Cops are here to protect you. (#4)

Cops are here to protect you from anonymous 13 year old shoplifters by slamming them down to the ground, choking them, punching them, handcuffing them, and torturing them with 50,000-volt electric shocks. Here’s the latest from Niagara Falls, New York:

This is what happened to 13-year-old Dominic Gualttieri after he says police stopped him outside a laundromat and accused him of shoplifting.

Dominic Gualttieri said, He asked for my name and I’m like, I’m a kid you don’t know, you don’t need to know my name because I didn’t do anything.

— Alysha Palumbo, WIVB Buffalo (2008-05-07): Niagara Falls teenager claims police brutality

Confused and enraged by some punk kid actually acting like he belongs to himself and not to the police, here is what the cops did:

What happened next shocked one man so much he took pictures of the melee.

Witness: They threw him on the ground. They tased him. They choked him. They punched him.

I can still hear his voice. His scream was like a scream of death. A 13-year-old boy should not be screaming like that.

— Alysha Palumbo, WIVB Buffalo (2008-05-07): Niagara Falls teenager claims police brutality

The pigs, of course, have tried to defend this over-the-top violence by saying that it was all done By The Book (which of course makes it O.K.), and pointing out that Officer Jack Miljour ended up a broken bone in his left arm during the struggle. Or rather, Officer Jack Miljour got a fractured elbow in his effort to beat up an unarmed boy and wrestle him to the pavement. Thus Officer Jack Miljour needed to gang up with his buddy in order to beat up a 13 year old boy, slam him on the ground, torture him with 50,000-volt electric shocks, choke him, and punch him, in order to to hold the youth down so he could get control and handcuff him. Why the fuck they needed to force a 13 year old boy down and handcuff him in the first place, or how this could be even remotely proportional to any offense that he may have committed, is, strange to say, left completely unexplained. Perhaps because it is supposed to be so obvious. I mean, hell, if they didn’t, he might have possibly have gotten away while still suspected of ganking an energy drink. This, in the minds of Niagara Falls Police, is doing what had to be done.

As a result, the 13-year-old boy who was beaten and tasered by the cops is being charged with assault.

Self-identified professional special-ed childcare worker Lori, of Buffalo, New York, has this to add to WIVB’s comments thread on the story:

For starters, this kid should have been taught to have respect for adults, especially a police officer!! He was simply asked his name. He needed to answer accordingly. Your first mistake kid! And the abuse issue? I work in a program that deals with children ages 5-12 with behavioral issues. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of the 5 yr olds or 12 yr olds, if they’re having a bad day and start to go off, it sometimes takes 3 adults to get them under control and that’s without a laser [sic] gun! If this kid’s adrenaline was flowing, I’m sure those officers could have used more help to subdue this mouthy kid.

And freelance sado-fascist bully boy Tax Paying Citizen, of Cranbury, New Jersey, would like to say:

Well, next time a peace officer asks for his name, maybe he will comply.

Damn kids with their parents supporting their insubordination to law enforcment…

— Tax Paying Citizen, (2008-05-08): Re: WIVB Buffalo: Niagara Falls teenager claims police brutality

Please note that, in the minds of those who rush to defend cops from police brutality allegations, you and I and our neighbors ought to make sure we act as subordinates to government peace officers.

And that the threat of assault and battery is a good way to ensure that we comply with our superiors’ arbitrary commands.

There is a lot more to add here, but honestly I just can’t. I’m much too angry, and much too tired, to say much of anything more, and whatever else I could say would hardly be anything new. For what I might say, by way of analysis and context, just re-read:

It’s the same God-damned thing every day, so going on about it any further would just be so much cut-and-paste.

Support your local CopWatch.

(Story thanks to Mike Gogulski.)

25 replies to Cops are here to protect you. (#4) Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. nicole

    Oh. My. God.

    I am terrified of the people in that comments thread. One reasonable person says you might not want to give your name if you did anything wrong, and mentions a friend of hers died in custody of the NFPD due to “negligence,” and “no scums allowed” replied:

    ur friend probably deserved it like that kid did! he >should be suckin air through a tube in icu. at least >his dumb a*# is smart enough now to tell the cops his >name. good job to nfpd, keep up the great work and bash these lowlife suckas back to reality.

