Police Abuse

Yes, Using Cops To Snatch Money from Citizens Via Petty Fines is One of the Roots of the Police Violence Problem


Mother Jones pulls together a conclusion regarding awful police violence that won't be news to Reason readers: using cops as petty enforcers of bullshit law designed almost entirely to squeeze bucks out of hapless citizens often guiltless of actually harming anyone's life or property is a root cause of the problem:

it is probably no coincidence that when you examine the recent rash of police killings, you find that the offenses they were initially stopped for were preposterously minor. Bland's lane change signal, DuBose's missing plate. Walter Scott had that busted taillight—which, we all later learned, is not even a crime in South Carolina. Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes. When Darren Wilson was called to look into a robbery, the reason he initially stopped Michael Brown was for walking in the street—in Ferguson, an illegal act according to Section 44-344 of the local code. Between 2011 and 2013, 95 percent of the perpetrators of this atrocity were African American, meaning that "walking while black" is not a punch line. It is a crime.

And not just a crime, but a crime that comes with fines that are strictly enforced. In 2014, Ferguson's bottom-line-driven police force issued 16,000 arrest warrants to three-fourths of the town's total population of 21,000. Stop and think about that for a moment: In Ferguson, 75 percent of all residents had active outstanding arrest warrants. Most of the entire city was a virtual plantation of indentured revenue producers….

"Once the system is primed for maximizing revenue—starting with fines and fine enforcement," Holder said apropos Ferguson, "the city relies on the police force to serve, essentially, as a collection agency for the municipal court rather than a law enforcement entity."….

When the poor come to understand that they are likely to be detained and fined for comically absurd crimes, it can't be a surprise to the police that their officers are viewed with increasing distrust. In this environment, running away from a cop is not an act of suspicion; it's common sense.

Remember: there are no debtors prisons in the U.S. of A, unless the debt is owed to the government at any level, in which they'll happily spend way more than your debt to punish you by imprisoning you if they get their hands on you. (You'll still owe the money! Probably more!)

Me on "Petty Law Enforcement vs. the Poor" back in January 2014.

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  1. “When Darren Wilson was called to look into a robbery, the reason he initially stopped Michael Brown was for walking in the street….”
    This statement doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why would Wilson stop Brown if he was called to look into a robbery? Does anybody else remember this?

    I totally agree with the gist of the article at Mother Jones (I can’t believe I am actually writing this), but you can’t put Brown into this list. Brown was a fucking thug who had just roughed up a store owner and stole some cigars, then when confronted with this tried to take the cop’s gun.

    1. And if the cop had a body camera that would have shown that. Which is why they are needed. Protects everyone.

      1. I couldn’t agree more! Once in a great while, a cop actually has to shoot a real criminal like an armed robber or a rape rapist. And this would help exonerate those while helping to protect the rest of us.

        1. “Once in a great while” is rather generous.

          1. Apparently you’re omniscient?

  2. In the end, all crimes are punishable by death.

    1. Phooey. It’s not the crime, it’s the status.

      Peasants can be killed by their rulers and their minions.

      Their rulers are immune from prosecution, let alone punishment.

  3. I think a lot if not most of the stops for petty bullshit are less about the minor fines and more about creating an excuse to look for drugs.

    1. It’s not mutually exclusive. Either way brings revenue into the city/department.

      1. Oh I get that. I think the cops prefer to see themselves as drug “warriors” as opposed to meter maids.

        1. Meter maids only write tickets. They don’t have guns and don’t have the power to kick doors, beat people for giving them the finger, and shoot them.


          1. You know Deblasio wants to give parking enforcement the authority to write sidewalk tickets, right? Littering, spitting on the sidewalk, loitering, selling loosies, trashcans too close to the curb, trashcans too far from the curb, looking suspicious, looking suspiciously unsuspicious, etc.

      2. It’s a perfect storm of revenue input, petty enforcement to keep people in line, and stroking the authoritah boners of the enforcers while doing it.

