Response to LAPD Officer "Jack Dunphy" and Blogger Patterico

The LAPD officer who writes under the pseudonym Jack Dunphy and the L.A.-based blogger and prosecutor Patterico have each put up posts taking issue with Brian Doherty's and my criticism of one of Dunphy's posts at National Review Online. Doherty and I both summarized Dunphy's post to say that Dunphy believes the lesson from the Henry Louis Gates affair is that anyone who asserts his constitutional rights when confronted by a cop risks being shot. Patterico and Dunphy both say Doherty and I misread Dunphy.

If Dunphy didn't intend for that to be the point of the post, he should retract it. Because it's difficult to interpret it any other way. Here is the meat of Dunphy's post:

And now we are told, in a further attempt at damage control, that the Gates arrest can serve to educate all those mouth-breathing cops out there who may yet stumble into an unpleasant encounter with some other Ivy Leaguer. It’s our hope, said Gibbs, invoking that insufferable locution that one hopes will soon fade from common usage, that the Gates arrest can be “part of a teachable moment.”

So, since the president is keen on offering instruction, here is what I would advise he teach his Ivy League pals, and anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer: You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing. You may be tooling along on a Sunday drive in your 1932 Hupmobile when, quite unknown to you, someone else in a 1932 Hupmobile knocks off the nearby Piggly Wiggly. A passing police officer sees you and, asking himself how many 1932 Hupmobiles can there be around here, pulls you over. At that moment I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

When the officer has satisfied himself that it was not you and your Hupmobile that were involved in the Piggly Wiggly heist, he owes you an explanation for the stop and an apology for the inconvenience, but if you’re running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression and what have you, you’re likely to get neither.

Emphasis mine. Patterico and Dunphy argue that Dunphy's "lesson" here applies only to the specifics of his hypothetical—that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police. I can't speak for Doherty, but I stand by my original characterization of Dunphy's post, for several reasons.

First, if this was Dunphy's point, it's unclear why he would invoke it in response to the Gates case, where there was no armed robbery, no getaway car, and no specific description of any unusual characteristics. Either he meant for his "lesson" to be applied more broadly, or his entire post was a red herring. 

Second, as emphasized in the excerpt above (a portion that Patterico neglected to include in his post*) Dunphy explicitly sets up the hypothetical by stating that its lesson should be taken to heart by "anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer." In other words, not just people driving 1932 Hupmobiles.   

Third, Dunphy was responding negatively to the idea that the "teachable moment" in all of this ought to be for the police to be more cognizant of our rights, and not make rash arrests or employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn't play a role in the Gates arrest). Dunphy's counter to that sentiment clearly seems to be that if there's a lesson in the Gates arrest, it isn't for cops, it's for everyone else, and the lesson is to avoid "running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression" when you've been confronted by a police officer. Again, to say that Dunphy only intended for that lesson to apply in the very limited scenario in his hypothetical would completely ignore the hypothetical's setup, as well as the national discussion that inspired him to put it up in the first place.

Fourth, even within Dunphy's hypothetical, the innocent driver of the Hupmobile has no idea why he has been pulled over. He doesn't know about the armed robbery, or that the getaway car resembles his own car. This is precisely Dunphy's point. He's arguing that you can't possibly know what's going on in a police officer's head when he stops you or confronts you. You can't know what circumstances led him to stop you. So you'd best just shut up and submit, even he asks you to do something that you aren't obligated to do under the Constitution. Dunphy's using his unlikely hypothetical to plant the threat that any noncompliance with an officer's demands may end with him shooting you. Put another way, because you can't possibly know the reasons why the officer has stopped you, giving lip about your rights may well endanger your life.

Finally, I'd add that I, Doherty, and L.A. Times editor Paul Thornton (also mentioned in Patterico's post) were hardly the only ones who interpreted Dunphy's post this way. Dunphy wrote something rash and provocative (and, frankly, pretty outrageous). He now wants to retreat to a very narrow interpretation of his hypothetical to attack the people who called him on it. The problem for Dunphy is that such an interpretation really makes no sense given the context in which he wrote it.

(*Note: Patterico says he did in fact include this portion of Dunphy's post in his initial post.)

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  • The Angry Optimist||

    HUZZAH!!. I concur entirely - now if I can just lead Patterico by the nose to see those points, too.

  • ||

    There's an ancient tradition that a man's home is his castle. I'll grant that the cops weren't out of line in responding to a 9-11 call and that Gates should've been cooperative in proving he was the homeowner, but there's something wrong with the cops behaving the way they did. In no way do I think being nice or especially cooperative with the police--particularly when standing in your own home--is required or should be required.

    I haven't been paying much attention to this, but did the cops bother asking a neighbor whether Gates was Gates?

