Police

Why Cops Aren't Whistleblowers

The shameful stop snitchin' campaign among the men in blue

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While awarding Barron Bowling $830,000 last September for the beating he suffered at the hands of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson went out of her way to acknowledge another victim in the disgraceful affair: Kansas City police detective Max Seifert.

In January 2003, Bowling was on his way to fill a prescription when Timothy McCue, an on-duty DEA agent, tried to pass him illegally on the right side of a wide one-lane street. Bowling accelerated to prevent McCue from passing, and the two cars collided. After the collision, McCue and another agent got out of their car. McCue drew his gun, threw Bowling to the ground, and beat him to the point of inflicting brain damage. McCue later justified the violence by saying Bowling "resisted arrest" when he lifted his head from the pavement. According to witnesses, McCue threatened to kill Bowling, whom he called "white trash" and a "system-dodging inbred hillbilly."

McCue, the DEA, and officers of the Kansas City Police Department then conspired to cover up the beating. Bowling was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and assaulting McCue with his car during the collision. He was later acquitted on those charges but convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia—a marijuana pipe police found in his car. Witness statements incriminating McCue for both the accident and the beating were lost or destroyed, as were photos of the damage McCue inflicted on Bowling's face.

Only one of the officers at the accident scene that day had any integrity. That would be Seifert, a cop with an exemplary record. Seifert took the witness statements that implicated McCue. He documented Bowling's injuries and testified for Bowling in his lawsuit. He actively fought the cover-up.

As Judge Robinson pointed out, Seifert was forced into early retirement because of his actions. He lost part of his pension and his retirement health insurance. He was "shunned, subjected to gossip and defamation by his police colleagues, and treated as a pariah," Robinson said. "The way Seifert was treated was shameful."

So what happened to the cops involved in the cover-up? Ronald Miller, then Kansas City's police chief, is now the police chief in Topeka. Steven Culp, then Kansas City's deputy police chief, is now, incredibly, executive director of the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training. Officer Robert Lane went on to become a councilman for the town of Edwardsville, where he was later convicted of participating in a ticket-fixing scheme. And McCue is still with the DEA.

It may be true that abusive cops are few and far between, as police organizations typically claim. The problem is that other cops rarely hold them accountable. Perhaps that's because they know they will be treated the way Max Seifert was. For all the concern about the "Stop Snitchin'?" message within the hip-hop community, police have engaged in a far more impactful and pernicious Stop Snitchin' campaign of their own. It's called the Blue Wall of Silence.

Consider New York City police officer Adrian Schoolcraft. Schoolcraft was concerned about quotas for stops and arrests imposed by his commanding officers. Worse, some officers had been instructed to downgrade offenses, or even talk victims out of pressing charges, to make the city's crime statistics look better. NYPD officials publicly denied there was any quota system or data fudging, but that didn't jibe with what Schoolcraft was hearing in the station house. So he surreptitiously recorded commanding officers giving the instructions. According to The Village Voice, he brought his complaints to "a duty captain, a district surgeon, an NYPD psychologist, three Internal Affairs officers, and five department crime statistics auditors." None of them took action against the officers imposing the quotas.

But the department did take action against Schoolcraft. Last October a SWAT team appeared at Schoolcraft's Queens apartment, threw him to the floor, handcuffed him, and had him forcibly admitted to the psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital. NYPD officials lied to hospital staff about Schoolcraft's condition, causing him to be held for six days against his will. Officially, the visit to Schoolcraft's apartment was prompted by an unapproved sick day. But that does not explain the show of force or the removal of documents related to the quotas from Schoolcraft's home.

In October The Village Voice reported another troubling incident, in which 10 rookie New York cops viciously beat a cabbie outside an Upper East Side bar in 2008. None of the cops were charged, although a few faced administrative discipline. Their captain was promoted. The only cop to suffer any serious repercussions was Sgt. Anthony Acosta—the one who tried to stop the beating. He was stripped of his gun and badge and assigned to desk duty.

There are more stories like these. Last year a former Albuquerque cop named Sam Costales was awarded $662,000 in a lawsuit against his own department. In 2006 Costales testified against fellow officers after an incident that resulted in the arrest of the retired race car driver Al Unser. Costales said Unser did not assault or threaten officers from the Bernalillo Sheriff's Department, as claimed in police reports, and his testimony helped Unser win an acquittal.

None of the Bernalillo deputies were disciplined. But by now you probably can guess who was: Sam Costales. His own chief opened an internal affairs investigation of Costales for wearing his police uniform when he testified in Unser's case. Albuquerque cops apparently are permitted to wear the uniform when they're testifying for the prosecution, but not when they're testifying for the defense.

As is often the case when an officer is investigated, the police union got involved—but not to protect Costales. James Badway, secretary of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, sent an email message to the Bernalillo sheriff stating that the union was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" that Costales would testify against fellow officers.

In his 2005 book Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper explains the implicit threats that make the Blue Wall so successful: "You have to rely on your fellow officers to back you. A cop with a reputation as a snitch is one vulnerable police officer, likely to find his peers slow to respond to requests for backup—if they show up at all. A snitch is subject to social snubbing. Or malicious mischief, or sabotage.…The peer pressure is childish and churlish, but it's real. Few cops can stand up to it."

That makes it all the more important that police administrators and political leaders support and protect the cops who do. The most disturbing aspect of these stories is not that there are bad cops in Kansas City, New York, and Albuquerque. It's not even that other cops covered for them, or that unions have institutionalized the protection of bad apples. It's that the cover-up and retaliation extend all the way to the top of the chain of command—and that there has been no action, or even condemnation, from the elected officials who are supposed to hold police leaders accountable. 