    And of course, someone else thinks kids should learn to follow laws just like they learn to follow rules in school. Guess that’s where people are getting indoctrinated with this kind of disgusting authoritarianism. How anyone can “respect” a cop like that is beyond me.

  2. John Markley

    I’m accustomed to this sort of mindless, reflexive support for the police, but it’s still shocking to see people openly expressing this sort of glee at the prospect of a child being injured and tormented. And one of them actually works with kids, and kids who probably have troubled backgrounds or mental problems at that? Jesus.

    It actually seems quite common for victims of police brutality to be charged with assault or resisting arrest. I assume it’s legal ass-covering, the bureaucratic equivalent of planting drugs in the house after someone gets killed in a wrong-door raid. Or maybe the kid had the temerity to bleed on one of his assailants.

  3. JOR

    “Or maybe the kid had the temerity to bleed on one of his assailants.”

    He broke the poor widdle piggie’s arm by repeatedly hitting his fist with his body.

    The bastard.

  4. Rad Geek

    John,

    Honestly? I’m not shocked at all. Disgusted, yes, but not shocked.

    The reason I’m not shocked is that I hear those kind of comments all the time from people I know, and in pop culture, in the form of jokes, threats, and serious arguments, when it comes to parents beating up their children as punishment, or as a method of discipline. It’s not hard, for those who believe in using that kind of violent authoritarianism to subdue insubordinate, mouthy kids, to transfer that idea from the authority of parents to the authority of the cops. (Notice that several of the commenters effectively say that the cops had to beat this kid up because his parents weren’t doing it at home.)

  5. Rad Geek

    JOR,

    For what it’s worth, my own (as-yet unconfirmed) suspicion is that the cop broke a bone by banging it on the pavement while shoving the kid down and trying to cuff him. Reason being that the cops sound like they’re being deliberately vague about just how the bone-breaking happened in the struggle (i.e., beating), and also because it turns out that the specific injury turns out to be a fractured elbow, which sounds like something much more easily broken, when you’re on top of somebody and trying to hold him down on the ground, by smashing it into the ground, than by a blow.

  6. Mike Gogulski

    Rad Geek said:

    parents beating up “their” children

    You’ve expressed a mouthful with those little quotation marks. It took most of a century for the idea that women should not be men’s property to become part of the zeitgeist. It’s likely to take much longer for the reality that children are not property, either, to become the part of the basis for our demented “common sense”.

  7. Aster

    Thank you, Mike, for saying that. Goddess bless.

  8. JOR

    Doesn’t it follow from libertarian principles that children are the property of their parents (or at least of their mothers)?

  9. Rad Geek

    JOR,

    That’s only a viable option if you believe that people can be property. I don’t, and a lot of libertarians don’t, either.

    Rothbard’s view, which I agree with in outline, is not that children are the property of their parents but rather that parents exercise the rights inherent in child’s self-ownership as trustees for the child, until the child takes overt steps towards exercising it for herself. Thus the child owns itself, to the extent that anybody does, just as the money in a trust fund belongs to the beneficiary, but parents have the authority to act as a stand-in on behalf of the child in dealing with how her own person ought to be handled, especially while the child is not yet old enough to express her own will in language or deliberate action.

    But what follows is that (1) the parents have certain duties of trust towards the child (e.g. they cannot use their authority over her to beat her up or to rape her, without thereby nullifying any claim to trusteeship that they may have had), and (2) the child has a right to revoke their trusteeship and act solely on her own behalf, or to vest trusteeship with different adults, whenever she is able to meaningfully express a will to do so. (Thus, for example, a child retains the right to run away, i.e. leave freely, without being forced back into the home she is trying to escape under Fugitive Child Laws. The child can either try to make it on her own, or can move in with caring adults that she likes better than the ones who became her guardians by default.)

    The distinction here is an important one because if the child is property of the parents, there’s no good way of explaining why she ever ceases to be their property, and also no limits on what the parents can do to her while she remains their property. (For example, you have a right to smash any property that belongs to you alone. Thus if parents own a child, they would have the old paterfamilias right of life and death over her.) To justify the claim that children have any rights at all against parents, they must already have self-ownership, and any authority parents have to stand in their place for purposes of exercising self-ownership must be delegated, rather than intrinsic, authority.