  • ||

    I agree that you have a constitutional right to be a jerk towards police officers, and that police officers shouldn't arrest people solely for being jerks.

    On the other hand, as a non-constitutional matter, people just should be polite to police officers and other people they encounter, both because it's morally right and because it's strategically wise.

    One of the first things they teach you when you get out of law school and start practicing is to be nice to the staff - court deputies, law clerks, your secretary, other people's secretaries. Not only is it the right thing to do, but sooner or later, those people will have discretion over something involving you, and if you are dismissive or rude to them, they will f- you.

    Yes, we hold cops to a higher standard, and the arrest was wrong, and a lot of other similar conduct (seizing videocameras, tasing, etc.) is completely outrageous, but it's also true that being polite to cops is generally the right thing to do and always the smart thing.

  • ||

    I want Jack Dunphy in charge of my healthcare. That will remove politics from all healthcare issues, because we will all just STFU and do as we're told.

  • ||

    Really, the undertone of Dunphy's post is that you never know whether the cop who pulled you over is a jackbooted thug, so its safest to assume he is.

    And that's the way it should be.

  • Warty||

    Yo, fuck Jack Dunphy.

    Also, what the fuck kind of pseudonym is Jack Dunphy?

  • ||

    A few people I've talked to have said that Gates should have "challenged authority" in the "right way", such as filing a grievance with the police department or getting a protest permit from the local government. My conclusion is that they don't get the idea behind "challenging an authority" since they believe it should only be done in ways that are pre-approved by the authority.

  • Abdul||

    I can see why you misunderstood Dunphy, and why Dunphy's post lead to this misconstrual, but are you really contending that Dunphy let the mask slip a little and revealed that he wants to shoot people who are too aggressive in asserting Fourth Amendment rights?

    So you'd best just shut up and submit, even he asks you to do something that you aren't obligated to do under the Constitution.

    The Constitution allows police officers to conduct a limited search for weapons in circumstances similar to Dunphy's hypothetical. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

  • The Wine Commonsewer (TWC)||

    Anyone who seriously thinks that you can mouth off to a cop with impunity is delusional. You may get away with a little snark about the bum ticket you just got but if you push hard, you are going to jail. If you push a little harder, you are going to jail with a couple of big knots on your forehead.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    the furious backpedaling by Dunphy and Patterico over at Patterico's blog is amusing. Too bad that it looks like it's down right now, but (as Radley said), the only cogent read of Dunphy's post is the "wider lesson" - if he wanted to write a narrow hypothetical, that's really simple to do, but to cram into the Gates affair and then claim that it's a coincidence that it's there is just rankly dishonest.

  • John||

    I emailed Dunphy and wrote that it seemed pretty clear that he was saying that a cop might shoot you for asserting your constitutional writes. He (curteously) responded "The time to assert your rights is not when a police officer is aiming a gun at you in the belief you might try to kill him. There is a need for sound judgment on both sides."

    I don't think that Balko and Doherty have misunderstood Dunphy at all. It's just that Dunphy is normalizing police misconduct. Uppity civilians are just collateral damage.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    but are you really contending that Dunphy let the mask slip a little and revealed that he wants to shoot people who are too aggressive in asserting Fourth Amendment rights?



    I, at least, am contending exactly that. At a minimum, Dunphy's Aesop fable is illustrative of his implicit premise that Gates got what he deserved.

  • John||

    Pardon, I meant "constitutional rights". Sloppy of me.

  • Solanum||

    Also, what the fuck kind of pseudonym is Jack Dunphy?

    Joe Friday's retarded son?

  • ||

    "The time to assert your rights is not when a police officer is aiming a gun at you in the belief you might try to kill him."

    That sounds like what I've heard. Official police channels will deign to hear your grievance before rejecting your complaint, so don't question street cops. Seriously, if complaining to the police about police conduct worked, people would do it. Instead, the police cover up for each other, punishments are a tickle on the wrist, and you run the risk that the cops will turn into that waiter that spits in your food when you complain about something.

  • ||

    "And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own."

    I think Balko is misreading what Dumphy is saying. Dunphy is not saying you should not assert your Constitutional Rights. He is saying if in the assertion of those rights "you don't do what he asks you" you run the risk of being shot. Balko reads that to mean that you should just let him search you car. That is not what Dunphey is talking about. He is talking about jumping out of the car and getting in the cop's face. All dumphy is saying is don't be a dick to the cop.

  • ||

    Abdul,

    Radley did not misunderstand Dunphy, he understood him all too well and called him out on it.

    I don't know why the "STFU and do as you're told" crowd gets so upset when everyone else realizes that they are being told to STFU and do as they are told.