Radley Balko is a senior editor at reason.

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  1. And people generally support this type of blatant corruption wholeheartedly. I have lots of friends in Pittsburgh who celebrated the thugs who beat the kid from the article.

    Cops who cover up the crimes of other cops should be hung to set an example.

    1. Hanged, not hung. Or they should be castrated so that they can never be hung.

    2. Fucking police brutality. How does that work?

      1. Pretty well actually.

    3. Drop some weed in their house (unless you know they have some) then call in an anonymous tip.

      1. Wouldn’t work. “Professional courtesy” and all that.

        1. It would totally work. They’d try it and then call 911 all freaked out.

        2. I thought he was talking peasant bageldickers, not actual cops.

      2. No need for planting the weed. Just call in an anonymous tip. That’ll be enough for the SWAT team to break down their door, shoot their dog, and rough them up and/or shoot them for resisting arrest. Even if they don’t find any drugs, the cops will still take them to jail for disturbing the peace or some other contrived bullshit.

  2. Thanks Balko. Considering the volume of cop-power-abuse stories yesterday, it’s a good reminder that it isn’t that most police are corrupt in terms of dirrectly harming the citizenry, but rather that the police culture permits the few abusers to escape judgement.

    1. Wow, I just actually read your article… sickening.

      1. I think I’ve seen Radley post on each of these stories in previous nut-punches, so I wasn’t as sickened as I’d normally be.

        1. Agreed. It’s like we’ve been inoculated.

  3. I’d like to see some realistic ideas on how to improve the situation. What can be done?

    1. Make it a crime for a cop not to report misconduct on the part of other officers. We already have a similar rule in the military with regard to war crimes. If it is a crime for a soldier not to report another soldier committing a war crime, why should it not also be a crime for a cop not to report a cop committing a crime?

      Anyway make it a crime for a cop not to report other cops committing crimes. And then send lots of cops to jail.

      1. Allow citizens to record police.

        Automatically increase sentances for crimes perpetrated by police.

        Make police destruction/tampering with evidence a seperate and more severe crime than civilian tampering.

        Elect procecuters who will actually procecute police.

        1. And don’t forget to take away the pension and benefits of any cop so convicted. Though, the dirty ones are busy skimming evidence wherever possible.

        2. Elect procecuters who will actually procecute police.

          This. And to go with it, we need prosecutors who care more about being right than their conviction rate. Failing to convict someone who is innocent should be a PLUS for the prosecutor.

          1. This. And to go with it, we need prosecutors who care more about being right than their conviction rate.

            Where you going to find them???

            1. I think Dallas has one. Maybe we just clone him?

              1. If you’re referring to Craig Watkins, he’s done some good work with exhonerating some falsely-convicted where DNA evidence has proven they didn’t do it.
                But he’s balls deep in a controversy over kickbacks and covering the Constable’s office for rampant abuses, including rape and extortion, IIRC.

            2. Appointed prosecutors, not elected.

        3. I think increasing sentences would make the problem worse, because cops would have even more incentive to try to cover up.

      2. Prosecute police union officials under RICO laws.

        1. good luck trying to find a prosecutor with enough guts for that.

      3. Promote whistleblowers. Rat out your abusive/crooked “brother”, get a pay raise and seniority.

        1. … which instantly becomes a sweet way of improving one’s career – just rat on someone and get your raise. Whether they are actually guilty or not is not relevant.

      4. The cops in these cover-ups were already committing several crimes. Adding one more to the tally isn’t going to change anything.

      5. Make it a crime for a cop not to report misconduct on the part of other officers.

        I’m pretty it’s already a crime; accessory after the fact. I could be wrong. Would one of the lawyers on here please chime in?

      6. there already are laws. they just get ignored. it’s a crime for anyone to file a false report, cops included. it’s already a crime to assault someone w/o cause, which is what some cops do. and there’s already a law that deals with covering up a crime. it’s that prosecutors don’t apply them to cops for the same reason other cops don’t. prosecutors need cops on their side to successfully prosecute cases, which means they’ll play nice, and overlook police abuses.

        i know this b/c i’ve got family on the Job, and a couple of brothers who are lawyers. nothing is gonna get done.

    2. Establish by legislation that no agent of the State enjoys any degree of immunity for actions that he should know to be illegal. Establish also that no officer of the Law may be said to be giving a “Lawful Order” when violating the Law. Finally, treat the deliberate wrongful conviction of any person on potentially Capitol charges as Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

      Then, after a decade or so of bad cops and prosecutors (and their fellow conspirators) being slung into jail so hard that they bounce, there should be a lot less enthusiasm for joining cover-ups.

      1. Establish by legislation that no agent of the State enjoys any degree of immunity for actions that he should know to be illegal. Establish also that no officer of the Law may be said to be giving a “Lawful Order” when violating the Law.

        I like these.

      2. There are a lot of good ideas, but until the FBI and the DOJ get involved, I think these stories will continue. And by “get involved,” I mean in a meaningful way, not in the “let’s help our brutal brothers” way they’re currently doing with that poor guy in Pittsburgh.

        1. but what about the Unions?

        2. So you think that the FBI and DOJ aren’t doing the same?

    3. Somewhat OT, but in order to be retained on the force cops should be subject to pop quizzes about the law. How can one enforce the law without knowing it?

