Thursday, October 31, 2013

The militarization of law enforcement


From Salon:
Sal Culosi is dead because he bet on a football game — but it wasn’t a bookie or a loan shark who killed him. His local government killed him, ostensibly to protect him from his gambling habit. 
Several months earlier at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. “To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends,” a friend of Culosi’s told me shortly after his death. “None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation.” Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team. 
On the night of January 24, 2006, Baucum called Culosi and arranged a time to drop by to collect his winnings. When Culosi, barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and jeans, stepped out of his house to meet the man he thought was a friend, the SWAT team began to move in. Seconds later, Det. Deval Bullock, who had been on duty since 4:00 AM and hadn’t slept in seventeen hours, fired a bullet that pierced Culosi’s heart. 
Sal Culosi’s last words were to Baucum, the cop he thought was a friend: “Dude, what are you doing?” 
In March 2006, just two months after its ridiculous gambling investigation resulted in the death of an unarmed man, the Fairfax County Police Department issued a press release warning residents not to participate in office betting pools tied to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The title: “Illegal Gambling Not Worth the Risk.” Given the proximity to Culosi’s death, residents could be forgiven for thinking the police department believed wagering on sports was a crime punishable by execution. 
In January 2011, the Culosi family accepted a $2 million settlement offer from Fairfax County. That same year, Virginia’s government spent $20 million promoting the state lottery.

Maybe it's just me, but I really don't like trust our government much anymore. There are of course, many brave and honest and good cops (I have a beloved nephew who is a cop), and many fine folks working in government. But bad stuff is happening.

Juvenal asked: who will guard the guardians?

27 comments:

  1. Not trusting the government is a good thing. The government hasn't earned our trust. It's done a lot of things to be tray it.

    >>If you like your plan, you can keep it.<<

    JQ

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    1. My distrust of the government is the number one reason why I don't want them more involved in health care. Less involved would be fine, thank you.

      Joey

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  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    The last few years, I have been concerned about the circumstances surrounding some high-profile "terrorist" arrests. These "stings" are often arranged end-to-end by the FBI. Is this not entrapment?

    Was Culosi not entrapped, then shot to death by the police?

    Was an unarmed young woman with a child in a carrier seat not shot to death in Washington DC streets?

    Why did a SWAT team open fire on a unarmed father of four after setting the house on fire with a flashbang grenade and smashing down his door in a nocturnal "raid"? A man who was "mistakenly identified" as a suspect in a murder case...

    And why are police tactical teams being expanded and equipped with full-bore military equipment. The Portland police are driving an M113 armored personnel carrier. Citizens and state legislators across the country are concerned that DHS is actively helping police departments buy military drones.

    Meanwhile, real terrorists were living in Boston, attending university on the public dime, and collecting welfare checks.

    Meanwhile, old women and toddlers are technologically strip-searced in airports.

    Meanwhile, the middle east burns, reliable middle eastern allies are peeling off, and demented mullahs are developing nuclear weapons.

    Meanwhile, EPA SWAT teams are invading tiny Alaskan hamlets and terrorizing the inhabitants.

    It's change you can believe in.

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  3. For once I largely agree. Of course it’s Bush and the rights fault, by turning the response to 9-11 into a perpetual war on a tactic and doing nothing to rein in the gun epidemic that has turned our police into a bunch of cowardly pussies. I get that you need to make up elaborate conspiracy theories so that you can look at yourself in the mirror without puking, but there’s no need for a Marxist Muslim Manchurian candidate from Kenya conspiracy theory here (I know it’s easy to go there, he is black after all).

    -KW

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      Popeye: "Of course it’s Bush and the rights fault..."

      We knew that.

      Poor little President Jeebus McLightworker just can't stand up to the mighty forces unleashed by the evil mind waves of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

      Delete
    2. And the non-judicial assassination of foreigners has increased mightily (up 400%) under DroneFührer Barry, and the vast majority are innocent civilians.

      CNN article "Drone is Obama's weapon of choice": "And while under Bush, about a third of all drone strikes killed a militant leader, compared to less than 13% since President Obama took office."

      Delete
    3. Funny how killing terrorists becomes “non-judicial assassination of foreigners” with Obama in office. So which are you, terrorist lover or principleless opportunistic hypocrite?

      -KW

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    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      Popeye: "So which are you, terrorist lover or principleless opportunistic hypocrite?"

      Is this your day in charge of selecting the available choices?

      Delete
    5. KW, the rush toward a security state was a bipartisan affair. Obama, who is still adored by the mainstream left, has thrown it into hyperdrive.

      Patriot Act renewed? Check. Drone warfare? Check. Spying on American citizens? Check. TSA patdowns? Check. Full body scanners? Check. Reading people's mail? Check. Spying on European allies? Check.

      Sounds like you're the opportunist. It's time to abandon him while you still have a little soul left.

      As John Cusak once said: >>dems ? Do U have any thoughts on Obama's transition from a progressive academic humanist 2 a regressive corporate warlord?<<

      JQ

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  4. This is the almost inevitable result of slashing police budgets and making policing for profit the standard. Police officers have every incentive to go after easy money making opportunities where assets can be seized and used to pay for law enforcement goodies.

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      I'll bet that if you do the math, police budgets have not been "slashed".