  • Warty||

    The time to assert your rights is not when a police officer is aiming a gun at you in the belief you might try to kill him.

    If you're brave enough, there's no better time.

  • Fluffy||

    are you really contending that Dunphy let the mask slip a little and revealed that he wants to shoot people who are too aggressive in asserting Fourth Amendment rights?

    I went over to Patterico to defend Doherty on this yesterday, and Dunphy was kind enough to engage me on it.

    If we take his later comments at face value, what he meant to say was that if you refused police directions to do things like stop your car, get out of the car, show your hands, things like that, you might get shot.

    The problem is that this is not what he originally wrote. He originally wrote that aggressively asserting your rights might get you shot. Since heatedly saying, "No, I won't open my trunk" or "No, you can't search my car, and you're a no-good cracka for even asking" or "No, I won't tell you where I'm coming from or where I'm going to" constitutes aggressively asserting your rights, Dunphy's original statement as written would cover a cop shooting you for doing that.

    It's OK if he wants to say now that he didn't mean that, but since he wrote it he shouldn't get bent out of shape that Doherty took it literally.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    John - there really is no misread here. If the point is as limited as you say, then how does that relate to the Gates affair? it doesn't - Dunphy wanted the larger point to be "Gates got what he deserved for being uppity" - that's the only read that makes sense.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Radley did an excellent job breaking down all the many reasons Dunphy and Patterico's interpretation doesn't really hold up. Had I written a similar reaction, I'd have just stressed his point 4, the one that seemed so obvious to me I assumed anyone who didn't see it was being intentionally obtuse: that Dunphy's hypothetical was based on the notion that you the citizen being pulled over had no idea what was in the cop's head, and thus were obliged under any circumstances to shut up about your constitutional rights if you wanted to avoid getting shot.

  • ||

    We're tolerating abuses and petty tyranny that our ancestors would've shot people over. Whether it's being asked to tolerate overbearing cops or paying half our incomes to various government bodies, we've become a nation of wusses.

    If cops faced serious discipline--up to and including prosecution--for overstepping the bounds of their authority, maybe real abuses (the Gates situation may not be one of those, because I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Gates seized the opportunity to make this a public issue) wouldn't occur so often. Give people power without real accountability or enforced limits, and that power will be abused, period.

  • ||

    Dunphy used a lot of words to say "Respect my Authoritah!".

  • ||

    I don't know what, if any, relevance this has to the Gates case. I see above where racial profiling is dismissed by Mr. Balko as not likely. I saw several MSM outlets refer to officer Crowley as the dept expert on racial profiling as the story was breaking on Gates' arrest.

  • ||

    It's impractical to be a dick to a cop unless, like Gates, you have the resources and connections to get something you want out of it that really had nothing to do with why the cop was there in the first place. Publicity for your cause. As has been said before, rich people are assholes and rich people with connections to government officials are even bigger assholes.

    Does that justify Gates getting hit with a billyclub or slammed headfirst on the hood of a cruiser? No, and since he wasn't...does it justify him being arrested and inconvenienced? Hell yeah. This particular cop was there to help him and seemed to have acted accordingly until Gates' went all Harvard on him. And does the fact the cop is getting criticized left and right,a nd will probably get some sort of reprimand make up for his unreasonable arrest as response to Gates' outburst? Absolutely. Sounds like everyone is getting what they deserve in Boston.

    Alabama, on the other hand is totally uncalled for and those cops and their supportive superiors should be pepper sprayed while they try to pass a turd in a gas station bathroom.

  • ||

    you run the risk that the cops will turn into that waiter that spits in your food beats the shit out of you when you complain about something.

    That's the Chicago way.

  • ||

    Sorry, Dunphy seems to me to be closer to the truth than much of the ideological purity about rights advocated here. This isn't really about whether police have, or should have, the right to arrest or shoot anyone they want. It's more about whether it's a good idea to shout at cops and make a scene when they are trying to do their jobs. As someone said in an earlier thread, discretion is often the better part of valor. In a tense situation with armed people, calm is always a good idea.

    And I think Balko is wrong on his first point. Crowley did not know whether this was a dangerous situation or not, even after Gates identified himself. That's why (as I understand it) he asked if there was anyone else in the house, and asked Gates to step outside. Was Gates locked out of the house by a wife with a restraining order? Was there a burglar hiding in the house who told Gates he'd shoot if he didn't get the cops to go away? Those are improbable but not unknown circumstances. So by refusing to cooperate at that point, Gates was basically interfering with the officer trying to do his job.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Official police channels will deign to hear your grievance before rejecting your complaint."