      1. Ignorance of the law *is* an excuse. Unless you’re little people.

      2. what cops know about the law could fill a thimble. and it would cost more money to teach them, than it does to settle lawsuits against them out of court–same deal with that factory recall years ago–cheaper to pay the claims than fix the defect.

    4. I dont know if this would help, without the prosecutors doing their job, but I want any crime committed by a government employee while on duty to be trebled.

      If a government employee commits a crime while working (off duty, off hours wouldnt matter if they arent using their position to commit the crime) that has a 4-10 year sentence, for example, then after the sentencing, it get tripled, so they would get 12-30.

      1. Not a bad idea, but it would probably result mostly in draconian sentences for DMV employees smoking a joint back by the dumpster during lunch break.

        1. DMV employees smoking a joint back by the dumpster during lunch break while on the clock.

          Let’s not give the DMV too much credit now.

    5. I’d like to see some realistic ideas on how to improve the situation. What can be done?

      #1. End the War on Drugs.
      #2. Re-legalize all other voluntary activity.
      #3. Actively enforce laws against the initiation of violence, coercion, and fraud, especially when conducted under the color of the law.

      The police won’t do #3 until the politicians do #1 and #2. But don’t hold your breath; both politicians and police have vested interests in stopping #1 and #2.

      1. How does this get done? The politicians aren’t held accountable by the people. I think wholesale changes to state constitutions would help, such as clearly defining rights so that state legislatures have less power, and that laws are made that better protect people and property.

        1. i don’t know, from what little i’ve learned from my brothers (a lawyer, another is a former cop, now a lawyer too), it’s not really that there aren’t laws against this, it’s just that the social and political will to enforce them is lacking.

    6. End government unions. Its a start.

    7. Easy, End Internal Affairs, Citzens Review Boards (which are rigged with Politicians and Former Cops)

      City Police should be Investigated by County or State

      State Police should be Instigated by the Sec of State office.

      Or Create a State Level Agency the does nothing be investigate all Police Abuse cases.

      Will not end the Blue Wall, but it can help and will end local government influence and “Brass” influence over local internal affairs

    8. The entire culture needs changed. (I know, this is late.) From the bottom up. There needs to be solid recruiting, solid background checks. Good field trainers, who have absolutely golden reputations for integrity need to be the one training the newest officers. Old administrators, frankly, need removed. Community policing needs to become the norm. SWAT needs done away with, or only reserved for the situations where you need that kind of firepower.

      The entire culture needs an overhaul.

      1. frankly, i think a lobotomy might work better than an overhaul.

  4. FUCK DA POLICE

  5. Nothing can be done as long as people believe pro-state propoganda that has actions different if it’s “the government”, because they want to feel ‘safe’.

    If I can’t do it; a cop can’t do it. If I can’t do it; an IRS agent can’t do it. Anything else leads to this.

    1. Nice. Just get rid of the state and all is rosy. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that?

      1. It must be painful for you to be this stupid on purpose.

        1. Nah. You of all people should know that.

          1. Hurr durr.

            1. That’s funny every time.

              1. Chitter Chitter Squeak Squaweek!

              2. Chitter Chitter Squeak Squaweek!

      2. probably have. but i think negative IQ scores automatically fit you for a rubber room.

  6. Um, why did a single click on the link to see the comments for this thread open a dozen Facebook pages to like every damn article on the site?

    1. Facebook pages to like every damn article on the site?

      Facebook pages of reason articles. Oh-no!!! Reason articles are self aware!!!!

    2. It doesnt. At least with my browser.

      1. Must be my Mozilla beta.

  7. The cop omerta needs to be broken. They did it with the mafia, they should be able to do with this gang, even if they are more dangerous.

    What continues to baffle me is why the MSM refuses to listen to Balko and repeat his stories; they would get massive ratings. The only thing I can think of is that they’re afraid, and unfortunately, not entirely unreasonably.

  8. So I’m assuming you people always call HR when a coworker shows up late? Everyone protects their own, it’s human nature. I’m not saying it’s right, but people are raised to mind their own business.

    GOD KILL THE QUEEN: ENGLAND IS THE MOST VIOLENT COUNTRY IN EUROPE.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..olent.html

    1. Covering up for a fellow cop that murdered a “civilian” is the same thing as not reporting a late co-worker?

      Go be an ignorant asshole somewhere else, blogwhore.

      1. Narcissist takes issue with a whore.

      2. Aw, you sound just like a fascist, telling other people what to do, where to go. Too bad you have no clue about human nature.

        1. My issue is that you call yourself a libertarian. Libertarians are interested in agents of the state having some accountability for their actions. You obviously favor none, in that you equate all the abuses Balko lists in his article as being the same of being late for work. You’re a statist shitbird that should scuttle back to the GOP egg-sac.

        2. Right, telling to to fuck off is fascist.

          Saying that the cops have the right to abuse their power is libertarian.

          You must be one of the dumbest fucks out there.

          1. You’re a statist shitbird.
            You must be one of the dumbest fucks out there.
            Go be an ignorant asshole somewhere else.

            Your advanced method of argumentation intrigues me.

        3. I’m a little disappointed cunt pickle didn’t make it into this portion of the comments.

          1. Let us not forget mendacious fuck.

        4. BF Skinner thought enough of the idea that changing consequences changes behavior to title one volume of his autobiography, A Matter of Consequences. We should hold police to a higher standard not a lower one.

        5. BF Skinner thought enough of the idea that changing consequences changes behavior to title one volume of his autobiography, A Matter of Consequences. We should hold police to a higher standard not a lower one.

      3. if someone is incapable of distinguishing between reporting a late coworker and shooting an unarmed person for no reason, i suspect you can’t ask them not to be a blogwhore.

    2. Everyone protects their own, it’s human nature.

      Depends on what you mean by “their own.”

      If you’re talking about my wife and kids, then hell yes – all else be damned. Moreover, however, it also depends on what we’re talking about defending “their own” FROM.

      Did the person wrongfully kill someone? Or did the person jaywalk?

      Showing up late for work? You’re comparing that to a bunch of sworn “peace officers” kicking the shit out of some guy for not cowing down and demonstrating sufficient deference to the LEO’s clearly superior station in life?

      And you think that’s “human nature”? Maybe for insecure, sadistic frat boy types who need the collective approval of their fellow insecure, sadistic frat boy types. But not for any decent human being with the sense of what is right and what is wrong.

      1. “Maybe for insecure, sadistic frat boy types…”

        I think you’re being a little too hard on frat boys. Especially considering that most fraternities are associated with four year universities, and very few LEOs have a college education. (It doesn’t count as college just becuase the police academy is held at the local community college)

    3. Cops don’t mind their own business when it comes to civilians, the only do when another cop beats someone in the head so bad it causes brain damage and almost kills him, then throws him in jail on trumped up charges. That is really honorable to look the other way. Those cops should be proud of minding their own business.

    4. “So I’m assuming you people always call HR when a coworker shows up late?”

      I don’t call HR, but I do document it. They taught me that when I worked in HR.

      Oh, and go fuck yourself.

      1. i think your suggestion is unwarranted–to be unable to distinguish between these two things, well, that bespeaks an awful lot of time spent ‘punching the clown’, fucking oneself would seem redundant to them…but i don’t know this for a fact…just guessing.

      2. i think your suggestion is unwarranted–to be unable to distinguish between these two things, well, that bespeaks an awful lot of time spent ‘punching the clown’, fucking oneself would seem redundant to them…but i don’t know this for a fact…just guessing.

    5. “So I’m assuming you people always call HR when a coworker shows up late?” No, but when one of my co-workers kills someone I always mention it to someone!

      1. then clearly, you’re a traitor to your coworkers. For Shame!!!

  9. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  10. Nothing will change until the public at large realizes this is a systemic corruption, institutionalized by everyone from the rank and file officer to the Chief of Police and all his staff, from the ex-officer leadership of the FoP who cover up for every bad officer to the legislators and city council members that refuse to speak out against the police for fear that they’ll have to face them on the other side of the election to every DA who works with the police and won’t prosecute them, or ‘loses’ the evidence, or ‘forgets’ to file the paperwork on time.

    The more and more you look at it, the police are completely analogous to the mob. Shakedowns? Check. Code of Silence? Check. Protection racket? Check. But they have an even easier time getting ‘their guy’ elected than the mob does. And every politician wants to be ‘their guy’. If you’re not ‘their guy’, then the FOP comes out and tars the candidate as ‘soft on crime’ or ‘wanting to make you unsafe by getting rid of cops’.

    And too many people, the irrational, stupid, flock-following morons that they are, believe every word.

  11. What continues to baffle me is why the MSM refuses to listen to Balko and repeat his stories

    Watching five minutes of Morning Joe should make it obvious.

    It’s not merely stupidity, it’s a determinedly willful rejection of any evidence contradicting their “government is good” premise.

    If the media would publicize these stories, we could scrap DHS, because the terrorists would no longer hate us for our freedom.

  12. But police have to stick together.

    “There’s a perception among officers in the field that there’s a war on cops going on.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011…..latestnews

    1. Just like the war against christianity. Those poor christians are so persecuted in america, just like the cops are! Poor, poor police, can’t take someone saying mean things about them.

      1. I’m assuming by ‘plutosdad’, you’re referring to the Disney character?

      2. I’m assuming by ‘plutosdad’, you’re referring to the Disney character?

    2. While all the shootings don’t appear to be connected, Roberts says they have one thing in common.

      “We don’t have any data, but there seems to be a type of criminal out there looking to thwart authority,” he told the station.

      Whatever could have made them so froggy? /sarc

      1. i’m just curious how captain obvious there stumbled upon the idea that criminals want to thwart authority. i mean, it’s not like they’re criminals or anything…oh, wait….

    3. Obviously violence against police officers will turn them even more jackbooted than they already are. But what do they expect? They wage a very public war against the people they are supposed to be protecting, and now they are concerned that they reap what they sow?

      1. “reap what they sow?”

        How dare you use a bible term; you fuckwad. I’ll teach you to cram your christ-fag religion down my throat!!!!!

  13. I like CSP Schofield’s ideas, but there are already plenty of laws on the books; if we do not have people determined to enforce them, nothing will change.

  14. Until the IA depts are replaced by citizen boards with subpoena power, this corruption will continue.
    Also, these civilian boards need to be able to call a grand jury without the support of the local DA in cases where then DA has a conflict of interest (i.e. any case involving the police since the police and the DA work in partnership with each other). They won’t let a judge sit on a case involving another judge he has a close working relationship with, will they?

  15. I’m not saying it’s right, but people are raised to mind their own business.

    Does your mommy tie your shoes?

