :o) "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

more than just opinion

Go read the police reports if your concerned with more than just opinion. The number is 05-CF-2105. BD

Oh really...

The Police reports say that Sheriff Walsh knew Myers was torturing people and did nothing..... They say that Jeremy Heath wrote a false report and they say that Jeremy Heath beat prisoners and was rewarded for it. Somehow I doubt it. You should be more careful about what you say about people using their name. That is actionable Mr. D. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

"Dolinarism"-Baseless

"Dolinarism"-Baseless mantra, the act of spinning opinion as fact to achieve the goal of ones agenda despite the truth. "Are cops rewarded for beating inmates in the Champaign County jail?" Are Community College professors biased liberals who attempt to advance their own narrow minded views despite the realities of a current given situation because of a past set of questionable circumstances that occured many years ago in a large California venue? or... can they attain objectiveness given a different set of circumstances? Or maybe that is too much to ask of your profession.

To be specific

To be specific, you might go read the police reports authored by Sgt. Myers and Jeremy Heath who claim that Michael Rich came into the jail bleeding from an altercation at the Canopy Club. You might compare them to the report authored by Urbana officer Daniel Bailey who states clearly that rich was "verbally abusive not physically" abusive when at the Canopy Club. These are the words of the cops, not my biased opinion. And anon - its Dr. Dolinar. BD

I'm not quite following your logic

Being that I know as much of what happened that night as you do (which is not much, since I wasn't there either), I'd like to put my two cents in. The line that you state over and over, about Rich being "verbally abusive not physically" doesn't have anything to do with his physical condition. When I read that, I picture someone who is being loud, but not aggressive. Maybe he was being a loudmouth jerk and someone punched him in the face. This would fit the scenario of him being verbally, but not physically, abusive. This would also account for his bloody lip. If the officer's report said that Rich had no physical marks whatsoever on his body, then that would be a different story.

What is Truth?

It looks like Ishmael is trying to spin one pretty hard here. Is the truth only what is supposedly "tested" by the legal system in court? It sure sounds like that is what he implies. And that is 100% certifiable BS. The states attorney decides what she is willing to pursue in court, but just because she decides that she is going to sweep something under the rug, rather than allowing it to be "tested" in court, does NOT mean that it isn't true. Or that it did not happen. Heck, there's crap I see everyday on the street that is cerifiably stupid or illegal. Just because there wasn't a cop around to see it and then have the states attorney prosecute it -- does that mean it did not happen? And those in the "criminal justice" system think that their critics have strange ideas about the truth? Puhleaze, give us a break. Lots of things happen that never get a day in court. Often times, as we see here, it's the states attorney keeping it out of court, preventing citizens from judging what transpired. That does not mean that it did not happen or that what is in a report is somehow a fantasy on the part of who wrote it. And if is IS some cop's obvious fantasy, then why doesn't the state's attorney have that officer, in court for filing a false report himself? Things get curiouser and curiouser, once you drop down the rabbit hole into the Champaign county legal system.

I'm sorry if you mistook my meaning...

Believe me, I NEVER confuse TRUTH with the outcome of legal proceedings. It's great when they coincide but sometimes what actually happened is inadmissable in court. Does that sound like a search for the truth to you? Me either. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems more like "gamesmanship" with an attorney in a black robe deciding which of his fraternity brothers made a more clever or compelling argument. (Just my opinion, of course.) My point was that we should all be circumspect about proclaiming things as fact based on what we hear or read, and most definitely based on how we feel. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Right Alice. Of course the

Right Alice. Of course the cops report is the only determination of what occurred or did not occur, not. The fact that witnesses or victims are the bases of most cases in the criminal justice system is lost on you. Very few cases are prosecuted on just the cops word. Never mind the evidence or statements from others. One would think that the whole system revolves around on just a police report without actual testimony from others. Did the Thompson case revolve around just the police report? Or, was there actual testimony from the victim. Have you actually ever looked at other systems in the state or is your myopic view based on only what you percieve when you stick your head out of the hole?

Dr. (?) Brian Dolinar aka Stalker, Harrasser, poss. Psychopath?