    The upshot of all this is that parents can exercise authority over children, on their children’s behalf, but only so long as the children want to remain under their parents’ care. If their considered decision is to leave the home then they are free to take up responsibility for their own life, and cannot rightfully be stopped by adults imprisoning, beating, or capturing and forcibly returning them. They belong to themselves, not their parents, and parents’ rights, if they have any, are derivative of the child’s own rights (either by homesteading an open claim for caregiving, when the child cannot express decisions on her own, or by the ongoing consent of the child to act as her agent, when the child has reached the age of reason).

  10. Anok

    Un-freaking-believable. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by all of this, but still…every time I hear it I can’t help myself.

    Thuggery, legal thuggery, and I protest it every day, whenever I can. Oi….paired up with your other posts….I’m glad I have no respect for this type of authority. I’ll have none of it!

  11. JOR

    Well Charles, I more or less agree with you, I just think I’m a deviant from pure libertarianism on this issue (just like I’m a deviant from pure libertarianism on the permissibility of hiring assassins to murder people). On consistent libertarian principles as I understand them, people, or at least their bodies, can be property. (In fact, on consistent libertarian principles, states may well own everyone born in their jurisdiction or at least everything in it, depending on how responsible the current consituents and employees of the state are for the crimes that attended the state’s formation 200+ years ago).

    Anyway, deviating from pure libertarianism is really not something that bothers me. Coherency of beliefs is important; consistently lining up with some thing called “libertarianism”, isn’t so much. I’m more than willing to admit that Blockian lunacy represents true libertarianism and that I’m not a true libertarian. I still am what I am.

  12. Aster

    I think ‘Blockian lunacy’ probably represents true ‘libertarianism’, if libertarianism is the floating abstraction theory of human rights as property rights formulated by Murray Rothbard upon a tacitly conservative view of human nature and society.

    But if ‘libertarianism’ is the name for a politics consistenly and passionately devoted to human liberty and the values it requires and presupposes, then ‘Blockian lunacy’ is not libertarianism but a dangerous pretender to the concept. The problem becomes then that the name of liberty has been stolen by a particular theory which does not well preserve or articulate it.

    I think shying away from theoretical consistency is a disastrous move- but I also think that when the need for it emerges it shows that there are problems with the relevant theory. The trouble is that a proper libertarian would begin with the curiosity and passion of the human child and would keep that image at its core, and any theory of property rights would be centered on the needs of the individual to develop and explore her talents and faculties.

    It would side not with the propertied party but with the individual trying to act and think for herself, and naturally turn against all social systems and moral codes which distrust and constrain the human spirit. It would be progressive in a non-Christian manner- i.e., it would actively fight oppression without a moral romanticisation of suffering and a suspicion of prosperity and pleasure as the corollaries of oppression.

    I see elements of this potential worldview within Randianism, libertarianism, left-anarchism, feminism, counterculturalism, and modern liberalism. But none of them articulate it fully and all mix it with elements which act to disempower actually existing individuals. Each is at is best when used by real individualists and focused on opposing a particular evil destructive to the individual spirit, but all of them are vulnerable to infiltration by different kinds of illiberal attitudes. Within libertarianism, this occurs in the form of those who oppose statism because they see in it a countervailing power to their tradition, authority, and conformity. Parents and especially fathers who fear that the state will expose the children to a wider and wilder world which will undermine their control are one of these constituencies.

    Those who believe in the spirit and sense of life behind liberty as is might be and ought to be need a new political theory, the name and form of which does not yet exist. The need for such a thing is once again desperate.

  13. Rad Geek

    JOR,

    Anyway, deviating from pure libertarianism is really not something that bothers me. Coherency of beliefs is important; consistently lining up with some thing called libertarianism, isn’t so much.

    Well, I agree with you about that, but I don’t yet understand what’s motivating the claim that “consistently lining up with some thing called ‘libertarianism’” necessarily requires endorsing the claim that self-ownership is alienable.

    What standard of purity is being employed to determine that the (Blockhead) alienabilist position is the pure one, and the (Rothbardian) inalienabilist position is the impure one?