    1. No, your mother does, right after he blows me. There, you like acting like a kid or do you want to debate like a man?

      1. What would you know about debating like a man?

      2. You get blowjobs from dudes?

        1. Don’t be so judgmental, heller.

      3. You’re weeeeeelcooome!

  16. Not to thread-jack, but I had a discussion about this with my wife last night. Two cops were tragically shot and killed in St. Petersburg, FL by a warrant suspect with a semi-auto pistol. Of course the local PDs went apeshit and proceeded to literally demolish the house, with AR-15s and multiple APCs.

    I’m not trying to downplay the tragic death of the officers involved. I just disagree with all the wailing from the community, given the overkill response, plus the kind of heavy-handed enforcement that we see here daily concerning filming, pot raids, dog-shootings, etc. In two adjacent counties, there’s been a police chief in a department-wide coverup of child-sex charges for his buddy and two guys arrested and intimidated for filming police. And of course there was ample opportunity to apprehend the shooting suspect back in November. Instead of policing and protecting the community, the police are willing destroy it.

    1. Dude! They killed cops and you complain about cops shooting back? Jesus Christ, it seems to me that you want cops to put their lives on the line to protect some criminal scum? What’s next? Aromatherapy for prisoners? They tried that in California.

      1. Disingenuous troll is disingenuous.

        1. I am not a troll, I’m just a politically incorrect libertarian instead of a liberal looking for a tax break.

          1. Calling yourself a libertarian does not actually make you one you statist fuck. Go blogwhoring somewhere else with the pickle-factory.

          2. A libertarian who adores the armed agents of state coercion? Jinkies! The world’s gone all topsy-turvy and whatnot.

      2. “Dude! They killed cops and you complain about cops shooting back?”

        I notice you’re late to work again today.

        *makes note of it*

      3. If I give you a match will you be so kind as to set your straw man on fire?

      4. I actually like Gregory Smith (possibly Steve’s gay brother?) We’ve needed a right-wing troll for a while, now. MNG, Max, and Tony can’t do everything you know.

        1. Oh, I’m right-wing now? Whatever hippie, go kiss Obama’s ass.

          1. I see you didn’t deny you were gay. Maybe you should be the one kissing Obama’s ass?

          2. My anaconda don’t want none.

  17. I need the info in a timely manner, then i can gqther a force to come out and defend the “undesirable”. We need to team up against these modern day atrocities. Fight the abuse.

  18. Here’s the recent FL cop arrest story –

    http://articles.cnn.com/2011-0…..t?_s=PM:US

    Which story is more important in it’s consequences? But I’m guessing we’ll be hearing about the slain officers for months to come.

  19. police have engaged in a far more impactful and pernicious Stop Snitchin’ campaign of their own. It’s called the Blue Wall of Silence.

    Nuh-uh!! No way!!

    I had a conversation along these lines a couple weeks ago with an attorney who works in the state AG’s office. She’s a big defender of the cops, since so many of the lawyers in her office used to be cops and they also work with a lot of cops. She would acknowledge only that sometimes, occasionally, there might be a bad cop now and then, but they all are doing such a dangerous job and they really put themselves in harm’s way, etc., etc. Yup, I said – they chose the job, they knew what it entailed. It does not entitle them to consider themselves a supereme authority and somehow superior to mere “civilians.”

    1. Being a cop isn’t statistically all that dangerous, either – on a scale of deaths per thousand, commercial fishermen, lumber jacks, and even sanitation workers are in more dangerous occupations than cops. Yet cops and their sycophants feel perfectly justified in any violation of the publics civil rights in the name of keeping cops ‘safe’.

      1. Hell, they’re not even in the top ten

        1. Bookmarked! Thanks!

        2. Only slightly more dangerous to be a cop/detective at 17.5 deaths per 100,000 (#24 on the list) than it is to be a baker(#25) at 16.9 per. Flight attendents (#20) are 23.0 per 100,000.

  20. Well, It’s you and me to raise the flag. Sure there are bad cops, and always will be, but we have to step up and defend the good ones.

    1. What do you mean by “good ones”? Whistleblowers like the ones described above? Or people who merely enable these sorts of atrocities without actively engaging in evil behavior?

      I mean, I’ve got nothing against “defending” a good cop, but that depends a lot on the definition of good. And even then, you know, it’s the guy’s job. He gets paid for it, just like firemen or EMT’s. There’s no reason to fetishize the cop who manages to do his job without leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake.

  21. you want to debate like a man?

    What in the fuck are you talking about?

    Based on your moronic first comment, I’m going to assume you’re some sort of conservative cop-worshipper who believes we’re so close to being overrun by the darkies we can’t hold the police to any sort of civilized standard of behavior.

    1. TEH DARKIES!!! OH NOES!!!

    2. Get out deh house, dem darkies ar tryin to gets to school again!

      1. So long ever’body. We’ll see y’all next week on HEE-HAW!

  22. She would acknowledge only that sometimes, occasionally, there might be a bad cop now and then

    And every one of their “brothers” who refuses to slap the cuffs on them, and testify against them in open court, is just as dirty.

    1. thank you. thought i was the only one that noticed that.

  23. Well no.. There are nasty ass cops out there, my point is there are some good onrs and we need to step up and help defend the good ones. And yes, that means you have to determine the good from the bad

  24. I have zero affiliation and have to admit I haven’t even really checked it out at all, and quite likely some of you here know all about it, but for those that don’t, you might be interested in checking out “Copwatch”.

    There also are various regional Copwatch websites. Again, I have no connection with any of these at all – I just learned about them recently.

  25. Q: How many cops does it take to push the handcuffed suspect down the stairs?

    A: None. He fell.

