To-day in Auburn there was a protest in front of the Auburn Police Department headquarters. About 40-50 of us gathered at the intersection of Glenn and Ross to call for justice for Melissa Boarts, to call for a serious investigation into the police’s role in the death of Recco Cobb, to protest police brutality and the unchecked use of force by Auburn police. The Boarts family was there; the family of other victims of police shootings were there; Bishop Arthur Dowdell was there. I heard about it from my wife who saw the beginnings of the protest around 3:00; I headed down and picked up a sign and we protested until about 5:30.
We want the unedited bodycam and dashcam footage released. We want the names of the cops who shot Melissa Boarts released. We want cops held accountable and an end to the culture of secrecy and impunity around the police’s use of force.
The headline is more predictable than Dog Bites Man. If you programmed a Police Shooting Response robot that took police shooting reports as input and produced a claim of justification 100% of the time, only filling in the blanks with facts taken from the input and not adjusting the template in the slightest, you’d get the same headlines that you actually get from local police statements. Based on the extremely limited information that has been released so far, it’s possible that the police went overboard even by their own standards; it’s also perfectly possible that when the dash cam and body cam footage is released, it will turn out that the killing meets the police’s internal standards for justification — but if so, the police standards themselves are the problem. We don’t know how much police officers knew about how she was armed. The weapon that La Jura keeps talking about, always as a quote-unquote weapon without further clarification, was actually a small knife. Melissa’s parents and their lawyer say that they told the 911 dispatch that she had a knife; police claim that when she got out of the car they didn’t know what weapon she had in her hand. It may be that she brandished the knife in a way that would meet the police’s policies for using lethal force against her. But if so, then morally I think the problem with police procedures is that they take no real account of who initiated the confrontation, who escalated it, what other less-forceful options were available. We have here a case in which police pursued a woman who had committed no crime, followed her car for miles out of their own jurisdiction and into Macon County, cornered her when they were told she was upset and panicked and lightly armed, and then shot her to death when, they claim, she charged them. For ordinary people like you or me, a claim of self-defense requires that someone else is the aggressor; but police standards never take that into account.
Stories on the police shooting, what the police claim they knew, and what the family says they know about what happened, have appeared in the Huntsville Times (April 4), the Montgomery Advertiser (April 5), and The World According to Vladimir Putin (April 5). According to the Opelika-Auburn News (April 7), the family was desperately trying to reach Melissa’s car on the highway but the police cornered her and shot her before they could arrive; the OA News story also reports that there is both dash cam footage and body cam footage of the confrontation and the shooting. But the footage was given to the Alabama SBI, so that state police can investigate local police, and will not be released to the public until or unless the Macon County District Attorney decides that it should be. (The Macon County DA is putatively in charge of this decision because Auburn police followed her out of Auburn and pursued her on the highway into Macon County, where they shot her.)
Auburn police shot and killed a woman yesterday afternoon just off of I-85. Her name was Melissa Boarts; she was a 36 year old woman from Montgomery. They were chasing her because they got vague reports over the wire that she might be suicidal. So they chased her car for miles, followed her out into Macon County. Then when she stopped they got out and confonted her, and then they killed her.
Auburn police disclosed today that two cops shot at her; they claim that she had a gun and she charged the officers in a threatening manner when the cops came out to confront her.
Officers will have 100 contacts per month, minimum … 40 of those may be warnings for traffic, the other 60 will be divided between: traffic citations, non-traffic citations, field interviews and custodial arrests …. Do not be the one that does not get 100.
Oh, hey, look, my hometown’s in the national news again. This time it’s for the contact quotas handed down from the police division’s chain of command. The requirements for ticketing and arrest quotas required more contacts every year than there are people in the city of Auburn. The story has hit the news because Justin Hanners, a former police officer in Auburn, says that he was fired by the police department in retaliation against his objections to the quota policy, and to the over-use of police force and arrests that it was producing. After making some contact with local CopBlockers in Auburn, Hanners got his story to Reason TV.
Back in 2010, when Chief Dawson came in, immediately afterward, they started telling us that we had to have two tickets a day and two warnings a day on average and if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t get promoted, we would get bad evaluations and if we continued to not do it, we would get written up and ultimately fired, Hanners said in a phone interview with the Opelika-Auburn News.
Hanners said he initially wrote a complaint about what he thought of the alleged quotas, but was soon suspended for other reasons and put on bike duty.
They went back seven months on my computer where I told a joke to another officer and suspended me for four days and made me forfeit two days of annual leave, Hanners said, who added the other officer was not punished.
Hanners said while on bike duty, which he claimed involved patrolling the interior of Auburn University, he was still force[d] to comply with the alleged quotas.
By directives, I’m not even supposed to be writing tickets, but my supervisor told me in my bike duty that I had to have just as many tickets as officers in cars, Hanners said.
To make 100 contacts, which include among others, traffic stops, issuing warrants, field interviews and arrests, requires about two contacts per shift hour. Making two contacts per hour is not unreasonable and still seems to leave a lot of time to perform other duties that are detailed in your job description. Your supervisors as well as I have an expectation that each employee needs to be productive during their time on shift.
“Well, the day my grievance was over, I get called into the Chief’s office, and was told that some evidence I presented was from an internal affairs investigation and the gag order had been placed and I wasn’t supposed to have it. So then the Chief, who is the suspect in my grievance, now starts an internal affairs investigation into me and my partner to see if we somehow compromised his own investigation into his own wrongdoing where he had found he had done nothing wrong. So in this investigation, they found that we had violated a gag order and that I had violated the city’s reporting policy by reporting these people. And they ultimately fired me for it and suspended my partner who gave me a statement that said everything I was saying was true.”