        This shit wouldn’t happen if there weren’t people who enjoyed enforcing the fines and petty rules on others (but not themselves, of course). Cops are just like DMV employees or Grade 19 Bureaucrats, except they can kill you instead of just making your life hell.

    2. That seems to be common, but the article mentioned a practice in So. Car. that’s actually the reverse: stops ostensibly for drugs that are actually an excuse to lay petty vehicular crimes!

  4. Is that our new flag?

    1. United States of Assault! USA! USA! USA!

    2. I go through all the hard work to design this flag and you guys are still looking elsewhere, It’s getting harder and harder to even get up in the morning.

      1. How much?

      2. All Hail Chippertopia!

      3. It’s getting harder and harder to even get up in the morning.

        Sounds like someone needs Viagra… Oh wait, you probably weren’t talking about morning wood. Nevermind.

      4. Nice flag…needs moar ass sex.

        1. Well yeah, but what doesn’t.

          1. Me, for one. Ass sex does nothing for me.

            1. Even if it’s with a Mexican smoking marijuana?

  5. Is Michael Brown someone you want to use as an example here?

    He committed robbery and assault in order to obtain a box of cheap smokes, was too dumb or arrogant to try to be inconspicuous as he left the scene of the crime, and decided to attack the cop when caught red handed with the (meager) loot.

    Wilson wss not wrong to check him out.

    1. Yes, they do. They haven’t got the memo that the narrative collapsed badly on that one.

      1. +1.

        Acosmist, is your handle a comment on cosmism?

    2. I seem to recall that Wilson’s initial statement was that he did not know about the robbery, and stopped Brown for walking in the street.

      After he had the cop-only privilege of getting his story straight before talking to investigators, his story changed.

      Oh, look: here’s the police chief saying Brown wasn’t stopped as a robbery suspect:


      So, yes, Brown was stopped for walking down the street, and killed for failure to obey. The cop who shot him had no idea he was a suspect in a violent crime.

      1. Brown knew he was the perpetrator of a violent crime. I think it safe to say that influenced his decision making in how he reacted to being stopped by a police officer.

        1. No, he didn’t

      2. Only if you take “failure to obey” to a ludicrous extreme!

  6. Let’s hear it for the leading lights of the Progressive movement who battle tirelessly against this kind of regressive taxation.
    Stand up and take a bow. You know who you are!
    *peers nervously into audience*

  7. I am of two minds on this. These are good points, pointing out the undesirable incentives, but how does it compare to the alternatives? On some level it seems better to punish law-breaking by extracting money from people doing things we don’t want, than it does to punish and extract money from law-abiding citizens doing something we do want (e.g. generating income, retail sales, home ownership, hiring, etc.). I could argue that the latter incentives are worse.

    My sense is that Mother Jones and other leftists would rather “tax the rich” and ignore small crimes and quality of life violations by the poor, no matter what it does to the community overall. Which of course got us Dinkins-era New York, and a reprise now with De Blasio.

    1. The point is: Why are so many of these things crimes at all? Why can people be arrested for letting their kids walk to the park?

      1. I’m not defending all the stupid and trivial laws, just making a general point.

    2. So instead of seeing them actually coming around on this important issue and applauding it, you go FULL TEAM and automatically assume that to solve this they want to “tax the rich” (which admittedly they nearly always do) even though they never say that? That even though they seem to be taking a very similar position here to libertarians, you won’t believe them because of TEAM?

      You realize that this behavior perpetuates TEAM and partisanship, right? Even when someone seems to agree 100%, you won’t trust them or work with them because they’re not your TEAM. And yes, “they” do that all the time too. But this is how partisanship works. And you know what? It fucking sucks.

      1. I don’t think I’m participating in TEAM anything on this point. I’m trying to see this objectively, in two ways: 1) How can a city best maintain quality of life, so that people aren’t blocking the streets or littering or whatever, and 2) What’s the best way for a city to raise funds?

        1. Of course you are. You completely gloss over the actual point of the article and go straight to saying “well no matter what they say in the article I think they actually mean ‘tax the rich’ even thought they never say that”, which is about as TEAM as it gets. TEAM BLUE does this to libertarians all the time, sometimes about this very subject. “Yeah well they say they care about police brutality but they want privatized police forces who only serve the rich” or some other such idiocy.

          If you immediately go to what you *think* are the motivations of people you normally don’t like, instead of what they say–even if they seem to be quite earnest in this case–you’re not listening to them as an individual. You are saying “I know what your TEAM thinks, so what you say you think doesn’t matter, and I’m not going to listen to you”.

          That’s about as partisan as it gets. That’s basically the definition of partisanship.

          1. Settle down. I can do more than one thing at a time. I am not dismissing this issue due to perceived motivations. I am trying to raise a larger point that you are ignoring: what is the best way for governments to raise revenue?

            1. Maybe you’ve missed the underlying point here. There is only one way for governments to raise revenue: by stealing. All you’re doing is trying to shuffle the chairs around on the deck (and in doing so deflect away from the police brutality aspect…how convenient) as to how they do their stealing. This problem will arise no matter how you reallocate stealing…I mean “revenue raising”. For instance, there was a Whisky Rebellion 200+ years ago because the government needed money, and decided to try a “different” way of raising revenue. By stealing from new targets.

              There is no “best way” for the government to steal. Because it’s all theft at the barrel of a gun.

              1. I think you are missing an important distinction in your “all taxation is theft” enthusiasm. Unless you are a pure anarchist, clearly some form of taxation is inevitable. It comes down to how much, and from where. There may not be a “best way,” but some ways are clearly worse than other, having worse side effects, etc.

                In pre-revolutionary France, they believed that taxing the poor made them work harder, so it was a good thing, like pruning a tree. Aristocrats and clergy were exempt. In Dickens’ time, there was a tax on windows, hence a lot of the poor lived in windowless rooms. Clearly a flat sales tax (e.g.) is better than those two options.

    3. They’d need a lot less revenue to run the courts and police departments because they’d need a lot fewer judges and cops, so dropping a lot of the penny ante “crimes” off the books would likely be revenue-neutral. Double that for ending WoD spending.

    4. No, fuck you, cut spending!

    5. Why make the cops enforce laws that directly fill the coffer?

  8. I kind of love how Mother Jones and other liberal media seize on something libertarians have been talking about for years, claim it as their own issue and get dismissive of pre-existing reports from the ‘Kochtopus.’

    Radley Balko carried the can for years on Police Militarization while the MSM ignored it. After Ferguson, the MSM latched onto it without so much as a hat tip to Balko.

    1. This also leads to “Why don’t libertarians ever say anything about police brutality” thoughts, which are somewhat common among the Mother Jones crowd.

    2. It just needs to be framed in terms of racism.

      It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way it is.

      The extent to which progressives think the Drug War is racist is the extent to which they oppose the Drug War.

      That’s not the way they should be, but that’s the way they are.

      Convince enough people that issue x is racist, and we may be able to do something about it.

      Unfortunately, progressives are such statist retards, that their idea of addressing the racism in the drug war is to violate the rights of whites in equal proportion. Still, it’s not their sensitivity to racism that’s the problem. It’s their statism.

      If we could somehow leverage their sensitivity to racism to deregulate, privatize, and slash tax rates, then we should definitely do that.

      1. OK, but then what do we do about these problems in countries where race isn’t a factor?

        1. Think globally. Act locally.

      2. “The extent to which progressives think the Drug War is racist is the extent to which they oppose the Drug War.”

        One of the general tactics of the Progressive Theocracy is to turn any issue showing abuse of government power into an issue of racism.

        Power is never questioned, and abuse of that power is used to divide the peasants.

        1. Yeah, so let’s use that.

          Seriously, the drug war really is objectively racist.

          We can use that.

      3. “The extent to which progressives think the Drug War is racist is the extent to which they oppose the Drug War.”

        I recall when they were cranking up the drug war, it was the people who *didn’t* want to wage a crusade against the Scourge of Drugs who were the racists. Because drug dealers were preying on the black community and Whitey simply didn’t care enough to do anything about it. So the way to show you weren’t a racist was to ratchet up the penalties for these Fiends Who Are Preying on the Community.

        But that part tends to be forgotten.

        1. I think it was Lethal Weapon II where (spoiler alert) the cocaine trade was being run by white South African diplomats. And (spoiler alert) it’s OK to assassinate a white South African drug dealer if you’re a black cop concerned about the honky villains poisoning your community.

          To be fair, that movie was a bit more light-hearted and laughing-at-itself than my summary indicates. But it tapped into feelings about drugs and race which were the opposite of the Black Lives crowd today.

          So just bear in mind that today’s Urgent Racial Justice Policy will be tomorrow’s Legacy of Racism.

    3. This. It took time to spin it into a racial issue though. A narrative doesn’t get built overnight, you know.

    4. Is the idea to be right & everyone else be wrong? I’d rather everyone else be right & call me wrong!

      1. Brings up an interesting philosophic dilemma: If I could change the world so it was a libertarian paradise, & me an authoritarian curmudgeon, would I? It would make me happy in anticipation, but then sad + angry once it took effect.

    5. Hey, you want to see what the left thinks of Radley Balko?



      1. Ooh, look:

        “The S.H.A.M.E. Media Transparency Project takes the war against corporate trolls and media shills to a new and more effective level. Its goal is to expose corrupt media figures, document journalistic fraud and make life a little harder for covert propagandists who manipulate the public, degrade our democracy and help perpetuate oligarchy power.”

        Never heard of these guys. Maybe I’m not their target audience.

    6. This is a common pattern, alas. Everything we now realize to have been good was done by leftists, maybe with an occasional right-winger who “in an ironic development” helped the leftists. The idea that “right-wingers” (by modern standards) played a somewhat greater role in social justice movements than they’re now given credit for…that’s what will happen with these issues.

      Yeah, after some hard-fought police reforms, it will all be thanks to the courageous “Black Lives Matter” protesters, Democratic politicians, and maybe one or two isolated right-wing dudes who “in an ironic twist” supported the leftists.

      In one way this is deplorable, but from a realistic standpoint it’s probably a good thing. If progs always kept before their minds the right-wing associations of some cause, they’d probably shy away from that cause. Once they get to thinking it’s their crusade, not someone else’s, they will be more enthusiastic.

      But there’s also the issue of the wacko tactics they use in otherwise valid crusades. And the weird comments they occasionally drop (“Michael Brown shows the wrongness of petty enforcement!” WTF?)

  9. I posted this link before, but think of the implications of Police Chief Magazine Presents Generating New Revenue Streams, because the cops don’t just see you as a perp, they see you as an ATM.

    1. fees for sex offenders registering in a given jurisdiction,

      ? city tow companies,

      ? fine increases by 50 percent,

      ? pay-per-call policing,

      ? vacation house check fees,

      ? public hours at police firing range for a fee,

      ? police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,

      ? department-based security service including home checks and monitoring of security cameras by police department,

      ? a designated business to clean biological crime scenes,

      ? state and court fees for all convicted felons returning to the community,

      ? allowing agency name to be used for advertisement and branding,

      ? triple driving-under-the-influence fines by the court,

      ? resident fee similar to a utility tax,

      ? tax or fee on all alcohol sold in the city,

      ? tax or fee on all ammunition sold in, the city,

      ? public safety fees on all new development in the city,

      ? 9-1-1 fee per use,

      ? police department website with business advertisement for support,

      ? selling ride-a-longs to the public, and

      ? police department?run firearm safety classes.

      1. ? police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,

        Ok, it’s time for the pitchforks and torches.

      2. They’re parasites. What do you expect? There is clearly a subset of humanity which sees absolutely no moral problems with stealing other people’s money and property by force. These people inevitably end up as government, or thieves, or the mafia, or crony capitalists, etc. Because they’re all essentially the same. It’s just that the ones who gravitate toward government prefer their stealing to be safer and without much possibility of going to jail, in exchange for less individual profit.

        They absolutely view other people as ATM machines. It’s a form of sociopathy.

        1. ATM machines

          Goddammit, why do people say “ATM machines“? It’s redundant! It’s like saying “Automated Teller Machine Machine.”

          1. Are you gunning for Nicole’s Worst Pedant tiara or something?!? You know she’ll never let you take it. Not ever.

            1. Would she at least give me a pat on the head?

              1. I do really hate when people say ATM machines…

                1. I know, right? I mean, just say “ATMs.” Saves a whole word.

                  1. Why don’t you two just get a room?

                    1. ATM is preferable to MAC machine, which is commonly used by the horrible people in the Philadelphia area.

                    2. I prefer to use a D.E.N.N.I.S. system.

                      It’s the implication, you see.

                    3. Ah, I prefer to drop the monster condom that I use for my magnum dong.

                    4. So you’re basically swimming in my wake.

                  2. Who the fuck says “ATM machines” anyway? Nine times out of ten, I hear people refer to them as “AT machines”.

                2. Just say Nikki|7.30.15 @ 6:51PM|#
                  “I do really hate when people say ATM machines…”
                  1) PIN number
                  2) VIN number
                  3) 8AM in the morning
                  4) The hoi poloi
                  There’s more.

          2. ATM machines

            I believe he’s referring to Ass-To-Mouth machines.

      3. And people think that privatization is bad…

      4. “? police department?run firearm safety classes.”

        I will grant the enforcer class this one bone. I am not opposed to them offering this for a fee to other mammals…

        …granted I don’t think idea of bullet spray techniques should be passed on… Ruins too much cattle

        1. “Lesson one: how to empty a magazine and your colon simultaneously with panic fire”

      5. A lot of those things are services people would voluntarily buy (such as the dept-based security, public hours in police range, use of agency name in ads, etc). Don’t see the problem with those.

  10. People hate tax collectors. Film at 11.

    1. To be fair, the police seem to be continuously moving from modern day tax collector to New Testament tax collector.

      Modern day tax collector is a government employee tasked with enforcing revenue collection rules for the state. New Testament tax collectors were traitors to their own people that employed brutal tactics to extract money for an occupying army.

      1. The problem with NT tax collectors was that they typically forced people to pay more than they owed so they could keep a cut for themselves. Of all the police wrongdoing Reason talks about, bribery is never in the conversation, so I assume it’s extremely rare.

        Note that Jesus was perfectly fine with Matthew continuing to work as a tax collector in the Gospels, as long as he only charged what was owed.

        1. Of all the police wrongdoing Reason talks about, bribery is never in the conversation

          Well, yes, it is, it’s just called “asset forfeiture.” Remember who keeps a cut…

      2. Tax collectors with guns.

  11. If there’s no race angle, I’m not interested.

    *puts report in shredder*

  12. Here in Middlesex County, anyone on probation is assessed a $65.00 per month probation fee. A year of probation works out to $780 a year. It’s supposed to cover the cost of having a probation officer supervise a probationer.

    Nice little scam.

    1. The places the parasites find to add and compound the fines and fees are astounding. In New York state, if you got speeding or traffic ticket, sometimes the “surcharge” (an unexplained additional charge that the legislature just…tacked on) would often exceed the actual fine for the offense. So, a $100 improper lane change ticket could come with a $250 “surcharge”, shit like that. It’s such blatant theft that it’s stunning. And the reason it’s so blatant is that the people who get fucked by it are poor. And what are they gonna do, amirite?

      1. And that doesn’t count the “driver responsibility fee” you get hit with if you have points on your license at the time of renewal. $100/point for the first five, $500/point there after. You can get hit with a $3000 fee on top of the regular renewal fee.

        1. Yup. Everything they do is “we’re going to steal from you blatantly, but we’re going to pretend that it’s because you deserve it because you ‘broke the rules’, and that will keep there from being an uproar because people will just think ‘well if I don’t break the rules, I won’t get fined’.” It’s basically a divide and conquer scheme where they try to create scenarios where they can call their theft something else and distract people by who they’re stealing from. Because of course, people who “break the rules” deserve it, right?

          The whole state of DUI law is the ultimate example of this strategy. It’s basically a blatant violation of multiple amendments, it is completely unequal before the law, and it’s deliberately hyping up a hated minority (who really aren’t that much of a minority, it’s just that a lot of people don’t get caught) for targeting.

      2. This^^^^ I got a (bogus) ticket for failure to come to complete stop. I think it was 25 bucks so I figured wtf, why mess with the judge. With the various fees I ended up paying 100 bucks. 75 bucks for the couple minutes it took a clerk of court to do a little paperwork.

        They are out of control organized crime.

    2. I wonder what the fees are if you live in Topsex or Bottomsex.

      1. Well, since power bottoms are generating all the power fees, I bet they’re much higher in Bottomsex.

      2. You forgot to add the “asking for a friend” part Jimbo.

        1. Nah, this one’s all me baby.

    3. In Orange County, NY it was $30 just for DUI probationers, but then it became everyone. That is just for the people with the job, so if you manage to keep a job while being in the system you have to give them $30 a month.

      1. Yeah, they love to really put the screws to “unpopular” people being run through the system. Because they can. If there’s one thing they are good at, it’s how to smell where to steal from. Tax cigarette smokers. Fine the shit out of DUIs. And so on and so on.

        1. Additionally, in my county there was mandatory counseling for all repeat DUI or drug offenses. If you could afford it you had to go see one guy for the counseling (if you could not afford it, it was “free” at Catholic Charities).

          He did not accept my insurance, so I had to pay out of pocket $80 a week for over a year. No progress through the justice system, in any way, unless the mandated counselor signs off. So, if he does not have enough referrals to fill the spaces in group counseling, you have to stay.

          I refuse to believe that there is no graft going on because it is set up in a way that graft must be occurring.

          1. If you’re talking about Orange County, NY, I lived there myself for a few years and saw this shit too. It’s not so much “graft” as pure collusion. Everybody wants in on the machine; lawyers, cops, probation officers, court-approved therapists (this is where any likely graft or quid pro quo would come in, of course, because why would the legislature go out of their way to help therapists), companies that give classes on not driving drunk (for a price and that people are ordered into, of course), you name it. They all know each other. It’s an entire fucking ecosystem of parasitism.

            1. I am referring to Orange County, NY.

              So if a person makes a mistake and commits a crime, they not only have money sucked out of them at every step (the ones who can pay), they are beholden to the actions of others.

              It is not fun.

              1. No it wouldn’t be. It’s explicitly designed as a trap, and it takes a lot of money to get out of it.

          2. It’s a real racket. I got a DUI 20 years ago, took the required 5 classes. At the end there is an exit interview with the counselor and if decides you need more counseling the court si it’s ok for him to steal more of your money.

            1. Reminds a guy of Obamacare. Progress!!!

          3. Pathways. Here it’s Pathways, a private Drug/Alcohol/Domestic Violence/Anger Management/Whatever counseling service that you get sentenced to pay money to for BS classes. Want to bet who’s getting what greased for keeping that particular pathway cleared? And want to bet they will keep adding more and more shit to the list of things you have to get counseling for?

  13. Wait, government is just a scam for the powerful to steal money from the weak? Since when?

  14. Is this being nice or surreptitious surveillance?



    The Newark Delaware Police Department sought to hug it out with the very community it protects.

    Two officers gave random people free hugs last week.

    Cpl. James Spadola and Officer Aaron Olicker stood along Main Street and held up signs that read “Free hugs” and included the Twitter hashtag #HugACop.

    A viral video of the duo continues to work its way around the internet.

    1. Ohhhh, so the cop was just hugging Eric Garner.

      1. “I guess this is why chief says no hugging.”

      2. .40 cal. slugs, not hugs!