    Not always.
    I recently called in a complaint on a cop who got in my face and was acting like a jerk about a matter he should have had nothing to do with. (And yes, I was very polite with him, although insistant on his allowing me to conduct my business.)
    I spoke to a clerk in Internal Affairs, gave her a very rough outline of my concerns, and was told that an investigator would call me back for the details.
    I never got the call, but a week later I got a letter saying the matter had been investigated, the cop had done no wrong, and the case was closed.
    Hehehe.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    No, and since he wasn't...does it justify him being arrested and inconvenienced? Hell yeah. This particular cop was there to help him and seemed to have acted accordingly until Gates' went all Harvard on him.



    Ah, so you can be arrested for using your First Amendment rights now. When did you fall in love with Big Brother, Nick? Just get back from Room 101?

  • ||

    The Gates situation is hardly textbook and he very likely acted the way he did to make this into an "incident" (why not when you know someone will get your back?). But the generic situation is unacceptable--cops operate way outside the shackles they should be wearing in a truly free society.

  • EJM||

    Also, what the fuck kind of pseudonym is Jack Dunphy?

    I'm thinking that he's a fan of the late Jerry Dunphy.

    (part one of KNXT interview with the Carpenters; 1979 KABC tease and open; 1982 KABC open; 1992 KCAL promos)

  • ||

    Anyone see this link from drudge report about how Chicago police officers are now "allowed" to shoot at fleeing vehicles if the driver or passengers are suspected of committing a felony... even if they don't pose a threat to them or others

  • Sandy||

    PapayaSF:

    Did Crowley tell Gates any of this? A little "to ensure that nobody's hiding around here threatening to shoot you if you don't deny it, I'd like you to come outside where I know we're safe and then just reassure me everything's OK, and then I'll go" will go a long way to getting cooperation.

    If not, Crowley "acted stupidly" and no amount of "but we put our lives on the line" bleating will change that.

    I'm also curious what the LEOs who use that line think of Secret Service hassling of anybody protesting the President politically. After all he, and they, put their lives on the line to do their jobs, so presumably they're OK if the Secret Service busts down their door just because they're bleating about some so-called "right" to free speech in protesting the Prez.

  • ||

    PapayaSF,

    It's more about whether it's a good idea to shout at cops and make a scene when they are trying to do their jobs.

    A tip about that from a friend is good advice. A warning about it from just somebody is nagging, maybe with a little pro-cop stalking horse thrown in. A direct statement not to do it lest you get shot coming from a cop is a threat.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Silly Sandy - authoritarian conservatives don't believe in free speech, either.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Often it's impractical or unwise to assert one's rights. But I also cherish the right to be impractical and unwise.

  • ||

    Did Crowley tell Gates any of this?

    Apparently Gates was shouting at him, which would have made it difficult. But I don't think he should have. You don't want the hidden burglar with the gun to hear that the cop suspects he's there, right? Better to not be too detailed. And of course if it was a domestic violence situation, you'd also not want to elaborate that possibility, and instead say something neutral like "Is there anybody else in the house?"

  • ||

    I asked a pro-cop commenter about what it would take for an officer to cross the line and abuse his authority. He cited to the scene in Bad Lieutenant where Harvey Keitel pulls the young girls over, forced them to pantomime sex acts, then jerks off to it. That's a hell of a standard! Incidentally, I later came across plans for a "remake" called Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans starring Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer. In an odd way, it reminded me that every arrogant son of a bitch will abuse his power if given half a chance.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    If I were a cop, I'd ALWAYS say, "But there could have been a man with a gun hidden nearby."
    There could have been, you know.

    You know that deaf guy in the toilet? There could have been a man with a gun hidden nearby. Or an abused wife. Or whatever.

  • ||

    SugarFree, I really don't think Dunphy was making a threat. By "running the risk" he meant that an officer might misinterpret the lack of cooperation and objections and think he was in danger, not that being rude in and of itself was justification for shooting.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    zounds, Papaya, how do you bend that way? The verbal gymnastics and number of hypotheticals you're leaping through bespeaks of your athletic ability.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But what if Keitel thought there was a man with a gun hidden nearby? Heh? Heh?
    It would explain a lot, right?

  • ||

    Patterico and Dunphy argue that Dunphy's "lesson" here applies only to the specifics of his hypothetical-that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police.

    Disingenuous as shit. How would the person being pulled over know whtehre or not the cops is looking for an armed and dangerous felon and said person fits the description?

    You wouldn't. The obvious implication is that everyone who gets stopped by police should always kiss their ass since one would never know what the circumstances are they should assume the worst and act accordingly.

  • Warty||

    "remake" called Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans starring Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer. In an odd way, it reminded me that every arrogant son of a bitch will abuse his power if given half a chance.

    Movie producers always, ALWAYS, abuse their power. And we all pay the price.