  26. I think “Abusive Cops” may be much more frequent than youd like to believe. Personally, I think its jsut the opposite, there are few honest cops.

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  27. There is only one reason why someone would seek out a job that involves carrying a club and a gun: they want to use their club and gun on people.

    Show me a policeman and I’ll show you a sociopath.

    1. I will repeat what I have said on many cop threads before. We need psych testing before admission to the academy and anyone who scores above average (vs the nation as a whole) on “craving for authority” is immediately excluded.

      This might mean zero class sizes at the police academy however.

      1. I do know for a fact that the NJ State Police, anyhow, do a quite thorough investigation into the background of any applicant who makes it past the first couple rounds of testing, before admitting them to the academy, including a detailed psych evaluation and face-to-face interviews with the family members.

        1. Yes, but do they weed out those with even a slight authoritarian bent? Of do they encourage that?

          Most of my interaction with cops has been during traffic stops. And, yes, most of the time I was in the wrong. But only once have I ever felt the cop was a fellow human being.

      2. robc, are you suggesting discrimination against mental defectives? 😉

        A friend is a chicago cop, says the academy is mostly a scam – someone can get cop pay just for being in the academy and claim injury after the first week and still collect for 6 months, then start academy over 6 months later and “get injured” again. they can do this about 3 or 4 times; they would never pass the academy but they can’t be kicked out quickly.

        After a few years on the job, he complained that most cops were either lazy or trigger happy. Says he only reached for his gun once but would rather not reach for it because it makes the situation more dangerous. Of course, the gun happy cops get to spend days filling out reports instead of doing police work so it’s a sort of passive-aggressive laziness. He’s says the cops who actually want to do a good job are outnumbered by the useless on the force so there isn’t much one can do to fight it – he says he gets enough flak for doing good police work to begin with.

        He also hates when anyone mentions his occupation in public because it just creates tension. He’s also thinking of looking for another job but he started in his mid 30’s and it might be too late to change careers again at this stage of his life.

    2. I actually disagree with this. After 25 years as a paramedic, and working with/around cops daily, I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are cops or ex-cops. A lot of them are good guys at heart.

      When it comes to violence, I tend to separate humans into 3 groups: Wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. The first two are self-explanatory.

      The third group is not prone to looking for trouble or initiating violence, but doesn’t shy from it, and will jump in without hesitation if they spy a wolf doing what wolves do. I put myself in that latter category. And I think most cops would, as well. That self-identity is what draws many of them to the force, likewise with military guys.

      The problem seems to be, a lot of cops get their thought processes scrambled after dealing with scumbags on a daily basis.

      Then, like a hammer in search of a nail, they start to see not only the scumbags, but anyone who gets crosswise of them as someone who “needs thumping”. That’s when they become dangerous.

      1. I guess I’ve only met the hammers in search of nails.

        1. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of little fucking twerps with little dicks in law enforcement who were bullied in middle school, and are in it because because the gun and badge makes them feel like a “big man”.

          But they are barely tolerated by their own, and are rarely dangerous to anyone other than 14 yo skateboarders.

          1. “But they are barely tolerated by their own…”

            Really?

            Isn’t the point of Balko’s piece that they are not only tolerated but protected?

            “…and are rarely dangerous to anyone other than 14 yo skateboarders.”

            I don’t recall any Balko pieces about 14 yo skateboarders being beaten or killed.

            1. You are conflating two different animals.

        2. There used to be a Deputy who was dating one of our female medics, who used to hang around the station. He was a little fag, but he THOUGHT he was as hard as a diamond dick at a porno theatre.

          One of our medics was training to join the police reserve for some extra cash, and I was letting him use me as a dummy to practice his handcuffing technique in the kitchen area.

          The “hard” deputy allowed that he would show us the “right way” to do it.
          I let him get one hand behind my back, and the cuff on that hand.

          Then I turned into him, picked him up with the cuffed hand by the crotch, set him in the kitchen sink, and turned on the water.

          He never came back when I was working again. :^)

          1. So is it true? Do they have tiny dicks?

  28. For many years, we’ve been going after ” abusive cops”, it isn’t working. There are alot of “good” cops out there, but they get no support. Maybe that would be a beneficial approach, support the good and denigrate the bad.

    1. But if there really were “a lot of good cops out there”, the Blue Wall of Silence wouldn’t be what it is. And therein lies the problem — we’re not just talking about aggressive, violent officers who break the law in the first place. We’re also talking about the enablers, the fellow officers who might not have done the deed in the first place but who nevertheless will do everything in their power to protect the offender.

      Then there are the ones who are truly “good” — the people who want to uphold the law even when it applies to fellow officers. Those, I fear, are few and far between.

    2. There are good cops being supported by Balko, except they all seem to be ex-cops now.

  29. Empower the Good (few) cops and that will disempower the bad cops. It seems simple to me. Get juries and the populace on your side and nullification can go a long way…

    1. Nullification of…what? Maybe a jury refuses to convict some guy who was wrongly accused by police, subject to falsified evidence, etc. How does that deal with the bad cop? As long as prosecutors are unwilling to even consider bringing charges against cops, there is no jury to nullify anything. Sure, civil suits might occasionally result in a win for the victim. But even then, the expenses are generally paid for through taxes and the cops often keep their positions.

      1. Cops regularly commit perjury with the encouragement of prosecutors and the knowledge of judges.

        If a cop and a crack whore testify differently about an officer shooting/beating a suspect, I’m gonna give a lot more credence to the crack whore.

