Militarization of Police

Chesapeake Police Chief Retires

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The police chief in Chesapeake, Virginia is retiring. Probably for the better, given this bit from the article:

He helped create six community advisory groups but stopped short of citizen oversight, which would have allowed citizens to investigate policy and complaints.

That did not sit well with the Chesapeake chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. March Cromuel Jr., president of the chapter at the time, said he believed oversight would build community trust.

"I would like to see cameras in all police cars and a citizen review board before he leaves," Cromuel said.

Justice opposed it, and still does. "At any time, a complaint can be lodged against us that can bring in the state police, the FBI. The department is open. We don't operate in any clandestine fashion now. We can't have citizen groups running a police department," he said.

Never mind that the police department actually works for the citizens. So no cameras in patrol cars, and no citizen review boards.

I'd beg to differ about Chesapeake PD not operating in a "clandestine fashion." A few weeks ago, based on a tip from some people I spoke with during my visit to Chesapeake, I filed an open records request asking for any internal investigations of "wrong door" raids conducted by Chesapeake PD. I also asked for any complaints filed against the late Det. Jarrod Shivers. My interest is to see if there's a pattern of the department's narcotics officers taking shortcuts, and conducting forced entries raids without doing the appropriate corroborating investigation, as certainly seems to be the case in the raid on Ryan Frederick's home.

I was told that all personnel matters at the department are confidential. All complaints against individual officers are confidential, all internal investigation into officers misconduct are confidential, and any records of internal investigation into mistaken or botched narcotics raids are confidential. It's all confidential. Not only that, but that confidentiality follows an officer to the grave. And it applies even in cases like Ryan Frederick's, where the suspect is facing life in prison or the death penalty, and where the case boils down to weighing the suspect's credibility against that of the police officers who raided his home. All confidential.

It's probably good for Chesapeake that this guy is retiring. And even better that the city manager has ordered a top-down review of police department procedures.

Summary of the Frederick/Shivers case here.

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  1. So, what’s the logic behind all this confidentiality? National security?

  2. I was told that all personnel matters at the department are confidential. All complaints against individual officers are confidential, all internal investigation into officers misconduct are confidential, and any records of internal investigation into mistaken or botched narcotics raids are confidential.

    What’s the matter, Balko? Don’t you trust the police? Surely if there was a problem, with procedures or personnel, the Chesapeake PD would handle it internally. Confidentially of course. A bunch of citizens little people asking questions would destroy morale and inhibit the boys in blue from protecting the citizenry from the scourge of Japanese maple cvultivation.

    Good riddance to the inappropriately named Richard Justice.

  3. So, what’s the logic behind all this confidentiality? National security?

    CYA. Nothing else.

  4. Good riddance to the inappropriately named Richard Justice.

    I disagree J sub, he sounds like a Dick to me.

  5. Radley Balko does amazing work. Everyone who’s concerned about civil liberties and the militarization of policing in the United States owes him a debt of gratitude.

    But Balko’s journalism, to be effective, must be buttressed by an active citizenry.

    As of right now, there’s no Wikipedia Page about the Ryan Frederick-Jarrod Shivers case. (E.g., no wikipedia entry on Ryan Frederick and none on Jarrod Shivers.) Without an entry, it’s hard to get people on the same page on this important case. [sorry for the pun]

    Okay, I’m done bitching. Who’s going to step up to the plate and remedy this injustice?

    I believe Mr. Balko has already done his part.

  6. It is probably unfair for me to judge the Chesapeake PD from 525 miles away with only a few newspaper articles and internet reports to go on. But the circle the wagons attitude displayed by the department in the wake of Jerrod Shivers’ unfortunate death and Ryan Frederick’s subsequent arrest does not make giving the benefit of the doubt very easy.

    When any other group of people commit a questionable act, law enforcement does not allow them to get together allowing them the opportunity to align their stories. Sadly, that is an all too common practice when it is an LEO who has done something of questionable professionalism or legality. If Ryan Frederick had company at the time of the incident, would that opportunity have been given to him and his guest? Of course not.

    We’ll handle it internally and confidntially doesn’t engender a lot of faith to an increasingly skeptical public.

  7. The down side of handling things through internal reviews is the lack of a court trial. There is a reason the constitution calls for fair and public trials.

  8. “I would like to see cameras in all police cars street corners” Cromuel said.

    Justice opposed it, and still does. “At any time, a complaint can be lodged against us any citizen that can bring in the state police, the FBI. The department is open. We don’t operate in any clandestine fashion now. We can’t have citizen groups the police department running a police department society,” he said.

    fixed.