  • ||

    Nick Cage AND Val Kilmer? Just call me huckleberry hound

  • The Angry Optimist||

    By "running the risk" he meant that an officer might misinterpret the lack of cooperation and objections and think he was in danger



    Everyone knows that words operate just like bullets.

  • ||

    TAO, I'm saying he deserves to be inconvenienced because he's a dick (with an agenda taking advantage of a situation) to someone who was there to help him. The fact that it just happened to be a cop who had the ability to arrest him, as opposed to say, me who only had the ability to piss on his lawn and kick his garden gnomes after I helped him, is the only difference. I don't support Big Brother at all. I do support dicks being inconvenienced for being dicks.

  • ||

    Our taxes pay for law enforcement, not manners enforcement.

  • ||

    FWIW, I have instructed both of our kids(17 and female and 20 and male) to be polite to the man if they get pulled over. Put both hands on the wheel as the cop approaches and turn on the dome light at nite. The boy has been pulled over several times without incident. I have also told them repeatedly, if you get taken in for anything and they want to ask questions about anything, say to them, "I want a lawyer present." am I wrong?

  • ||

    "'I want a lawyer present.' am I wrong?"

    You'll have to come to your own conclusion after looking at the law in your area, but I would also include "no breathalyzer tests" to the mix.

  • ||

    I understand that I am entitled to be nasty with the man. I get that. I also know from experience that when he approaches my car, if I am pleasant and am aware of his unease, he generally isn't a dick with me.

  • Warty||

    Words are like bullets. They go through me.

  • ||

    I hate to even say this out loud. I am a middle aged white male. Unfortunately, that still is a factor down here when, and if, you get pulled over.

  • ||

    TAO: A cop investigating a report of a burglary in progress and encountering an angry and agitated man has to consider hypotheticals, or he wouldn't be doing his job well. The hypotheticals are not on the level of "what if he's being kidnapped by a UFO," they're things that have really happened more than once. An angry husband breaking into his own home during a fight with his wife is not exactly rare.

    The obvious implication is that everyone who gets stopped by police should always kiss their ass since one would never know what the circumstances are they should assume the worst and act accordingly.

    Just change the "kiss their ass" to "be calm and polite" and yes, that's what Dunphy is saying. I consider that common sense, not a horrible infringement on my civil liberties.

  • ||

    Our taxes pay for law enforcement, not manners enforcement.

    There are a ton of laws I don't want enforced. That is not the point. Every once in a while I want people to be inconvenienced for their douchebaggery. Since Gates wasn't charged, there is no enforcement of the law he was arrested for, which was probably wrongly applied, so it all amounts to an inconvenience, that in my mind is relative to his rudeness and his political agenda which was also wrongly applied.

  • Astroglide in Blue ©||

    "Also, what the fuck kind of pseudonym is Jack Dunphy?"

    He wanted mine, but it was already taken.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    you can wish that he be inconvenienced all you like, Nick, but it is simply not acceptable to be pleased that that inconvenience came by way of handcuffs, cell, fingerprinting - all the rest. That's an abuse of state power.

  • Joel||

    Balko reads that to mean that you should just let him search you car. That is not what Dunphey is talking about. He is talking about jumping out of the car and getting in the cop's face. All dumphy is saying is don't be a dick to the cop.

    If in the course of some disagreement you behave like a dick toward me, do you have to worry about being shot? I'm as armed as the cop is, but I'd no more shoot you for offending me than I'd...well, do any other unspeakable thing. However, we're expected to fear exactly that behavior from cops. Civilized behavior is too much to ask of them: They're under so much stress, you know.

  • ||

    Wow. The number of people willing to defend what was plainly, under Massachusetts law (not to mention the US Constitution) an unlawful arrest is very, very sad-making.

    As is the number of people who have no apparent concern over a culture that makes a submissive posture to agents of the state advisable for your continued health and safety.

  • Barack Obama||

    "Our taxes pay for law enforcement, not manners enforcement."

    There are those who say our taxes pay for law enforcement, not manners enforcement. However, we as a society can no longer accept this as the status quo.

    Therefore, I have asked Congress to pass the Bow and Curtsey Bill and am appointing Judith Martin to the position of Manners Czar.

  • hmm||

    If jack feels his words are not in poor taste or utter bullshit why doesn't he go ahead and drop the pseudonym. Then we can let the LAPD and the people he polices know when to be worried the guy pulling them over feels justified in violating your civil liberties. The whole I'm a cop, but I won't tell you my name, I'm going to write some bullshit is a little telling of the person.

