Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Legal System Physicians Heal Thyselves?

  The chasm between truth and public presentation makes the light of day as blurry as the self-deception behind why sheltered truth happens. Every day, life is as a court of law where any point conceded dooms the rest of the case. Admit nothing. That wins. But I turn away, which is how I wish we all treated this dilemma. All of usrefusing to be involved rationalizing every form of criminal behavior anymore.
  The New York Times investigated, under the title, In Police-Stop Data, Pockets Where Force Is Used More Often, written by RAY RIVERA, the fact, we all know, that police have to protect themselves to protect us. Spawning some of the reasons for Mr. Rivera’s report, contributed to by Daniel Krieger, Randy Leonard, Sarah Maslin Nir, Nate Schweber and Tom Torok.
  The writer begins by describing the worst case scenario where two Bronx precincts have higher rates of violence during police stops than other New York City precincts. The West Bronx’s crowded neighborhoods come alive at night with residents, young and old, clustered around door stoops and teenagers filling playground basketball courts, with police officers from the nearby 44th and 46th Precincts patrolling and, from time to time, stopping and frisking young, mostly black and Latino, men. And when stopped for interrogation, statistics show, physical force is used far more often than anywhere else in the city.
  So – The New York City Police Department has been under increased scrutiny over the racial disparities and sheer volume of street stops under their “stop, question and frisk” crime-fighting technique policy that allows officers to stop people they reasonably believe are committing or about to commit a crime. Last year, the police stopped a record 680,000 people as more than 80 percent were black or Latino. A federal judge this summer approved a class-action lawsuit accusing the department of using race as a basis for the stops.
  Couldn’t be as a police state would, intend to put the fear of crossing them in the minds of their subjects?
But The Times being The Times stops short at an accusation of that magnitude. However continuing, The Times prints, but, often overlooked,(though the article’s intent is continuing scrutiny), is how frequently police officers use some level of physical force in these encounters. People who have been stopped say if they show the slightest bit of, even verbal, resistance they can be slammed against walls, forced to the ground and, on rarer occasions (thank goodness for that at least), officers’ guns pointed at their heads.
  According to an analysis by The New York Times, the police used some level of physical force in more than one in five stops across the city last year. The West Bronx’s rate was more than double that. Yet the high level of force seldom translated into arrests, raising questions among black and Latino leaders about whether officers were using enough discretion before making the stops in the first place, much less before resorting to force.
  The four precincts with the highest use of force all include or have included what the police call “impact zones,” violent pockets routinely flooded with officers, often in their first assignment out of the academy, in an effort to suppress crime. That combination of inexperienced officers and worst neighborhoods may be one reason force is so high, residents said. Adding the encounters, while apparently not leading to a higher number of physical injuries, do create lasting feelings of resentment and a distrust of officers. Us vs. them we deny but all live with and through, perhaps needlessly according to the laws that are supposed to rule This Great Land Of Ours.
  Felipe Carrion, 42, who runs a 44th Precinct barbershop on the Grand Concourse, said, “I feel sometimes a lot of the rookies that come out don’t have the proper training, and it’s actually a fear factor on their part. They’re actually afraid of getting hurt themselves.”
  Ever watch COPS, the television event? Controlling the subject is rule number 1. Period. Gotta subdue and nip improper attitudes in the bud before they’re out of hand. Hello! Everyone.
  Two months ago, Mr. Carrion said, he was standing outside his shop when two officers confronted him. “They asked me what I was doing in front of the shop and I said I was the owner,” and, “They said, ‘No, you’re not. You’re not the owner. Let’s see some ID.’” But as Mr. Carrion reached for his identification, the officers shoved him against the wall. “I was like, ‘You’re using police brutality. You’re not supposed to be doing that. Let me show you ID.’” Then the officers calmed down after seeing identification, but not before shoving him against the wall again and searching him. Both officers, he said, “looked like they were right out of the academy.” Or ready to go back?
  Police officials defend the stops as an effective crime deterrent. According to The Times, They downplayed The Times’s findings about use of force, saying the only reason the four precincts had such high levels was officers checked a box marked “hands on suspect” more often on the form they are required to fill when conducting stops. Other boxes include “suspect on wall” and “suspect on ground.” Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said “hands on suspect” was a subjective category that “may be reported anytime the officer’s hand comes into physical contact with the subject. This could occur during a frisk or to guide a suspect to the sidewalk,” he wrote in an e-mail.
