Militarization of Police

Police Behaving Badly

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The parents of Salvatore Culosi, the Virginia man killed by a SWAT team in 2006 while under investigation for gambling on sports games, have filed a $12 million lawsuit against the city, the police department, and the officer who shot him. I hope it goes well, but qualified and sovereign immunity are high hurdles for plaintiffs in these kinds of cases to clear. To their credit, in addition to damages, their suit seeks major reforms to the way Fairfax uses its SWAT team. Read their wrenching account of how Fairfax officials have treated them here.

In related news, here's some truly horrifying video. Note that until the video hit the news, the guy had only been charged with misdemeanors.

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  1. That video is insane.

    Do you think the cop thought he could get away with it just because he was a cop?

    Or was he so insanely drunk that no calculation like that could enter his mind?

  2. There should be a mandatory maximum for law enforcement officers convicted of felonies.

  3. Note that until the video hit the news, the guy had only been charged with misdemeanors.

    I also read this morning in the Chicago Sun-Times that right after he beat the bartender he checked himself into a medical facility thus rendering the police ubable to arrest him until almost a month later.

    Good to know. If I ever commit a crime I’m gonna find myself a medical facility to avoid arrest.

  4. My experience is that all cops, on some level, consider us citizens as just other animals in a zoo.

  5. Why on earth are the sentences for assault and battery convictions for ANYONE so absurdly small? So we can make room to lock up people who intoxicate themselves with substance A instead of substance B? I’m on board with increasing sentences for police officers convicted of felonies, but in my opinion, any citizen who engages in the behavior depicted in that video should be doing a 20 year minimum without parole.

    Strict personal liability for police officers in the performance of their duties should also be explored.

  6. I’m surprised a Fox affiliate would show such a thing, without trying to spin it the cop’s way.

  7. I’m wondering why the other guy is on the phone calling 911 instead of kicking the drunkard’s ass. Okay, so he’s big and you might get hurt. But you don’t have to play fair. Hit him with a goddamn chair. Stab the bastard. He’s drunk, he’s currently occupied, and if you aim well he won’t hit you back.

  8. It seems there are many instances of police abuse and yet it is under reported on the cable news channels.Even the one instance being reported,The shooting in New York,it seems most are taking the cops side.Maybe it’s because of their pro-drug war slant?So much for ‘fair and balanced’.If you saw O’Reily last eve on medical cannibus you know what I mean.

  9. I’m surprised a Fox affiliate would show such a thing, without trying to spin it the cop’s way.

    without going back and listening, the report closed with:

    “there are allegations of threats and intimidation by someone involved in the incident”

    that was the spin. you have to watch right to the very end to catch it. Translation for the media unsavvy:

    Chicago police kept this tape from you, the public, for a month with threats and intimidation against private citizens.

    Good spin is not neccessarily obvious spin.

  10. Dave W- I’m not sure how that equals pro-cop spin.

  11. Dave W- I’m not sure how that equals pro-cop spin.

    FOX has to decide how to report the story in a way that people won’t be so clear they are getting a whitewash that they start looking to other media sources (like here) for alternative views.

    Also, FOX has to make sure that the people who do stumble on other media sources, after watching the FOX report, don’t feel like they had been misled.

    So FOX decided that the best way to handle the “threats and intimidation” angle was to spin it so that it sounded kind of harmless, instead of being the most important aspect of this story (as it probably is, at least to me). If someone in the media does focus on the “threats and intimidation” aspect (as the media should), then many of the people who saw the FOX story will think, in a what-me-worry, sheeplish way, “Oh, yeah, they mentioned that on the FOX report, but it was no big deal — I could tell by the reporter’s phrasing and body language that that was not serious.”

    I don’t think it is that sinister when a person in a position of responsibility gets drunk and beats someone up or accidentally shoots them in the face. When you are drinking, s**t happens. However, I think it is very sinister when the powerful person is protected by cohorts: protected by intimidation, protected by turning help avoiding BAC tests, help by filing only misdemeanor charges (in this case, help by filing no charges (in Cheney’s case).

    FINAL THOUGHT: I don’t think it is an accident that we are seeing this tape on FOX, instead of on the YouTube. I think the month of “threats and intimidation” against the owner of the tape mutated into a sort of negotiation (a crooked negotiation, but a negotiation nonetheless) with the tape owner at some point. In that negotiation, the cops had some leverage (“threats and intimidation”) and so did the tape owner (“I am going to put this up on YouTube if you keep threatening me.”)

    We see the end result of this negotiation, which is that the tape is made public, but made public with FOX’s accompanying commentary, rather than framed the way YouTube or 20/20 might have framed the story.

  12. –protected by intimidation, protected by help avoiding BAC tests, protected by filing only misdemeanor charges (so they can’t arrest you in rehab), protection by filing no charges (in Cheney’s case), etc., etc.–

  13. why was the barmaid pushing the drunk around?

    making adversarial physical contact w/ drunks is dangerous

    she should have told him to get the fuck out

    and when he didn’t, called the cops

    I’m not saying she’s at fault, but it’s hardly surprising that a drunk (especially a drunk cop) might snap at someone who keeps laying hands on them while trying to force them to do something they aren’t exactly inclined to do (like stop drinking, mid-bender)

  14. and when he didn’t, called the cops

    You mean the same cops that saw the tape and ended up filing misdemeanor charges while their buddy sat in rehab instead of jail? Those cops? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  15. you contend that calling the cops on a drunk that won’t go home and sleep it off is a lower percentage play than a 140 pound fem attempting to push a belligerent drunk’s fat ass out the door by hand?

    just because he’s a cop?