    As to the detractors of the analysis of the posts I'd say this post clearly hands you your hat. No kindly go back to trying to argue a narrow interpretation of a broadly stated claim because you realized exactly how fucked up your morals and ideals are. Once you have shat on the carpet you can't put the turd back or say you meant for it to hit the toilet.

    It's kind of important to note that in Jack does what every cop does, and I know more than a few. He argues that there are lots of laws and cases that say its ok. Like I mentioned before, they are trained monkeys that regurgitate statute. Of course he missed the point a little stating this.

    "If I stop you in the reasonable belief - even a mistaken one - that you have committed a crime, abundant statutory and case law (see Graham v. Connor, for example) authorizes me to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, and prevent escape. "


    There's one problem. In your "limited to only this particular situation" scenario you were not, arresting anyone, overcoming resistance, or preventing escape. Yet somehow you feel this justifies this statement.

    if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.


    I hate to break this to you. But your your support given for the action in your scenario is not even relevant to the scenario or the statement.

    Look at that thin blue line go. Thank god you only have 1*. Too many more of you and your ilk and no one will be safe.

    PS. Fuck the police.




  • hmm||

    From the prosecutors article.

    I have personally met Doherty, and while I think he's a radical libertarian, he seems like a nice guy.



    coffee, in my keyboard it is.

  • hmm||

    It gets even better in the comments.


    #

    I thought it was awfully nice of DCSCA to suggest that Jack retire in one of his comments on the other thread.

    Comment by daleyrocks - 7/28/2009 @ 8:46 pm
    #

    I deleted that comment. It violates the rules here to suggest that a poster is unfit for his job. DCSCA has been warned.

    Comment by Patterico - 7/28/2009 @ 8:50 pm



    I guess calling him a fucking tard is out of the question as well. Fuck is this going to get deleted. Aww shucks I said "fuck" does that mean it is going to be deleted twice, like a hate crime? Shit maybe three times cause technically that is two fucks or one shit and one fuck. Or does the calling him unfit for duty constitute a deletion?

    Seriously, deleting posts for saying he should resign? That's laughable.

  • Anomalous||

    From Wikipedia:

    Jack Dunphy (22 August 1914 - 26 April 1992) was an American novelist and playwright, perhaps best known today for his long-term relationship with Truman Capote.

  • Ska||

    I just keep thinking of Dunphy from Outside Providence.

    Yeah, the guy named Dildo. It fits so I'm sticking with it.

  • ||

    Anomalous,

    So, I was right all along? Woo!

  • Fluffy||

    Since Gates wasn't charged, there is no enforcement of the law he was arrested for, which was probably wrongly applied, so it all amounts to an inconvenience, that in my mind is relative to his rudeness and his political agenda which was also wrongly applied.

    I see. So I suppose if I came to your house, got you out on to your porch, then grabbed you and tied you up, threw you into the back of my car and drove you to a place full of armed men who were all working for me, and then we held you there for several hours, periodically moving you from room to room and taking pictures of you, before finally letting you go - you would say, "Wow, what an inconvenience."

    Yeah, right.

  • ||

    R C Dean: I think most people would believe "disorderly conduct" covers what Gates was doing. The fact that other people have dug up precedents that seem to show Gates' behavior didn't, shows that the cop was making a judgment call about a borderline issue. I'm willing to give Crowley the benefit of the doubt in this case. Some definitions of crimes are necessarily a bit vague.

    And I'm not advocating a culture of "submissive posture to agents of the state." I'm saying be calm and polite to cops when they are doing their job. It's good sense and good manners, and is (to me at least) a totally trivial infringement on my Constitutional rights.

  • hmm||

    ...a totally trivial infringement on my Constitutional rights.

    There in lies the rub. When are infringements not trivial? Who gets to decide?

  • ||

    Quick poll: What does the term "peace" mean in the legal definition of "disturbing the peace"?

    (a) Absence of loud noises.

    (b) Absence of actual or imminent violence.

    (c) Absence of emotional discord.

  • ||

    an unlawful arrest



    Not to pick on you RC, but a lot of people are throwing words like "unlawful arrest" and "false arrest" around. What do these words really mean in the context of the law? Any lawyers out there?

    I do not mean to defend the cop, as I do think he behaved incorrectly, but..............

    Someone has not told a lie if they truly believed their statement was correct when they said it. The person is not a liar, just wrong.

    Asshole or not, if a cop truly believes that a person has broken the law as they understand it has the cop made a "unlawful arrest" or "false arrest" or has the cop just acted incorrectly? The cop may have broken some rules, but did he actually break any laws?

    I am not a lawyer, journalist or my ex-wife, so I do not know the answer.


    PS: I think the cop was very wrong and a dickhead, while Gates is just a dickhead. However, being a dickhead is not illegal.

  • ||

    "the cop was making a judgment call about a borderline issue"

    The only possible way it could be a borderline issue is because of an institutional misunderstanding of the law. So, really, calling them Little Cartmans isn't far off. Their individual behavior can be defended, yet when you take that individual behavior and extrapolate it across an entire institution, you have calamitous wrongdoing.

  • Fluffy||

    Someone has not told a lie if they truly believed their statement was correct when they said it. The person is not a liar, just wrong.

    Given the tatters that currently remain of the MA disorderly conduct statute, if Crowley claims he thought it applied here it would be like a cop pretending that he thought he could still enforce the sodomy laws.

    The courts took away one of the police's favorite all-purpose crowd control arrests. There's no way they don't know that.

  • Joe M||

    Read Cwoley's police report. We already know he absolutely lied at least once in it, when he said the caller mentioned two black men with backpacks. With the 911 call released to the public, we now know that was just not true. Also, in many many places, the way he described the incident seemed carefully crafted to word for word match the definition of disturbing the peace. Why should we believe his account?

  • ||

    Another question for the lawyers:

    In legal terms, not in informal usage, has an arrest really been made just because a cop reports someone for a crime that the cop says happened? Alternatively, does the arrest not really happen until an officer of the court - judge, magistrate, etc - reviews the cops report and determines that it is reasonable to believe a crime had been committed?

    Am I conflating terms? Perhaps arrest does not equal being charged.

  • ||

    "Perhaps arrest does not equal being charged."

    Arrest does NOT equal being charged. Arrested just means that you are detained, i.e., not free to go.

  • JB||

    As I commented on some blog post of Dunphy's, he is making life more dangerous for cops. His threat ('give cops lips, we shoot') makes it more likely for people to shoot first when dealing with cops.

  • hmm||

    His threat ('give cops lips, we shoot') makes it more likely for people to shoot first when dealing with cops.

    I don't know. According to non-C12H22O11 cops might like your lips. Such lips might get you a night stick, if you know what I mean.

  • alan||

    You guys are questioning the man's code.

    The code that he lives by.

    The code that defines his honor.

    The code that is like a shield that defends Dunphy when he strolls the mean streets of LA while on patrol.

    You question the man's code, you are lucky he doesn't plug a few bullets in your asses.

    You talk about civil liberties, when a man lives by a Code? You talk about the Constitution to a man who lives by the Code of the Street Cop?

    Yo, so what is the Code?

    'There is cop and then there is little people.'

  • ||

    Off thread...but the gal who blogged about the Virginia cops in JADE at the blog http://iheartejade.blogspot.com/
    has been arrested for...blogging about cops.

    I sh*t you not.

  • hmm||

    Off thread...but the gal who blogged about the Virginia cops in JADE at the blog http://iheartejade.blogspot.com/
    has been arrested for...blogging about cops.

    I sh*t you not.



    Can we get a ban here for the use if shit. Damnit I did it again.

    That site is hilarious. I hope they don't screw with her too bad or she gets a good pro bono defense.

  • ||

    I see. So I suppose if I came to your house to help you or whomever owns the house without knowing for sure that is you and you followed me onto the porch yelling at me for doing what is expected of me by reasonable citizens because you have a politicial agenda that has nothing to do with me other than the fact I actually teach people to NOT do what you thought I was doing that you oppose, got you out on to your porch, then grabbed you and tied you up, threw you into the back of my car and drove you to a place full of armed men who were all working for me, and then we held you there for several hours, periodically moving you from room to room and taking pictures of you, before finally letting you go - you would say, "Wow, what an inconvenience. I was a total dick and shouldn't have acted like a douchebag to someone who was there to help me."

    Yeah, right.

    Again, I'm no state apologist at all. I just like it when douchebags get inconvenienced relative to their douchebaggery which is what I think happened. Gates supports abuses of the state when "the right people are in charge" (he donated max amount to Obama campaign) so F him if he gets some state abuse that was pretty much self-imposed because of his shitty attitude toward other people and assumptions about them.

  • ||

    Fuckin' tags.

  • ||

    he is making life more dangerous for cops. His threat ('give cops lips, we shoot') makes it more likely for people to shoot first when dealing with cops.

    But if cops are regularly shouted at by people and they're just supposed to walk away, might that not increase the danger to cops and others? By leaving someone who might become violent or start a riot? Just sayin', it could cut both ways.

  • JB||

    Here is more on that woman getting arrested for blogging about cops:

    http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/article/bedford_co._woman_blogs_about_police_then_gets_arrested/42423/

  • Anonymous||

    It seems to me that the point the article was making is that it is rational to initially treat a police officer who is accosting you the same way you would treat an unknown armed psychopath, since for all intents in purposes, he or she could be one. An initial encounter with a police officer is thus governed by the rules of the jungle, not the rule of law. Only after the situation has been investigated can you return to the everyday world.