I don't care who gave this man his title of "Dr.". Money can buy any title and education. I don't have to site specific instances of people who have credits, degrees, etc, that are completely moronic in other areas of life. Until Mr. Brian Dolinar applies, gets hired and works as a law enforement officer, he's an EXPERT at NOTHING! You can have your textbooks and theories. You can have you guidelines, rules and laws. They only work in a perfect world, and we DON'T live in a perfect world, and we NEVER will. You can fight for truth and justice, but unless you post unedited video footage of an event with 10 different angles, it is a fact that the event will become distorted by all who tell it. Whether through lying or just not recalling every moment correctly, it's like playing the game telephone. It is also true that people use events to further their own agenda's if they feel it will help them and will say what they need to say to accomplish that. A lot has gone wrong in the Champaign County Jail/Taser incidents. I understand GOOD reporting, but Brian Dolinar crosses the line of harrassment, stalking and obsession. It's extremely SICK! This man has a GOD COMPLEX! Is he going to follow Mr. Myers to the ends of the earth for all time to ruin this man and his innocent family? Note I said that it is Myers' family that is innocent. Has that become his personal agenda? My advice would be. . . get a life. . . of your own Mr. Dolinar. You should be behind bars at the rate that you are going with this. The man got his sentence and that is what justice served. . . if you are not happy about that, then fight the justice system and leave the individual out of it. It is time for everyone to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Fight the next battle, prevent the next wrong doing. Would Mr. Dolinar feel better if he could issue Myers the taser blows equal to those dished out. Will that satisfy this extremist? Would he like for someone to treat him the same as he is acting? Does Myers family deserve to put up with his antics? I hope Mr. Dolinar gets bored of this case and moves onto the next injustice. Myers life, hereon out, will be difficult enough without Mr. Dolinar watching Myers every move, calling, emailing, etc. I'm suprised their isn't an order of protection on Mr. Dolinar! Go protest the next injustice! He seems to be wasting his time on this one single individual while many, many others are out there committing wrongs in the world. It seems he has gotten too involved with obsessing over this individual which is not charactersitic of objective, truthful reporting? Hmmmmm???? If Mr. Dolinar can say WHATEVER HE WANTS, can't I as well. Until he works this job for 13+ years, he has NO idea! I think the host of "Dirty Jobs" is more entitled to comment on law enforcement than this man. At least he tries to experience things first hand to be more informed. These people have no idea how things run in EACH department nationwide, and it's different in each one. There is usually a lot of politics! You criticize pay, benefits, and unions. Why doesn't he go investigate the railroads. . . .they don't pay into social security. Engineers get paid +70,000 per year. They have railroad insurance. . .if they screw up, they get "fired", basically time off-PAID. They do their time and are right back on the job, they never really get fired. . .talk about an awesome union! Police Officers. . .are lucky if they get paid +40,000. They ARE subject to all sorts of unknowns, even in a "secure" jail. They are lucky to have health insurance, for which all officers are grateful! Most have to have lawyers for all the crackpot people that attempt to sue them over their career. You are lucky to survive your career with a clear head with all the stress of the job and the stress at home as well. You walk around on tiptoes trying to keep the command happy and your coworkers and just get through a day of work without any trouble! Mr. Dolinar's job seems a lot better! I'm sure he faces his own problems, I'm not going to judge his career, just his documented actions against specific individuals. Check into that railroad thing. . . .I'm sure the Canadians would love to deal with him!

Wait...

Wait, are you saying that Dolinar was actually contacting Myers or Myers' family?

emails don't lie

Yes! Through email and phonecalls. He also took it upon himself to call others that know Myers in his community on a daily basis. That is unprofessional! It's funny how this man always shows up where he knows a camera is going to be present, or how he creates MEGA drama to get the cameras there. Karma is a funny thing! There is a lot that I know about of this man. Go back to your tiny little dungeon and write something constructive! He has caused more pain than Myers ever could. Does he think he's some kind of martyr, far from it. He thrives on 'spin' and is so wrapped up in his own perception of reality that no one else is right once he has formed his opinion. Keep in mind that it is just that. . .an opinion. With the state of that man's psyche, he couldn't get hired as ANY kind of law enforcement officer. He wouldn't pass the psychological part of the hiring process. Many try, not many do! I think he is an attention seeking person that exaggerated pain to fulfill his need for cult-like attention. Funny how nearly all of his confrontations are achieved in the presence of media, and he is deemed by many to be out of his mind! I'd like to see this man's credentials, really! Doctor? Doctor of what? I am a firm believer that you have to experience things first hand before becoming a self-renowned authority and expert. It appears that this man and some of his followers would love nothing more than a world absent of law enforcment officers. . . well I say, give it to them. They would regret it. They would be some of the first people beaten and raped by some of those that are now behind bars. Some people belong in jail. . . .some really don't. Law enforcement officers of all kinds serve a purpose in our world. . .and not all are bad. Sometimes those that do wrong things. . . needed help after time and were not noticed or ignored. It's hard to speak up for people, but why is it harder to HELP people. People can get worn down, and law enforcement is definitely an atmosphere that can wear a person down to breaking points. Have you had human feces thrown in your face by a person who may have 10 different std's? Been spit on by a person that had hepatitus? Been stabbed multiple times in the face by a man who made his own shank? Do you think that is worth less than $40,000 a year? Many officers take more than their share of abuse. This includes mental abuse from prisoners as well. It goes both ways behind bars! Documentaries don't always show ALL the truths of both sides. Know what you are talking about is all I am saying. AND, reporting doesn't involve making it so personal that you cross the line of reporting! Dolinar should consider a career with STAR magazine! He has only half a clue on some of the subjects that he is so passionate about! At least at Star magazine, the victims only have to read it in print. . . not be harrassed, stalked, etc. He is beyond any healthy level of reporting! I would have more respect for anything the man had to say if I didn't know of his technique in collecting data/facts and activism! Is that reporting?

