Militarization of Police

Police Union Intimidating Derrick Foster's Supporters

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Derrick Foster is the man who recently shot and wounded two Columbus, Ohio police officers conducting a drug raid on a house where Foster was shooting dice. There were no drug charges as a result of the raid. In fact, the only charges to come out of the raid are those against Foster and another man, both of whom say they mistook the raiding officers for armed robbers. Foster is a code inspector for the city of Columbus, Ohio who received glowing reviews from his supervisors, a former Ohio State football player, and a father of two. He had no prior criminal record.

As Foster's initial court appearance, his attorney introduced several letters attesting to his character from Ohio State athletes, local businessmen, and local educators. Many called him a role model.

That apparently has disrupted the police narrative that Foster is a dangerous cop-killer.

The Fraternal Order of Police passed on many of the supporters' letters to its 4,100 members and encouraged them to express their displeasure or boycott their businesses.

"I still believe he's a threat to society. The minute you put your thoughts on a letterhead, you open yourself and your business up to criticism," said Jim Gilbert, president of Capital City Lodge No. 9.

"We're asking our officers and the public to stand up between the citizens and the violence they put against our officers."

Weiner said the union is off base. "This is witness intimidation. I might be calling some of these people as character witnesses for the defense," he said recently.

The first two union targets were Michael McGuire, the owner of a Budget car-rental location and a lifelong friend of Foster's; and Pickerington Central High School Principal Scott Reeves, who met Foster at OSU in the mid-1980s. McGuire said he felt threatened when one officer called him and the union sent him an e-mail after he wrote that Foster "is a tremendous role model to his children and other teens in the community."

Wonder how the union feels about the violence Columbus police use against nonviolent citizens in these raids?

The high school principal was reprimanded by his boss, the school superintendent. The police union says it also plans to send a cadre of officers to the school's next school board meeting, again to register their displeasure for the principal's support of Foster. The superintendent may have a point in that the principal shouldn't have used official letterhead in his note of support for Foster. But then, I wonder how many of these police officers have acted in their official capacity in their efforts to intimidate Foster's supporters. I'd presume the answer is "all," given that if they hadn't, the recipients of their emails and phone calls wouldn't have known they were cops. How many will show up at the school board meeting in uniform?

So in sum: The Columbus police waged a hasty drug raid (the third that night for the same SWAT team) on a house where no significant amount of drugs were found. In the process, a man with no prior criminal record and who worked for the city understandably mistook them for armed robbers, and fired his legally-registered gun in self-defense. The authorities are now charging that man with attempted murder, and any of his friends or acquaintances who dare vouch for his character and judgment (both of which are pretty important to establishing his guilt or innocence) can expect intimidating phone calls, emails, and visits from the police, as well as police efforts to interfere with their careers and livelihood.

Foster's attorney is right. This is blatant witness intimidation. Ohio's attorney general needs to rein the police union in.

We continue to get these cases where someone with no prior criminal record fires on a team of raiding police officers. And every time, we're supposed to believe that said person knew the armed men breaking in were cops, and that for whatever reason, each time this person who had shown no prior indication of criminality suddenly turned into a deranged cop killer.

Hardly seems likely, does it? Isn't the more rational explanation here that these raids are dangerously volatile, confusing, and violent, and put the people on the receiving end of them in understandable fear for their lives?

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  1. Once again, the police expose themselves as nothing more than a criminal gang. Criminal gangs have one response to a challenge to their authority: punish the challengers.

    If they weren’t anything but a criminal gang, you’d think they might come up with another way to handle things like this. They are dealing with a clearly understandable mistake (because of their own actions) by a non-criminal, yet are treating it exactly as they would if the guy were a total lowlife.

  2. [uber-dooper Leftist voice]

    Yes, another vicious attack on an innocent union. A union trying to protect the rights of workers to bargain fairly in a court of law.

    [/uber-dooper Leftist voice]

  3. each time this person who had shown no prior indication of criminality suddenly turned into a deranged cop killer.

    This will be used as a rationale for using even more force and terroristic tactics when making raids, because of the unshakeable presupposition that stopping the drug menace justifies any means necessary.

  4. [uber-dooper Leftist voice]

    If we had more effective gun control, this would not have happened.

    [/uber-dooper Leftist voice]

  5. As a side note… Ohio has just an interim Attorney General right now… the previous one (Mark Dann) was forced out after a fun sex scandal. And the interim one (who’s name I forget off the top of my head) has already said that they’re not interested in running for the office in November.

    Nephilium

  6. GM –
    what does an “uber-dooper Leftist voice” sound like?

  7. Ohio has just an interim Attorney General right now

    And according to the Ohio AG link he’s busy paying tribute to fallen officers.

  8. GM’s right. This would have never happened if Foster didn’t have a gun in the first place.

    In fact, if Foster checked the manual, he would have known that in his case, the proper procedure is to bend over and spread his cheeks and hope the invading officer goes easy on him.