  9. We can’t have citizen groups running a police department

    In other words, the law enforcement caste has decided that the law no longer applies to them. So I guess they get added in with movie stars, professional athletes, politicians, and the rest of the new American Royalty. I’m obviously exaggerating and being stupid, but it sure seems this view is increasingly common among people with power, money, or prestige.

  10. Former police chief Richard Justice is an underhanded, secretive gay man… not that there’s anything wrong with that!!

  11. It’s the damn drug laws. If it weren’t for the drug laws, police could concentrate on real crimes like healthfood scams, worthless diet books and self-help gurus. Nobody would care if a SWAT team bashed in Dr. Phil’s door and arrested his ass.

  12. Never mind that the police department actually works for the citizens.

    When, oh when will Reason’s editors wake up and stop this Radly Balko person? Why, just days ago he was claiming that a dying 10 year old shouldn’t get to see her incarcerated father because, after all, this is a war against drugs and now he wants us to ignore the fact that police departments actually work for the citizens!

    Oh, I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to claim he was really using sarcasm or even something fancier that I can’t understand like irony and that he really does want dying children to see their parents and citizens to oversee police departments.

    Well, maybe so, but I won’t be writing a retraction. Since I am not considering RB for employment I am not concerned with his past achievements or what kind of person he is. I am only concerned with his poorly worded comments.

    Once you people are finished sucking from Radley’s nipples you might come to realize that elevating people is not a healthy thing. One day you wake up and find their feet all muddy. I don’t care how popular this person is or what position he’s taking on the anti-drug-war, its’ about what I read at the time, in the present, and how a few people interpreted something. I should be sorry for that?

    This isn’t Jr. High. It’s very sad how you only mention how popular a person is, but not one mention of the little girl who has passed away. That’s because you’re so blind in your hero worship that you can’t see anything else. Radley Balko is a journalist and just has to suck it up and deal with the fact that some people out there might not appreciate something he writes or worship him. It’s called backbone.

    Oh, wait, where was I? Oh no, it couldn’t have been a dream. No, Aunt Em. This is a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice. But most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, ‘I want to go home.’ And they sent me home. Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home! Home! And this is my room – and you’re all here! And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again because I love you all! – And oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home!

  13. No cameras in the CPD’s cars? That’s weird. Most jurisdictions put in the cameras to protect the OFFICERS from malicious complaints. I guess the CPD doesn’t care about it’s officers or the citizens.

  14. D.A., your comment is bold proof of the failure on the war on drugs.

  15. D.A., your comment is bold proof of the failure on the war on drugs.

    Thank you. But, you know, I never did get those flashbacks I was promised back in the 60s!

  16. Nothing will change. As one person pointed out on these boards the other day, there is no real outrage, no protests, no marching in the streets outside the Chesapeake PD. We are comfortably numb – so complacent and preoccupied by other things that stories like these cause our one minute of outrage, and then it all goes into the memory file for extraction at a later date (maybe).
    The War on the People will continue, advance, enlarge, and cannot be stopped – save a miraculous awakening of social consciousness among generation Ipod.

  17. Nothing will change. As one person pointed out on these boards the other day, there is no real outrage, no protests, no marching in the streets outside the Chesapeake PD. We are comfortably numb – so complacent and preoccupied by other things that stories like these cause our one minute of outrage, and then it all goes into the memory file for extraction at a later date (maybe).
    The War on the People will continue, advance, enlarge, and cannot be stopped – save a miraculous awakening of social consciousness among generation Ipod.

    Or maybe, as information technology improves, these incidents will enter more and more into the sunshine and those who care about these kind of issues will have a larger base of people who want to advocate change, while those who do not care about that kind of issue will instead work on bringing about change for the issues they care about.

    No, wait you’re right. All people are idiots. And our freedoms are constantly dwindling away, not expanding.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
    GOOGLE RON PAUL!
    …WHAT ABOUT BUILDING SEVEN, HUH? EXPLAIN THAT! FREE FALL SPEED! YEAH? YOU KNOW? HUH?

  18. Nothing will change. As one person pointed out on these boards the other day, there is no real outrage, no protests, no marching in the streets outside the Chesapeake PD. We are comfortably numb – so complacent and preoccupied by other things that stories like these cause our one minute of outrage, and then it all goes into the memory file for extraction at a later date (maybe).
    The War on the People will continue, advance, enlarge, and cannot be stopped – save a miraculous awakening of social consciousness among generation Ipod.
    Or maybe, as information technology improves, these incidents will enter more and more into the sunshine and those who care about these kind of issues will have a larger base of people who want to advocate change, while those who do not care about that kind of issue will instead work on bringing about change for the issues they care about.