To-day’s clipped stories, from the Opelika Auburn News (September 20, 2012).
Front Page. Nothing to clip here, actually. The biggest real estate is occupied by a story about how some super-millionaire said something in private that turned out to be aired in public that may or may not hurt his chances on the margin in his attempt to go from being one of the most massively privileged people in the entire world to the single most massively privileged person in the entire world. This may or may not help out the chances of his super-millionaire opponent to remain the most massively privileged person in the entire world, if it convinces more people that the super-millionaire challenger cares less about ordinary folks than the incumbent super-millionaire does. Somebody is supposed to care about this. I don’t: it couldn’t possibly matter less how much the most massively privileged person in the entire world cares, or who he or she cares about, because the existence of such massive, ruinous and lethal structures of social and economic privilege is exactly the problem, and it is the one problem which such debates over the less-worse of a pair of party-backed super-millionaires will never raise.
Bo has a nose for finding trouble. But in his line of work, that’s a good thing.
The Auburn Police Division welcomed Bo, an 11-month-old Belgian Malinois, to the force on Wednesday.
Trained in both narcotics detection and human tracking, Bo was officially introduced to members of the media at Auburn Technology Park North.
For years, we have called on (Lee County) Sheriff Jay Jones and (Opelika Police) Chief Thomas Mangham for use of their tracking K-9s, for which we’re thankful, but we felt like it was time for us to have our own, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson. We’re very excited about putting this dog to work.
… Dawson said Bo was purchased last month from the Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officers Training Center in Northport with approximately $10,000 in seized assets from drug arrests.
… The acquisition of Bo puts the APD’s number of K-9 officers at four, said Dawson, a former K-9 handler.
–Donathan Prater, Bo’s nose: Auburn police get new K-9 tracker. Opelika-Auburn News, September 20, 2012. A2.
Well, that’s a damn shame. The primary purpose that they will use Bo for, as they use all police dogs, will be to provide pretexts to justify what are essentially random sweeps, searches and seizures; to harass, intimidate and coerce innocent people on easily fabricated, often mistaken and incredibly thinprobable cause, with the minutest of ritual gestures at a sort of farce on due process, in order to prosecute a Drug War that doesn’t need to be prosecuted and to imprison, disenfranchise, and ruin the lives of people who have done nothing at all that merits being imprisoned, disenfranchised, or having their lives ruined by tyrannical drug laws. It’s not the dog’s fault, of course; he looks like a perfectly nice dog. But the people who bought him (with the proceeds from their own search-n-seizure racket), and who are using him, are putting him to a violent and degrading use, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Op-Ed Page, 4A. Muslim religion should be feared in US. Rudy Tidwell, of Valley, a God-and-Country fixture on the Op-Ed page, decides that he doesn’t like Church-State integrationists when they aren’t part of his favorite church. Then, by means of an insanely ambitious collectivism, he assimilates the actions of his least favorite hypercollectivists to the thoughts and feelings of literally all 1,600,000,000 (he rounds up to 2 billion) Muslims in the world.
The phrase Arab Spring has become a catchphrase for the media and other liberals to minimize the real dangers of the actual enemy of America. The so-called Arab Spring is actually a Muslim Spring, meaning that the growing takeovers we see in various Middle Eastern countries are Muslims rising up worldwide.
Why is this aspect of the Middle East unrest not recognized for what it is? The euphemism made between so-called radical Muslims and peaceful Muslims. Islam is a dangerous body of more than 2 billion people who are determined to convert or kill, and there is no compromise to be made?
It’s not just a few radical Muslims who make terrorist attacks. How then do you account for the fact that when the attacks on 9/11 occurred, Muslims around the world rejoiced and danced in the streets?
More recent events in Libya and Egypt have been recognized as and declared to be planned attacks, not benign protests. Were all the people burning the embassies and tearing down and burning the American flags peace-loving Muslims?
We have a growing number of Muslims in the United States. There are enclaves of Muslims who rule with rigid and brutal Shariah law. Dearborn, Mich, is perhaps the most notable. Muslims are entering the U.S. in numbers that would shock us if we knew the full extent.
I encourage you to get a copy of the Quran and read it. It is a frightening book that demands faithfulness to its teachings to the point of death. It is the guide book for a worldwide takeover, not by reason and diplomacy as Communism said it would do over time, but by conversion or death.
Rudy Tidwell Valley
Well, then. 2,000,000,000? Really? Did they all do the converting and killing and rejoicing and dancing all at once, or do they maybe take it in turns? Well I suppose the gigantic hive mind that they all link up to when they join that dangerous body no doubt ensures that such problems of coordination don’t really arise.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton announced that he was signing the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill outlawing same-sex marriages, but said it should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians.
In 2011, repeal of the U.S. military’s 18-year-old don’t ask, don’t tell compromise took effect, allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.
Section A contains no international news at all today, unless you count the collecto-eliminationist letter from Rudy Tidwell on the Op-Ed page.
[Sic. Of course what he means, as he makes clear, is the enemy of the United States government. Which is not true either, but in any case obviously not the same thing. –RG.]↩
[Sic. Of course all governments are usurpers, and thus are ongoing takeovers by nature. That includes transitional and revolutionary states; on the other hand it also obviously includes the hyperauthoritarian regimes recently challenged or thrown out. What the hell was the Mubarak regime, say, if not a constantly repeated, jackbooted takeover of innocent people’s lives? –RG.]↩
[Sic. What he describes is not a euphemism, but rather a distinction that he regards as being misapplied. –RG.]↩
[Rudy Tidwell is speaking outside of his area of expertise. –RG.]↩