Clarification

No, what I was asking was whether Dolinar was actually harassing anyone. If he wants to FOIA documents to his heart's content or announce "press conferences" outside the courthouse, that's his right. But if he's personally contacting people after they've asked him to leave them alone, that's a problem.

Correction. . .only email

Only email, no phonecalls as far to my knowledge. All contact has been made via email! In person on a street in Urbana and in an elevator for example! No phonecalls. Nothing like standing and pacing outside a man's attorney's office. Paparazzi???? or Psycho????? Just let me make sure that I keep my facts straight. . . someone should!

Sounds Like Journalism

You may not agree with what he writes, but there is nothing you're describing that is out of the ordinary for a journalist to do. If you REALLY think you have proof that this constitutes "stalking", then why haven't you spoken with a judge about it? The IMC doesn't issue orders of protection. People bitch about Brian, but he actually does more investigation than many paid journalists -- at least in this town. Now people want to complain that he is doing journalism. Nothing was said about Myer's family, except maybe that he'd get to go home to them instead of the big house like regular folks are apt to do, until you brought it up. I guess if journalists just sat on their hands, then people wouldn't find fault with what they're not writing. That's the way the local dominant media operated for years, but people now have options to publish. It isn't so easy to kill a story and keep it dead anymore. That upsets some, but I can only refer you to the Bill of Rights. Somehow, I suspect that silencing Brian -- and anyone willing to question the official story -- has been the point of many of the comments in this thread.

Thanks for the idea. . .

You are right. Although Myers has enough on his plate. Maybe he should get some encouragement to pursue an order of protection against Dolinar. I think maybe even slander charges as well. Dolinar is an expert at intimidation. Funny last time I checked one of the definitions of Journalism was "The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation." I think Dolinar interjects a large portion of analysis and personal interpretation. The writer should report the facts so that the reader can form their own opinion, not adapt the writers view. I know what is written in the Bill of Rights, that's why I am here. Maybe the reason Dolinar is not paid is due to his technique of investigation. I highly doubt any reputable organization would want the liability of Dolinar on their staff. Just because Dolinar did not write about Myers family, does not mean that he did not in some way confront them and quite frankly frighten them with his weirdness! I would have to say that a person who believes everything they read is a fool. As far as getting to know the official story. . .good luck. I would have to say the Brian Dolinar will be the last person to get that story, because people know his techniques and don't want to even give him the time of day. Even the people that were there for that sequence of events will never get the story right. I never said to silence Mr. Dolinar. . .you seem good at 'spin' and putting words into others mouths. All I was getting at is to experience something first hand and stick to the facts not the personal innuendo!

Indymedia Overthrows Standard Definitions

Perhaps your problem is that you really seem clueless about the Indymedia project. I would suggest first reading the UC IMC Mission Statement: http://www.ucimc.org/info/mission Second, Brian is not "on staff," he is an independent journalist. The First Amendment does not distinguish between those who work for "newspapers and magazines" and ordinary citizens who choose to pursue a story. Both are equally valid and guaranteed by freedom of the press. In fact, many at IMC would say that independent journalism is superior to that of journalists worried about keeping ad revenue coming in and protecting the false pretense of objectivity that such organizations typically project -- like the News-Gazette does. Do you REALLY think the News-Gazette does "objective" journalism? Do you really believe that independent journalists bend the truth any more than those in the dominant media? You're entitled to your own ignorance, but please don't confuse that with what goes on here.

Unfortunately, I have to remain anonymous!

I am not afraid of this man! Let than be known! I know enough of this man to know that he IS a stalker! I don't want to suffer the harrassment that this man dishes! Because, I would pursue an order of protection! He WAS indeed told to not bother Mr. Myers or contact him. . .but after that, he still proceeded to contact him and all kinds of people and still does (around last wednesday!) There is no need, at this point, for Mr. Dolinar to come within 10,000 feet of Mr. Myers, let alone try to influence his life or lifestyle from this point forward. He knows that those people don't want to talk to, or see, or have people they deal with have to deal with Mr. Dolinar's mannerisms! This case, as it pertains to Mr. Myers, has been tried and sentenced. Mr. Myers has a right to live his life as well. . . Dolinar-FREE! Dolinar doesn't realize that in his excessive harrassment, that he has just proven that Myers can also be calm and passive! What did Myers' wife do to Dolinar to become the focus of his stares and glares? Over-the-top if you ask me? I think Dolinar needs a psychological examination! ha·rass /həˈræs, ˈhærəs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[huh-ras, har-uhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –verb (used with object) 1. to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute. 2. to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid. ob·ses·sion (əb-sěsh'ən, ŏb-) Pronunciation Key n. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer