Police Abuse

Federal Judge Throws Out Police Lawsuit So Ridiculous Even Union Wouldn't Sign On

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Seattle PD north precinct
Seattle PD

In May, more than 100 cops from the Seattle Police Department (but not their union) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) over new use of force rules it was imposing after an investigation found a pattern and practice of abuse at the department.

The cops argued, among other things, that the Constitution "does not permit judges, or in this case DOJ and its Monitor, to look back in perfect hindsight, from the safety of their chambers or offices, to second-guess what patrol officers actually faced at the moment and know from real experience on the streets," but that the Fourth Amendment does give cops the right to perform reasonable searches and seizures.

Unsurprisingly, today a district judge threw the lawsuit out, dismissing it with prejudice and ruling cops' case wasn't backed by the Constitution or case law.

Union bosses in Albuquerque pointed to the lawsuit in May as evidence of the DOJ's mandate failures. The Seattle Police Department says it's on board with mandated reforms. The failure of the lawsuit leaves one less excuse for anti-reform players elsewhere.

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  1. The cops argued, among other things, that the Constitution “does not permit judges, or in this case DOJ and its Monitor, to look back in perfect hindsight, from the safety of their chambers or offices, to second-guess what patrol officers actually faced at the moment and know from real experience on the streets,” but that the Fourth Amendment does give cops the right to perform reasonable searches and seizures.

    So, dunphy filed the suit?

    1. Which one in the picture is Dunphy?

      1. I’m going with the one on the right. I always pegged Dunphy as a hat guy.

        1. That can’t be Dunphy. No surfboard, and he certainly doesn’t look like a powerlifter.

          1. You can tell that from half of a face?

            1. Dunphy took the picture.

      2. He’s the clown nose on the guy in the far left.

    2. It sounds as though they are saying, “we have discretion to interpret the ‘constitution’ on the spot, and can not be subsequently over-ruled, because STREETS IS REAL

      (That’s another use of that Labi Siffre sample i mentioned the other day)

    3. ” . . .does not permit judges, or in this case DOJ and its Monitor, to look back in perfect hindsight, from the safety of their chambers or offices, to second-guess what patrol officers actually faced at the moment . . .”

      But it does permit judges to do that for everyone else? Law enforcement is the only group in the whole nation that is exempt from this? I mean the court can sit back and overrule the president and Congress, why not local law enforcement?

  2. Ahhhh, my favorite cop defense mechanism: our job’s so tough, unless you’ve been in our shoes you can’t criticize.

    The officers who signed on to the lawsuit, without the support of the police guild, objected, saying the policy elevates the rights of criminal suspects over those of police

    Uh, yeah bacon, that’s the whole point of ‘protect and serve’

    1. But how are those fine officers on the thin blue line supposed to go home safely if there are procedures like this in place?

      1. Funny I don’t recall ever agreeing to place officer safety above public safety.

        1. It’s in the social contract that you signed in your mother’s blood when you were born.

        2. You just don’t know what it’s like to be a cop! They have one of the most dangerous professions in the *world*, and we should all do our part to ensure officer safety. Think of their families, their children!

          1. I agree, I mean you don’t want criminals breaking down their door, burning their children and shooting unarmed men.

    2. Talk about a philosophical disconnect.

  3. I don’t understand why the police or prosecutors should be allowed to second guess my heat of the moment determination that I needed that Ferrari more than the guy who owns it.

    Come on, man. I HAVE MY REASONS!

    1. Why, P, After you liberate that 1%er’s car, its not a stolen vehicle.

      Its an “undocumented vehicle”.

  4. Seems like the no-hindsight rule they propose would basically make the entire criminal justice system unconstitutional, since all the convictions are based on decisions made by judges, jurors, and prosecuted with perfect hindsight of decisions made in the past.

    So I guess that just leaves Future Crime. Somebody better hurry up and find some pre-cogs.

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