    I dunno ’bout that…

    it reads kinda paranoid…

  16. tex, do you have any idea what the average response time in a large American city may be for call regarding a belligerant drunk in a bar? Now, she may have been well served to have a weapon with which to convince a drunk to leave, but the laws of Illinois and Chicago make that exceedingly difficult, and if you draw a firearm to evict a drunken off duty cop from your property, you damned well better be prepared to kill him, and have a lot of money to spend on lawyers afterwords.

  17. Dave W- Perhaps you’re right. But I suspect the reason for the intimidation graf being placed where it was is much more mundane. That’s typically what a reporter does when he has very good reason to believe something is true, but is not willing to run with the story because of reluctant sources or a lack of complete information. It’s a sort of CYA action. Mention it, so no one can say they scooped you, and follow up in later reports.

  18. We should find out what this man’s final
    punishment is. Then find a similar video of
    a drug deal or just someone smoking crack.
    Put those videos up side by side and at then
    end report the time served by each criminal.

  19. When you work in a bar, you deal with cutting off drunks all the time. Sometimes having to push them out the door. Usually just the threat of calling the police will get them out. I think because this guy is a cop, that threat didn’t work. He knew nothing would happen to him. Plus, he kept beating her while she was down. That wasn’t someone who was annoyed at a barmaid pushing him.

    What surprises me the most is how someone that fat and out of shape can be a cop.

  20. just because he’s a cop?

    I dunno ’bout that…

    it reads kinda paranoid…

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007703140547

    Hat tip to Radley Balko’s “The Agitator” blog.

  21. “…a tactical officer…”

    For the unaware, that means he’s a narc. Narcs here in Chicago are not the type of people you ever want to tangle with. They’re complete thugs.

  22. Yep, if you take physical action against somebody like that, you better be prepared to give him a dirt nap, and have a good defense attorney in mind.

  23. Yep, if you take physical action against somebody like that, you better be prepared to give him a dirt nap, and have a good defense attorney in mind.

    Or just have a camera running and make sure they don’t get their cloven hooves on the camera.

  24. Holy shit! That SOB should be shot, period end of story. Thats your local Protect and Serve for ya. Collect and you had better serve another round else get beat down.

    What a man beating a little woman. Sad to say but I think the % of cops like this one is a lot higher than everyone would think. These things are not isolated incidents they are just so well covered up they never see the light of day.

    Video those fucking cops all we can is all we can do to prove our innocence, after all you have to prove your innocence these days they don’t have to prove your guilty anymore.

  25. If it had been an ordinary citizen and she had not refused them more drinks because they were drunk only to have them kill a family that night in their car the very same police dpet would have been up her and the bars ass about why it proceeded to continue serving patrons who were obviously drunk.

    Damned if you do damned if you don’t.

    I think in that video had she turned around and blew his head off after he started attacking her there would be no case to charge against her anyway, self defense plain and simple. If that is not the definition of self defense I don’t know what would be.

    Cops should be held to double the punishments issued to ordinary citizens when they break the laws they have sworn to uphold in Protecting and Serving the public. If ignorance of the law (how many laws are there anyway?) is no excuse than certainly a COP of all people has absolutely no excuse for breaking the law. Automatic double sentences sounds right to me. After all if they play by the rules they shouldn’t have anything to hide or worry about.

    And yes the people in the bar should have beaten the guy at a minimum to help her out. What a pussy society we live in.

  26. Cause’ once he gets in the pen they wont provide the lil’pig with a bullet-proof vest,
    to protect him from some mad nigga who he shot in the chest or placed under arrest.
    Cause’ its all about bacon and sausage, tell me do ya fell sorry for the poor little swine?
    Niggas gonna fuckem in the ass, just to pay his ass back, so theys standin in line.
    That fuckin pig. Look what he got himself into.

  27. “feel…” that is…

    shit…

    I’m no Cyprus Hill… hahhah

  28. blogimi Dei – nice try. 🙂

    Can I just sum up my feelings about this by quoting NWA?

    “Fuck tha police”!

  29. I’m amazed she bounced right back up after that beating. She looks like one tough cookie. Hope she’s all right.

  30. Speaking of Cop talk, here is the moderator of Cop Talk “subtly” encouraging policemen not to ticket fellow policemen:

    http://www.glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=51e8b1d5e8310143cf08cbe46fd263ec&threadid=669709&perpage=25&pagenumber=1

    this thread is actually pretty relevant to what this thread is about. recommended reading.

  31. Dave W – Not that far worse hasn’t happened in mainstream media in its sordid history… But DAMN… As a guy who follows media bias pretty closely, I have to say that your analysis of the Fox coverage makes me seem far less picky and conspiracy-theory drive. Thanks bro!

  32. I’m amazed she bounced right back up after that beating. She looks like one tough cookie. Hope she’s all right.

    They played that video on the local news in Dallas last night (the Fox station, thanks for asking) and interviewed her. She’s fine, and I mean that in every sense of the word.

  33. I was in a club outside of Chicago in 1999. Four or five Chicago cops got this, “you lookin’ at me” routine going on, and slugged one of my friends. The place erupted, and the Chicago cops roughed about 10 to 15 people up before being wisked out the back door by club staff. What exactly did the Schererville Police do about it? They protected the Chicago cops. We went to the station the next day, and the “line up” of photos was made of 12 pictures that looked exactly like each other.

    I’m not surprised that some low class Chicago cop beat the shit out of a lady. The whole town lacks class. There, I said it.

  34. Hey, just just kill the fucking pig. Not as if any of us will get blamed for it. 🙂

  35. “here’s some truly horrifying video”

    foxnews ditched it. Der.

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