    It’s his first time, after all…

  9. Radley, you’re the man for keeping the bright lights on the jackboots.

  10. Reinmoose,
    I’m thinking Robert Reich

  11. Where can I get the names and addresses of the businesses so that I can throw some business their way?

    And how can I get a copy of Overkill ( and anything else that couldn’t hurt) into the hands of everyone that matters?

  12. GM –
    what does an “uber-dooper Leftist voice” sound like?

    It is really high and dramatic, difficult to do for me. I usually have to drink some Mountain Dew after each performance to soothe the throat.

    [uber-dooper Leftist voice]
    Hope you appreciate the sacrifice I am making for you all!
    [/uber-dooper Leftist voice]

  13. “Mountain Dew”

    So that’s what you call it these days πŸ˜‰

  14. Guy Montag, who do you think is more likely to support the police in this case, people who consider themselves left-wing, or people who consider themselves right-wing? Because in my experience, your fantasy is nothing like I’ve heard any uber dooper leftist say.

  15. So, are they calling for a boycott of a public school? If so, I find that ironic for some odd reason.

  16. Your uber-dooper leftist voice sounds nasally. πŸ™‚

    More to the point, while scaredy-pants leftists would for the most part agree with your second “guns are bad” comment, not many that I know are huge fans of *professional* unions like those for police officers and teachers like you state in the first.

    And leftists generally dislike armed gangs of thugs as much as the next guy, unless they are situated in a faraway land and fronted by a charismatic guy in a cool hat.

  17. I can see the defense counsel getting some nice testimony out of this at trial, regardless. If the witnesses suddenly clam up, he can introduce their prior statements and grill them on the police pressure, call the officers involved in pressuring them, etc.

    Should mightily piss off the jury.

  18. Humm, perhaps I misnoticed that the really strong police unions are in Leftist Utopias.

    My bad!

  19. Columbus, the Leftist Utopia!
    (sung to the tune of Columbia the Gem of the Ocean.)

  20. Really strong police anything are generally not a feature of plausible utopias.

    Not that there has yet been such a creature as a “plausible utopia”, except maybe as part of a moon colony far away from the cares of the world.

  21. Hmm. As tacky as this may sound to some, but upstanding citizens (i.e. no prior criminal record) shooting cops when these raids happen is the only thing that has a chance of slowing the process down. If more cops start leaving these raids in body bags, the survivors will eventually have to rethink the practice.

  22. You know where Columbus really needs some left-wingers? On the Blue Jackets’ fucking front line.

  23. Really strong police anything are generally not a feature of plausible utopias.

    Except for police utopias.

  24. Right wingers, too. And centers. And defensement.

  25. defensemen

  26. If more cops start leaving these raids in body bags, the survivors will eventually have to rethink the practice.

    Haven’t we been over this? The only thing that will change after police bodies start hitting the floor will be the introduction of motherfucking tanks as part of SWAT hardware and a further relaxation of use of force rules.

    The only bodies that will stop the orgy of police force are those that are produced following a botched raid that kills the kid or spouse of someone who isn’t “just folk”, i.e. a politician or captain of industry…or even a cop.

  27. *Motherfucking Tank is a registered trademark of General Dynamics.

  28. Unfortunately, Elemenope, I’m not sure even that would solve this problem. The police spin machine is pretty damn strong. And with the way most people think, that the police, are “always right”, especially when it comes to the war on (some) drugs, I really can’t think of anything that can be done, unfortunately. It’s depressing.

  29. And leftists generally dislike armed gangs of thugs as much as the next guy, unless they are situated in a faraway land and fronted by a charismatic guy in a cool hat.

    Robert Mugabe?

  30. If I remember my days on High Street right, Columbus and/or Franklin County already have at least one tank.

    And one hell of a large helicopter force. It’s hard to sleep near campus if the birds aren’t up in the air.

  31. any of his friends or acquaintances who dare vouch for his character and judgment (both of which are pretty important to establishing his guilt or innocence) can expect intimidating phone calls, emails, and visits from the police, as well as police efforts to interfere with their careers and livelihood.

    Dominance
    Submission
    Territory

    Baboons with badges. And guns.

  32. There were no drug charges as a result of the raid.

    I guess the cops forgot to bring the evidence they were going to plant.

  33. We continue to get these cases where someone with no prior criminal record fires on a team of raiding police officers. And every time, we’re supposed to believe that said person knew the armed men breaking in were cops, and that for whatever reason, each time this person who had shown no prior indication of criminality suddenly turned into a deranged cop killer.

    The police are already trained to treat all citizens potential/probable cop-killers. And I’ve met enough people who buy the whole “every time they put on the uniform they’re a target” line, so this sort of thinking isn’t much of stretch for them.

  34. Not that there has yet been such a creature as a “plausible utopia”, except maybe as part of a moon colony far away from the cares of the world.

    Elemenope, have their been any decently well-reported accounts of such plausible utopias?

  35. Elemenope, have their been any decently well-reported accounts of such plausible utopias?

    Source! Source, goddamnit!!!

    πŸ™‚

  36. An observation from this and another of today’s threads:

    It’s pretty much open season around here on cops, but not so much on soldiers. I’m not passing a value judgement one way or another, just noting what seems to me an interesting phenomenon.

  37. My comment refers to other commentors, not staffers, so don’t go all “Kochtopus” on my ass.

  38. It’s pretty much open season around here on cops, but not so much on soldiers.

    I only really have a beef with the army occupying *my* neighborhood. Everything outside of the monkeysphere is at best an academic discussion of ethics or geopolitics or whatever, but at the end of the day it’s the cops and not the soldiers who if they fail at their duties could kill me and mine.

  39. I just sent an email to Mr. Gilbert telling him that the public in his town is obviously trying to stand up between his officers and the innocent people they subject to their unwarranted violence.

    I suggest you all do the same.

  40. Elemenope,

    Yep. While I have never had my door broken down by either, the army has never apprehended an Iraqi in my front yard.

  41. I don’t see how they can claim with straight face that people writing letters that say “Mr. Foster is a decent man who never who have knowingly fired on police.” is a union matter. Can then make any plausible case that they’re trying to “protect the injured offficers” here?

    This is a another data in my “police revenge” theory, which holds that someone mustbe made to pay a severe price for any injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, no matter the circumstance. How else does one explain this case or the Ryan Frederick case?

  42. Was this guy on a team that lost to Michigan?

    That’s pretty close to a Death Penalty offense in Columbus.

    But if he was on a team that beat Michigan, the police department might be disbanded.

  43. I guess the cops forgot to bring the evidence they were going to plant.

    As if we needed more proof of police incompetence.

  44. If more cops start leaving these raids in body bags, the survivors will eventually have to rethink the practice.

    Radley’s been making that point for a while, and so far the police have decided the best policy is to continue brutalizing citizens.

  45. disclaimer: this is not my opinion on the case!

    The article says “no significant amount of drugs were found.” Does this mean they did find some tiny amount of illegal drugs? If so, (reread disclaimer) a lot of folks may see this as a black man with a gun, gambling illegally (shooting dice) in a drug house. The sympathy then swings to the cops side. It is sad, but I know a lot of people that think this way.

  46. The only thing that will change after police bodies start hitting the floor will be the introduction of motherfucking tanks as part of SWAT hardware and a further relaxation of use of force rules.

    Tanks are kind of hard to miss, even at 2 AM. I’d say it’s difficult to make a surprise entry with one in the average subdivision. It ruins the whole concept of surprise the cops claim is the primary motivating factor for this kind of raid.

    Plus, most armored vehicles are lousy when it comes to doing a room by room search of a property to find evidence. Great at blowing the house down around someone’s ears, but that’s problematic once the tac team makes it inside the front door.

  47. but not so much on soldiers . . .

    lol. but the Grille-Aiders get so mad when I do. ‘specially on Mr. Balko’s thds.

  48. OK LiBARRtarians, your nominee has done as much as anyone to create the environment in which these raids occur. Has he come out strongly against them? Or commented at all? I’d be interested in his opinion.

  49. Has he come out strongly against them? Or commented at all? I’d be interested in his opinion.

    If you’re that interested, ask away:

    Press/Media outlets may contact the Barr ’08 Committee at the following:
    Media:
    press@bobbarr2008.com
    (770) 836-1776 during business hours only
    (703) 548-1160 (Audrey Mullen, Advocacy Ink)
    Internet media:
    bloggers@bobbarr2008.com

    We eagerly await your firsthand reporting.

  50. Plus, most armored vehicles are lousy when it comes to doing a room by room search of a property to find evidence. Great at blowing the house down around someone’s ears, but that’s problematic once the tac team makes it inside the front door.

    You inadvertently identified the direction in which this change would take police tactics.

    The plain sight doctrine takes on a whole new meaning when a tank shell turns your house inside out.

  51. The plain sight doctrine takes on a whole new meaning when a tank shell turns your house inside out.

    Honestly, if the situation gets that bad, most of us had better run like hell. We may not be drug users, but to borrow a phrase from TWC, we’ll be on the wrong side of the barricades regardless.

  52. The article says “no significant amount of drugs were found.” Does this mean they did find some tiny amount of illegal drugs? If so, (reread disclaimer) a lot of folks may see this as a black man with a gun, gambling illegally (shooting dice) in a drug house. The sympathy then swings to the cops side. It is sad, but I know a lot of people that think this way.

    Unfortunately, what drugs were or were not found is irrelevant to the majority of local opinion – The initial tv reports said that it was a “known drug house.” Therefore, a lot of viewers (like my dad), already assume that he was dicing in a crack house, shooting to defend his crack dealer friends. As far as I’ve seen, the local media hasn’t exactly done anything to correct that impression.

  53. Besides, criminals would NEVER dress up like and imitate police when invading your house.

    Oh wait, look what was in YESTERDAY’S paper. I guess maybe they do.

    Maybe the proper decision matrix here is: if they act like they respect your constitutional rights, they’re probably cops, and if they act like common fucking thugs, you get to assume they’re thugs. Lock & load, brothers.

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