  • ||

    Since reference has been made here to a comment made on another blog, I felt I should respond. I had a posting removed from a conservative-oriented blog that has 'Jack Dunphy' as a frequent 'guest poster' because, as the host put it, I concluded the posting with the sentence: "You've done your duty, Jack. Resign." The host interpreted this as a suggestion that 'Dunphy' is unfit for his job which violates his 'rules.' No problem, as I intended no such thing. My interpretation of 'Dunphy's' post, after reading several others postings of his, was that of a seasoned, experienced cop, weary of the fight, growing tired of having to explain himself. My conclusion was this 'Dunphy' fellow had just had enough, should go be with his wife, relax, retire and go fishing, pension in hand. Hence, the concluding sentence intended in the best sense of the phrase, which the irritated host (he says he's a personal friend of 'Dunphy') took issue with and precipitated the removal of the posting and 'warning' per his 'rules.' I addressed this matter privately in an email to him. And I'm glad the host chose to help 'explain' what his friend was trying to say as it confirmed, at least to me, the sense that 'Dunphy' was just having a little trouble clarifying his position. Benefit of the doubt on my part. I would post the actual deleted comment here but I no longer have access to the complete text as the host removed it. But the following is the gist of it- plus or minus a few adjectives- from memory. But it was the last line that drew attention. I just felt the fellow was overworked and tired and it was time to go fishing. They can't pay those men and women enough to police Los Angeles these days and I'm sure the stress levels and burnout rates are extraordinary. On an earlier posting of 'Dunphy's' I half-seriously suggested a better and more entertaining 'teachable moment' on all this would be the viewing, "In The Heat Of The Night," and "My Cousin Vinny" as they pretty much cover cars, cops, courts, stereotypes and prejudices past and present. Below is the post, as best I can recollect-


    "Substitute the terms 'police officer[s]' in place of 'I' or 'me' and the read is sobering from all sides. And faintly disturbing.

    'Jack Dunphy' freely elected to avail himself of the benefits as well as the risks associated with the terribly tough job of a public official in a city that more often than not of late is little more than a sewer with zip codes. He is either a poor communicator or a tired cop. I'd like to believe it's more a matter of weak communication skills from an overworked public servant. Given the caliber of his postings, the citizens of Los Angeles should hope it is as well. Still, he has to repeatedly clarify to the citizenry who read his post a position he feels has been misinterpreted. Either way the mere fact this mind set is locked and loaded up front in the thinking processes of an LAPD officer hired to 'protect and serve' telegraphs an extensive exposure to an unhealthy level of stress.

    Players and fans attending a ball game can harbor both respect and animosity toward the umpires who enforce the rules of the game. But they are essential. And they know the rules. They know when to call a play safe, out, or eject somebody, according to the rulebook. And they know when to call the game.

    You've done your duty, 'Jack.' Retire."

  • perilisk||

    There's a hell of a lot of difference between saying

    "Let's say a cop pulls you over thinking you're likely a person who just committed a violent crime and as such are armed and dangerous. You unintentionally do something he takes as threatening (go to pull out a phone, or something) and get shot because he thought you were going for a gun."

    and saying

    "Let's say a cop pulls you over thinking you're likely a person who just committed a violent crime and as such are armed and dangerous. You complain that the stop is unconstitutional and get shot because being a whiny bitch is an obvious precursor to murder."

    or perhaps

    "Let's say a cop pulls you over thinking you're likely a person who just committed a violent crime and as such are armed and dangerous. You complain that the stop is unconstitutional and get shot because the cop is so on edge that he can't stay in control of his actions and will respond violently to the slightest emotional trigger, such as being dissed."

  • ||

    It appears to me that the lady who got arrested for blogging was taking pictures 'n sech in public spaces.

    I believe the authorities have decided that there is no expectation of privacy in public spaces.

    Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground?

  • Patterico||

    "Second, as emphasized in the excerpt above (a portion that Patterico neglected to include in his post)"

    No, I didn't. Correction please.

  • debt||

    haha great post

  • ||

    How can you, Mr. Balko and Doherty be so obtuse, yet so educated??? Very interesting, yet says boat loads about your inability to grasp reality. Also to all the bed-wetters on here, Feebly attempting to wax quasi intellectual, the LAPD is hiring, join up and head on down to Watts for some reality based education. Obliviion is obviously a very well populated place with all of the ignorant lefties spouting off about that which they no less than zero about. Time for you little tinklers to have your parents change your sheets.

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  • JACK||

    National Review Online?

  • shox ||

    Time for you little tinklers to have your parents change your sheets.

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