    No, wait you’re right. All people are idiots. And our freedoms are constantly dwindling away, not expanding.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
    GOOGLE RON PAUL!
    …WHAT ABOUT BUILDING SEVEN, HUH? EXPLAIN THAT! FREE FALL SPEED! YEAH? YOU KNOW? HUH?

  19. Goddamn McNulty.

  20. What’s the matter, Balko? Don’t you trust the police?

    Oh sure, you change your mind on this too…

    Oh, wait…

  21. Why hasn’t that vile fascist scumback Stan shown up to chime in on this yet?

  22. scumback=scumfuck

  23. Radley Balko is a journalist and just has to suck it up and deal with the fact that some people out there might not appreciate something he writes or worship him. It’s called backbone.

    I see the douchebag (douchbagette?) who failed to understand Radley’s sarcasm has decided to go the “fight like a moron” route instead of just admitting they didn’t get it right the first time. Loser.

    What’s to say that any new police chief will be any more open to transparency than Dick Justice? It’s not like there are tons of police chiefs out there chomping at the bit to clean up departments.

  24. Radley is my all-time fav pig/Antichrist!

  25. “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to claim he was really using sarcasm or even something fancier that I can’t understand like irony and that he really does want dying children to see their parents and citizens to oversee police departments.”

    So, let me get this straight. You know exactly what Balko is saying, yet you still prefer to take issue with an argument that you fully admit he isn’t making. Is that about it?

  26. scumback=scumfuck

    Stan = Edward

  27. All confidential.

    It will be interesting to see if this confidentiality stands up in a criminal trial. I would think that this kind of information would be useful to either (a) impeach police witnesses and/or (b) show the defendant’s state of mind and/or (c) attack the presumption that the police were acting within Constitutional bounds.

  28. RC,

    Yeah, I have to wonder if the confidentiality holds up under criminal discovery. Obviously they won’t give it to Radley, but I’d love to hear the justification for not giving it to the defense attorney if it’s framed as possibly exculpatory.

  29. No clear winner yet but I feel pretty confident in nominating D.A. Ridgely for thread loser…

  30. Russian Judge,
    I’d agree with you, but I have no idea what the fuck D.A. Ridgely is talking about.

    On second thought, I agree with you because I have no idea what the fuck he’s talking about.

    If someone would like to translate for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    Also, is Jonathan Hohensee claiming the World Trade Center wasn’t brought down by planes flying into them?

    If anyone would like to translate his post for me too, I’d appreciate it that as well.

  31. Dick Justice is his gay porn star name.

  32. Kool,

    If he is being earnest and not just mocking a “truther”, he seems to be pointing out that it doesn’t make much sense for a building to sustain secondary damage and then collapse at the same speed as an uninhibited object, which is as fast as anything can fall under only the force of gravity.

  33. Whether this did indeed happen is another question. But that’s what he was pointing out. It would certainly be a strange phenomenon.

    It’s strange to me that there was so much damage done, especially because the towers were designed for such attacks, but I was not there and I cannot verify what did or did not happen. Nobody can. That’s why there are two sides to the story. Nobody has definitive proof of what did happen. Only explanations for what could have happened.

  34. He’s mocking the Truthers, as you all so richly deserved to be mocked.

  35. Ayn_Randian,

    Do you know what today is, man! Nobody *deserves* to be mocked until everybody gets over their hangovers from the weekend. Wait until Wednesday at least! I’m still trying to wake up for chrissakes.

  36. I think this is one of the 1st times I have ever been in agreement with the National Association of Always Complaining People.

    Everything a cop does is confidential yet if you get arrested for something and not even convicted or tried in court your name automatically appears in the paper.

    They aren’t to confidential when patting themselves on the back and handing out pig of the year awards.

    Instead of a Don’t Snitch campaign perhaps we should all tell any officer looking for information that you would love to be able to help him but that information is CONFIDENTIAL!

    You see how fast they want to regulate Banks now. You see how fast that one Gov. last week passed a new stupid law since someone in his family was affected. I forget the details but it was your typical politician has a problem today and passes a new law tomorrow type deal.

    Now do you see how if only a few of the right people’s relatives get their doors kicked in and shot this problem would go away pretty fucking quick. Not until those that surpress are affected by their own laws will they bother to change them for anyone else.

  37. Stan = Edward

    I’m pretty sure they’re different people, but I imagine Edward is a drug warrior, too.

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