  But The Times found, John A. Eterno, a former New York Police captain, who used to train officers on the stop-and-frisk tactic, who disputed that explanation, saying officers are trained to only check the box “whenever some sort of force is used to control the situation, or to make sure that either the officer’s safety or somebody else’s safety is maintained.” Dr. Eterno, who retired in 2003 and is now a criminologist at Molloy College on Long Island, added, “You could frisk a person without any use of force at all.” While all policemen ever had to do is ask me.
  It was in the 46th Precinct that Christopher Graham said he was stopped by two officers last winter as he and a friend were leaving his friend’s apartment building. The officers guided them to the wall of the building and began frisking them, Mr. Graham, 19, said. When the officer got to his groin area, Mr. Graham flinched, he said. “I said, ‘Whoa, what are you doing?’” Mr. Graham recalled. “The cop put his hand on the back of my cap and, boom, smashed my head into the wall of the apartment, for no reason.”
  The reason is power and also the reason not to.
  The resulting gash sent blood gushing down Mr. Graham’s cheek that took six stitches to close. Mr. Graham, who was neither arrested nor issued a summons in the stop, still bears a scar next to his left eye.
  You see that’s all that’s between us and state sponsored anarchy. A system of checks and balances, otherwise possibly millions could be lost and the keys to their cells thrown away. Thank God the police have to answer to lawyers, otherwise, poof, police state. But no one in, or running for, public office would admit that. Fuzz-y is as fuzzy self-righteously does, huh?
  City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who represents the West Bronx, called the numbers “alarming. If indeed they were resisting arrest, or if there were any other kinds of crimes being committed that would call for that kind of aggressiveness, you would expect to see a correlation in arrests,” he said. “Instead, we see the total opposite.”
  That’s right, if only all the riff-raff could be legitimately arrested and gotten out-of-the-way?
Police officials also noted complaints, filed last year with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent panel that investigates complaints of excessive force, were at the lowest level since 2003, and only a tiny fraction of those were substantiated. But many citizens interviewed by The Times said they had either never heard of the board, or did not believe complaining would do any good. Those interviewed said the use of force seldom led to physical injuries. No, The Times would never accuse the police of violence with the intent to not leave marks. No, not in this country. Ha! ?
  The Times interviewed dozens of people in the 32nd, 44th, 46th and 113th Precincts who told stories of physical encounters with the police. Many said they were stopped multiple times without any force. But if they displayed any resistance, even verbally, like asking why they were stopped, the police sometimes got rough. Corroborating their stories is difficult because police data does not name those stopped or the officers making the stops. When most-likely computerized visual documentation of every action an officer is involved in is possible. What, something profiteers can wait to get their hands around when there are so many other ways to lucratively squeeze the public? So why wouldn’t the officer on the street want in on the action? Humans aren’t that complex. Most of what anyone does is for kicks no matter how our actions are rationalized otherwise.
  The presence of impact squads in high-crime areas is not enough to explain why force is used so often in some precincts. The 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn, has the city’s highest violent crime rate, and the police stop residents at nearly three times the rate as in the 44th and 46th Precincts. Yet the police used force in only 14 percent of stops in Brownsville last year, well below the city average.
  State Senator José R. Peralta, a Democrat of Queens whose district includes the 115th, said he was already concerned by the high number of stops taking place in the area. But he said he was surprised to learn, from a Times reporter, how many of those encounters involved physical force.
“Those are very troubling statistics,” he said. “The community has some pockets of high crime,” he added, but the overall amount does not correspond “to the extent of the force being used.”
  So, we need to protect the police to protect us and, if nothing is done about adversarial justice, nothing will be done as has happened for centuries now under our lazy haphazard system of self-righteous ignorance of what crime should actually be defined as by the state. Amen.
Month Day - ..., 2019
Legal Physicians Heal Thyselves?
8/15/2012 concluded: So, we need to protect the police to protect us and, if nothing is done about adversarial justice, nothing will be done as has happened for centuries now under our lazy haphazard system of self-righteous ignorance of what crime should actually be defined as by the state. Amen.


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