    2. Yeah, I’m guessing this was just a trick to surrepticiously stop and frisk people.

      “It’s a trap!” – Adm. Ackbar

  15. Me on “Petty Law Enforcement vs. the Poor” back in January 2014.

    Nice going Mother Jones, not late to the party at all. I’m sure their solution to this problem is MOAR TAXES ON TEH RICH, something something FAIR SHARE mumble mumble BECAUSE FAIRNESS.

  16. While I have strong aversion to condemning the profit motive (because of Marxism and its rancid influence on modern culture), it should be as clear as day that policing for profit is just a terrible, awful idea.

    And it’s another reason I can’t understand how private policing would work, since there would be an incentive to violate the NAP to extract money from victims. If my fear is overblown, someone better acquainted with anarchist theories will have to explain why to me.

    1. With privatized police, they’re only paid to enforce the laws that consumers in a given locale actually want enforced. A private police force that constantly dicks people around trying to enforce bullshit laws would probably find itself out of a job and replaced by a competitor.

      I imagine one also needs privatized courts in the fashion of polycentric law for this to really work well.

      1. You realize how this works when you look at private security now. How often do people who pay for security find themselves being treated like shit by their security people? The removal of monopoly is the single most significant factor in having proper incentives. Monopolies on anything create abysmal incentives.

        1. You realize how this works when you look at private security now. How often do people who pay for security find themselves being treated like shit by their security people? The removal of monopoly is the single most significant factor in having proper incentives. Monopolies on anything create abysmal incentives.

          I’ve tried that exact argument on many skeptics. They don’t get it.

          1. The reason they don’t get it is they cannot conceive of there not being a monopoly. In their extremely limited capacity to comprehend this, they think that any private police force that replaces the public one will basically be exactly the same (there is only one, it is completely monopolistic, and riddled with corruption) except that they think it will be in the hands of the rich and powerful. Which is intensely ironic considering that’s what it is right now. They are mostly composed of zero sum thinking; someone gets control over the cops and when the cops are “public” that means the people have some control of them (which is basically completely untrue, but they are not deep thinkers).

            One thing that I have consistently noted about “privatization” haters and corporation haters is that all their complaints–some of which are valid–all apply to the government even more than they would ever apply to a corporation. The government is merely the biggest “corporation” that said “we are the biggest, so we are taking the monopoly on force…what are you going to do about it?” By all rights, by all the things they gripe about, they should have government more than any “normal” corporation. But they don’t. In face, they want to make it more powerful. It’s fucking insane, and this is who we’re dealing with.

            1. Whoops:

              By all rights, by all the things they gripe about, they should hate government more than any “normal” corporation. But they don’t. In fact, they want to make it more powerful. It’s fucking insane, and this is who we’re dealing with.

              1. By all rights, by all the things they gripe about, they should hate government more than any “normal” corporation. But they don’t. In fact, they want to make it more powerful. It’s fucking insane, and this is who we’re dealing with.


                You can make the most logically evincing arguments exposing this hypocrisy. But it’ll never matter. At a more primal level, they’re emotionally addicted to the thrall of statolatry for whatever reasons, hence overriding their ability to think coherently against it.

          2. Because the work that private security does is not comparable to the work we expect from police. If all the security forces are doing is guarding the property of their clients, then they won’t come into forceful conflict with each other or with potential customers, and will compete on the market like other businesses.

            Once you start empowering them to go to non-clients’ property and use force against people there, then they’re not going to compete as in a free market — they’re going to compete (at least partially) in the arena of force. And you can’t not empower them to do that, because then anybody who violates your rights and escapes from your property can’t be punished.

        2. You realize how this works when you look at private security now.

          The most difficult and controversial work that a police force has to do is also exactly what private security companies don’t do — grab people off the street and out of their homes and lock them in cages. Without that, once a criminal commits a crime and escapes the scene, there’s no way to punish or otherwise remedy the violation of rights.

          1. You’re so unbelievably tedious, Tulpa.

    2. Well, are we talking full-blown private security and no government? Or just private police forces paid for by user fees?