  30. Cops are generally ignorant morons who disguise their pathetic inadequate personalities with violence and intimidation. I know a bunch of them, and they’re all losers

    1. I’ve known more than a few in my time, and without exception they all talked about the joy of inflicting misery on people.

      One in particular complained that he had not yet had the opportunity to use his service weapon (translation: he got the job hoping to commit murder).

      And people wonder why I fear the police.

      1. I also know several cops who have outright said to me that they would like to take out just one scumbag before they retire.

        I mean, I can understand the frustration at the scumbags out there who seem to get away with some pretty outrageous stuff, and there are no doubt scumbags who would benefit the world by being eliminated from it, but we also do have this quaint notion that once was known as “due process.”

        But yeah, I’ve had more than a couple cops tell me they hope they get the chance to blow away a criminal before they retire.

        1. The guy I’m thinking of was a rookie.

        2. I can understand the frustration at the scumbags out there who seem to get away with some pretty outrageous stuff

          Yeah, I guess — except this is their job. They were hired to deal with scumbags. So it may be frustrating, but then again most jobs are. If it bothers them so much they should just quit their jobs instead of committing murder.

  31. Here’s an idea, why don’t the “good cops” try telling their “bad cop” co-workers, “You’re doing it wrong!”?

  32. When need them to defend my storefront, they show up. And then they don’t look like Nazis. When they pull my workers over and search them for no reason, they look like the Nazis, so that is my reason for saying some are bad and some are good,

    1. You have faile dto answer the question: how can a cop be “good” if he/she either openly defends the abusive ones, or fails to say or do anything about the abusive ones?

      Any cop that defends or hides crimes on behalf of his so-called fraternity is not a good cop.

  33. I’m Saying, protect those (few) good cops against the establishment.. I don’t care about the blue line, lets save those cops and put them in positions of authority, not the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. See that little “reply to this” link? It works. Just FYI.

      1. Get a grip, good and bad exits everywhere. e should focus on improving the ratio of good to bad

        1. Uhh….what?

        2. No one is disagreeing with you on that, we are suggesting ways to do it. And the ways are to prosecute the BAD with extreme prejudice. And that includes anyone who fails to turn in a bad cop.

  34. I’m not going to quote it, but there is a saying, ” it’s hard to believe something if your job requires you not to believe it” apropo here.

    1. Thought you weren’t going to quote it.

  35. A snitch is subject to social snubbing. Or malicious mischief, or sabotage

    The code among cops sounds oddly like the code in prison, or among gangsters.

    1. That is because they all specialize in the use of Force.

    2. Or, it results in your back-up ‘getting lost’ while you’re breaking up a bar fight. An extra 30 seconds is a LONG time in an outnumbered bar fight.

  36. Great article.

  37. Great article. Keep up the good work.

  38. The real problem is policy, not enforcement.

    The solution is to reform policy, i.e. laws:
    1. End the asset forfeiture scams, e.g. any assets that are seized are sold at auction at the end of the year and the funds generated are rebated to the taxpayer, pro rata based on taxes paid by the taxpayer. Never allow any forfeited assets to be retained by the criminal justice system.
    2. End the war on drugs (tall order, but a change such as prop 19 is a good start).
    3. Prohibit SWAT teams from dressing up like ninjas, they should be dressed as policemen.
    4. Make it legal to record policemen while on duty.
    5. Create independent citizen authorities who control all dash-cam videos, with chain of custody rules that removes the police from ever touching a dash-cam video.

    1. All excellent ideas wayne! I like the idea of festooning the police with cameras that cannot be turned off while on duty, and which constantly stream to servers that are in civilian control. Also, I think cop uniforms should be pink. Hot pink. I think this alone would turn some of those macho douchebags away from the “force”.

  39. Strip sovereign immunity for criminal acts.

    Charge the FBI and DOJ with a primary mission of protecting the civil rights of US residents against violations by law enforcement.

    End asset forfeiture.

    End the use of SWAT teams to serve warrants without an order, signed by a judge, certifying that the target of the warrant is known to be armed and dangerous.

    Make it a criminal offense for a cop to lie on a warrant application.

    End the bargaining authority of police unions. End union-negotiated contracts and work rules.

    That’s enough for a start.

  40. 11 cops have been shot in the last 24 hours. That’s a start.

    1. No. When cops are shot it only engenders sympathy for them in the general populace. Same with politicians really. Shooting them is no answer.

      1. “When cops are shot it only engenders sympathy for them in the general populace.”

        Not anymore. The Globe and Mail ran a piece critical of the massive and overdone turnout of the brotherhood for a slain cop, on the same day as the story broke about a Kelowna cop kicking an innocent motorist in the head, and the online comment boards had to be shut down for all the abuse readers were heaping on cops.

        The lipstick is off the pigs.

  41. This shameful action of the police, it is proper that the police have emerged to lead and dismiss the integrity of dirty cops.

  42. My distrust and dislike of all cops stems from this very reasoning. The good cop is the minority since all cops take an oath to uphold the law no matter what and very few are willing to do so when it comes to their brethren in uniform. That makes very few good cops and a lot of fucking criminals with guns and badges.

  43. To the guy who tried to impersonate me with the “darkies” comment, I have news for you. I don’t give a crap about race, in fact, I support abolishing affirmative action because when MLK said we should judge a man by his character, I took that literally unlike the race baiters that want to give people privileges based on race.

    So if it was up to me, I’d get rid of hispanic heritage day, african american month, and all that race bullshit unless they plan to include Caucasian American Day or European-American Month.