      The total funding has probably increased, but has been moved from the police operating budget to the police retirement fund. And, at least in the case of Detroit, the retirement fund was then raided on a regular basis to cut so-called "13th checks".

      Delete
    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      And, by the way, I agree with you completely about seizure laws. They should be repealed immediately.

      Delete
    3. I'll bet that if you do the math, police budgets have not been "slashed".

      I'll bet you're wrong. http://www.governing.com/news/local/mct-more-residents-cities-hiring-private-security.html

      Delete
    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Sorry, but your link does not even address my point. To wit:

      The total funding has probably increased, but has been moved from the police operating budget to the police retirement fund

      "Stockton, Calif., [mentioned in your link] declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy last year after suffering one of the country’s sharpest riches-to-rags swings when the mortgage bubble burst. Struggling to stay afloat, Stockton has slashed tens of millions of dollars’ worth of city services — firefighters, senior centers, library programs for at-risk children — and said it would cut its municipal bond repayments to a degree never seen before in a municipal bankruptcy.

      But it has drawn the line at slowing down its current workers’ pension accrual, or cutting the benefits its retirees now receive." (NYT 3/24/2013)

      My point, exactly.
      .

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    5. Sorry, but your link does not even address my point.

      Actually, it does, but as usual, you're too dim to figure it out. Budgets have been cut. Money has not been moved from operation to retirement. The operating budget was cut and retirement stayed the same, mostly because the retirement budgets are mandated obligations. Maybe being in the bathtub so long has waterlogged your brain?

      Delete
    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Nobody: "Actually, it does"

      Actually, it doesn't, Pension obligations can be reduced and shifted to operations by reducing taxpayer pension contributions going forward. No need to review existing contracts, although that definitely should be done, too.

      Is it more important to protect police retirement benefits or the citizens the police are hired to protect in the first place? It's simply a matter of priorities.

      Delete
  5. This aspect of the police state is just the visible tip of the iceberg.
    The prison industry is just under the surface, but this control ideology goes MUCH deeper.
    What I find truly alarming are the briefs I have seen being given to folks in the military. They are being leaked all over the place by outraged service members. There are even videos and audio being released. Some of the stuff I have seen come across my desk is truly hair raising. As a military officer and a Canadian, I could not imagine some of these directives even being considered here...and NEVER would have imagined them in the USA.
    Re Blaming Bush: Pathetic. Deal with the present, KW. The history of who did what can be sorted out once the juggernaut has been stopped. If you don't stop it, your kids will never know it.
    That means you need to focus on the current aspiring tyrants

    "'He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
    Orwell

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      C-Rex to Popeye: "If you don't stop it, your kids will never know it."

      Sir, the mere thought of Popeye spawning makes my blood run cold. Please tell me he's removed himself from the gene pool.

      Delete
    2. Re Blaming Bush: Pathetic.

      Or, you know, accurate, since it was a major Bush and Republican initiative to privatize government services and activities, such as relying upon government contractors rather than military personnel to wage war and contracting with private companies to provide prisons. The charge to privatize the provision of government services and transform things that should not be done for profit into profit making opportunities for businesses has been led by Republicans, and a major leader in that charge was Bush.

      Delete
    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyOctober 31, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      Nice sermon, but what does it have to to with excessive use of force by police? It wasn't "privatized" police who entrapped and murdered Culosi.

      Delete
    4. Sorry what? I was too busy twerking and watching MTV.

      -KW

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    5. Anon,

      You'd have to go a lot further back than Bush to see when the rot set in. My point is not that this or that politician is blameless. Rather, that ALL of them are to blame and the focus should be on the ones in current power.
      Did you read the Salon article? Did you note the section on how partisanship is being used to install this agenda?
      Look up Georg Hegel. His work on the dialectic of history will give you a pretty clear image of how you're being played.

      KW,
      "Sorry what? I was too busy twerking and watching MTV."
      ♫ In the Navy ♫

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    6. "Sir, the mere thought of Popeye spawning makes my blood run cold. Please tell me he's removed himself from the gene pool."

      Amd, I think our lonely fellow in the leaky boat may be able to reproduce asexually.
      So, perhaps the term 'kids' was a stretch.
      'Offspring' may have been the word I was actually looking for.
      But, you never know... he may actually be a hominid of some sort and he is just playing at being an invertebrate.

      Delete
  6. I've been saying for a long time that if there is ever a coup (or attempt) in America, it is far more likely to be the militarized police than the military providing the bully-boy muscle to prop up the juanta.

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  7. George W. Bush is now nearly five years gone from the White House. On his parting day he was particularly unpopular because he had alienated most people, including those who once supported him. Five years later, it's okay to talk about the current president. The buck stops with him, or at least it should. Perpetual Bush-blaming is adolescent.

    JQ

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  8. @cREX:
    "Look up Georg Hegel. His work on the dialectic of history will give you a pretty clear image of how you're being played."

    You hit the nail right on the head, sir. Most people share most of the same interests. That they should realize this and work in harmony is an oligarch's worst nightmare. The phony "left-right" narrative is a great way to keep people at each other's throats when they should be allies, and a great way to have two parties push the same agenda while appearing to be at odds with one another.

    JH

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