    I don’t think there’s anything in libertarianism per se that requires you to believe that all property rights are alienable. In point of fact, my own understanding is that the inalienability of self-ownership is the primary principle of libertarian rights theory, and that any alienable natural property rights which we may have derive from the inalienability of self-ownership.

  14. Natasha

    Charles,

    I agree with your view of youth rights. I once tried to help find Greyhound Bus tickets for a friend trying to escape her home. She was 17, and it might have worked, but her mother threatened to sic the cops on the friend’s parent that had let her stay in their home.

    I’ve contemplated trying to go for a Phd, and I’ve thought about writing a radical left-libertarian anarchist view of youth freedom.

    I don’t think there is enough left-libertarian anarchist literature on this crucial topic.

    Oh. And I entirely agree with Aster about Walter Block. The man describes running away from “voluntary slavery” as theft of services!

    Christ. With “allies” like that, who needs enemies?

  15. steven

    Charles, I’m curious about your position regarding a child running away from home, say in a non-abusive situation. Would you view this as terminating the parent’s responsibility for caring for the child? What if the child changed their mind and wanted to return to the home?

  16. Rad Geek

    steven,

    Yes, I think that if a child chooses to leave home, then that ends the parents’ responsibilities of caregiving. If the child changes her mind later and wants to return home, then the parents have a right not to take her back in, if they so choose. (That’s not to say that they don’t have any moral calling to do so; I think they do. But a calling of compassion, not a calling of justice.)

    For what it’s worth, that last answer is just a special case of a more general principle: I think that the parents always have a right to abandon responsibilities of caregiving, of their own accord, even without the child having chosen to leave the house. (For very young children, considerations of proportionality would require that they make some effort to turn the child over to a willing alternative caregiver, rather than just exposing it out in the woods. For older children there’s a correspondingly weaker duty, to the extent that the child can make it by her own devices.) Again, I think parents have a moral calling not to act like that, but I don’t think that trying to force someone who would rather abandon their child, to take care of her instead, would serve anybody’s interests, or the interests of justice.

    Natasha,

    Concerning your friend’s situation: appalling, but (sadly) all too unsurprising. There have been many people who have tried to create grassroots refuges for street kids and kids trying to flee an abusive or otherwise intolerable home — the equivalent of battered women’s shelters, but for youth trying to escape abusive or otherwise intolerable guardians. Of course, every time somebody tries, they get threatened and quickly shut down by the cops. Because the State would rather operate through bureaucracy and professional busybodies who force their way into socioeconomically suspect homes and rescue children or teens in peril. Rather than actually respecting children or teens enough to attend to the desires and needs that they express, through their chosen words and their deliberate actions.

    There will come a day when the phrase runaway child will strike the same moral tone, in people’s ears, as the phrase fugitive slave. I only hope that it is soon.

  17. Soviet Onion

    Chris,

    Well gee, I guess even slave-status is too good for those punk kids. The only proper remedy for their insubornation is the kind of treatment commonly reserved for cattle and dogs.

  18. Aster

    “There will come a day when the phrase runaway child will strike the same moral tone, in people’s ears, as the phrase fugitive slave. I only hope that it is soon.”

    Thank you for saying this. My father used to taunt me at least once a week with the impossibility of running away or surviving on my own, precisely because of the laws and customs which made independence impossible and ensured that ‘decent’ people would consider children parential property, not human beings in their own right.

    Every human being begins life as a child. When human beings are taught that individuality and social citizenship begins as soon as they are asked for, and thus it ceases to be that every adult must pass through a period of acculturation to servitude before being allowed the formal status of freedom- then and only then will tyranny become a memory. Today, nearly every adult even in a liberal society has the psychological shadow of tyranny as their first reference. Collectivism and authoritarianism thus feel natural to us, the first place we return to in times of stress and fear. Liberal socities are so fragile largely because we build them upon the foundations of millions of little patriarchal household dictatorships. We teach each person to be property for their first decade and a half and then wonder why it is so difficult to sustain a free society.

  19. steven

    I have to admit, Charles, that I have some serious misgivings regarding your statement that parents always have the right to abondon their responsibilities for caregiving, even when the child did not choose to leave (though I’m always open to persuation). The fact that the child did not consent to being brought into the world and, in almost every case, the parents actions which brought the child into the world were strictly voluntary, weigh heavily on my thinking.

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