    I support equality, not political correctness, and certainly not diversity. So don’t ask me to celebrate Obama because he’s black, as far as I’m concerned, I’m more worried about him being a red than a black, a commie red that is.

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    1. “I’m more worried about him being a red than a black, a commie red that is.”

      Yes, thank you, we know what you meant by ‘red’.

      Sly innuendo (in general, I’m not implying that yours was in any way sly) is much more effective when you don’t immediately proceed to explain your innuendo in the next sentence. It packs more of punch when you allow your audience to “get it” for themselves.

  44. I am thankful for the good ones.

    My personal beliefs lead to conclude that the others have something waiting for them after this life that they are unprepared for.

    In the meantime, people in all walks of life should take a stand against dishonest, hypocritical, incompetent scumbags using authority unwisely delegated to them as a means to try and make up for a substandard anatomical endowment.

  45. I think one of the worst abuses is the fact that harming a cop gets more punishment. Who said that their life is worth more than my own life?

  46. I think one of the worst abuses is the fact that harming a cop gets more punishment. Who said that their life is worth more than my own life?

  47. I spent 10 years in law enforcement and until you have been in a situation where your life depends on another then you have no clue what you are talking about. I spent more time on duty with my fellow officers than I did with my own family. And when someone made the mistake of being too compassionate they were labeled and pushed out of the circle. Because understand this, there is an oath to take and a promise to make that we will protect. Unfortunately with making that promise we begin to judge if someone really is worth our life. We take on an attitude of “us” versus “them”. Us being the law bringers, them being the law breakers. It messes up your mind and your belief system. It’s too scary being outside the circle, it’s too dangerous.

    1. That’s why, before long, people will make the rational decision to shoot cops first, ask questions later.
      “Us” vs “Them” works both ways.

    2. So basically you’re admitting being a police officer is like being in a gang?

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  49. Good article. I am a retired officer who also was shunned because of whistle blowing. I do know that cops also abide by the code because it is hard to find an ear to listen and you end up fighting the battle alone. I would love to hear from you if you would like to know of my experiences.

  50. I too am a recently retired police officer. I will agree with “beenthere” that the shared perception of danger and the fact that we spend most of our time with our fellow officers works against “snitching,” but it is counterbalanced by the officers’ self-image as a professional. I’ve seen officers who “snitched” shunned by some but lauded by others. I think the organizational culture of the individual police department has a lot to do with it.

  51. The best way to get this kind of cover-up out into the open would be for good cop whistleblowers to make their evidence available, anonymously, through a second source, to the resident citizens; by call-ins to local radio/TV stations; put it on the Internet. Keep it in the open. Denver has its problems with police butality, also. The people complain loudly. Everyone is aware of the charges. It makes the Mayor and upper echelons take notice.

  52. I know someone who could be considered mentally defective with an extremely high propensity for violence. So much so, that he was forced to join the army in order to avoid jail for punching a cop. Well, after serving in the army – marines, technically – he’s back in civilian land. And now guess what he is? That’s right – a cop. How was he hired? He’s not a psychopath, no, no. He’s a veteran. And how could you deny a veteran? (Now recall why he joined the army in the first place). Most cops in southern california are ex-marines and who knows how many of them are like this guy. Draw whatever conclusions you may – what I am pointing out is how unfit individuals join the ranks of the police force.

  53. what concerns me most is that people consider that some cops are not like this, when in truth, covering up a crime, which is what you do when you say nothing when a cop beats a suspect already in custody, or lies on an official report, is also a crime. it is unfortunate, understandable in light of the real dangers cops face daily, that cops who would otherwise be good cops, feel forced to cover up the crimes of ‘bad’ cops, but they’re still bad cops themselves.

  54. Not only do cops of all ranks refuse to act against bad/rogue cops, judges and prosecutors refuse to act — except in the most egregious cases. What do we get as a result? More rogue cops disregarding the constitution.

  55. The best way to get this kind of cover-up out into the open would be for good cop whistleblowers to make their evidence available, anonymously, through a second source, to the resident citizens; by call-ins to local radio/TV stations; put it on the Internet. Keep it in the open. Denver has its problems with police butality, also. The people complain loudly. Everyone is aware of the charges. It makes the Mayor and upper echelons take notice.

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  71. I lived in K.C most of my life on the Kansas side. I’m telling you if you needed help you had better hope those KC cops and DEA were working. I didn’t lock my front door until I was 25 thanks to them. All of them on that lawsuit. TIM, BOBBY, BRENDEN, BRANDON. THE BRAVIEST MEN IN K.C.
    IF YOUR LOVED ONE WAS MURDERED YOU BETTER HOPE THAT BOBBBY LANE GOT YOUR FAMIKIES CASE, you know it would get solved. These gutsy men deal with assholes with guns and the law protecting them. They go to the calls when wives are beaten and can’t be identified . I GREW UP WITH THESE LEGIONS , HEROES AND THEY ARENT VILLIANS,
    The crackhead that won the settlement is a white trash meth and crack head that sold shit all over Argentine (kck), hit women, rarely worked, drove drugs around, avoided warrants and Turned out to be a CI for another DEPARTMENT.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all a plan. Everyone gets paid.
    Those Agents are sexual and I loved the attention. They all probably live in the same town near Texarkana now.

    1. Sorry I don’t have my contacts in . Lol I noticed typos. Think about it you have all that adrenalin running threw your system, they are going to be wound tight and full of energy, I’m attracted to it myself. Alas, non of them are in KC anymore.

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