      Because the latter is pretty simple: They’re still subordinate to the actual government, so if they try to collect fees from people who don’t want their services, they’ll be taken to court, and the government still has the power to make them comply. In theory, you can have a minarchist government who hardly ever interacts with citizens directly, only running the military (as a check against rogue private police forces) and the top echelon or two of the courts.

      The former is trickier, and I’m a minarchist, so I’ll just say that if you can keep the private police force market competitive even at the local level (so that no matter where you are you have a couple options to choose from), then anyone trying to abuse their power will soon find that they’re driving revenue for the competition. I don’t know how likely that is.

      1. Not likely at all. The system falls apart once some of the private police forces realize they can make money by using force against their competitors and against potential customers. Which won’t take long.

  17. Two officers gave random people free hugs last week.
    “Say, is that a gun in your pocket?”

    1. I’m surprised someone didn’t scream sexual harassment.

  18. 1) How can a city best maintain quality of life, so that people aren’t blocking the streets or littering or whatever
    HINT: not by making every fucking thing under the sun illegal.
    If you want to “end” homelessness, stop criminalizing (regulating away) alternatives to white-bread suburban notions of “legitimate” housing options.

    1. alternatives to white-bread suburban urban notions of “legitimate” housing options.

      Fixed. But yeah, your point still stands.

  19. it should be as clear as day that policing for profit is just a terrible, awful idea.
    Perverse incentives are perverse.

    1. Or, for those in the sex trade, “Using snatches to cop money”

  20. OT: James Woods Files $10 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Twitter Troll

    Trigger warning 1: close-up photo of James Woods
    Trigger warning 2: There are no mentions of Diggstown

  21. Funny to see people who want to “privatize the police” complaining about cops trying to maximize revenue. What the gobsmack do you think privatized police would do?

    1. Uh..because why on earth would private security/police be generating revenue in that fashion? You already pay for their services; that’s their revenue. If they start fucking stealing from people through fining them, how long do you think they’re going to get paid? It wouldn’t even be part of their business model, because without a monopoly on force, they can’t enforce any kind of fines or tickets. Their job would be to provide physical security and enforce property rights, not give people fucking tickets for jaywalking.

      Why is this so hard to understand? Is it because you just cannot wrap your mind around the idea of not having a monopoly on force?

      1. Their job would be to provide physical security and enforce property rights, not give people fucking tickets for jaywalking.

        Does the street owner not have property rights? Including the right to prohibit jaywalking, drunk driving, etc on his or her street.

        1. Are you purposefully dense? You think you can give me a fucking ticket at any time if I jaywalk on your street and you said that wasn’t allowed? You can ask me to leave and have me escorted off the property. That’s it. And that’s what a private police force would do as well. The only reason they can have jaywalking tickets now is that 1) the government owns the roads, 2) the government owns the monopoly on force, and 3) they WILL jail or even kill you if you don’t pay up.

          So obviously, you just cannot understand monopoly of force or its lack. Well, so much for this conversation.

          1. So the privatized street owner is letting random people walk around on his street with no contract requiring them to abide by the street policies? Especially policies against activities that piss off his other customers (drivers). Why? Plenty of private clubs in our current society require you to sign a contract under which you can be fined for violating their policies. I don’t see how private owners of roads would be any different.

            I’m thinking you’re the one who doesn’t understand the consequences of your proposed system.

            1. Thanks for your entirely predictable stupidity, Tulpy-Poo.

              1. Just for future reference, Epi, any time somebody mentions a company “maximizing revenues” in terms you just know means they think corporations will cheerfully poison their customers for a nickel it’s safe to assume they are either a troll or a retard.

    2. Collect a salary in exchange for providing security, like more professional mall cops?

  22. Even Mother Jones falls into the trap by using “law enforcement entity” indicating that the paradigm is law enforcement, not peace keeping for which “constabulary” would have been a better label.

    Until an overwhelming majority of the taxpayers come to realize that they are not served by the army of occupation that the police have become, and do something about it, expect nothing to change.

  23. But the cx to Garner was even more tenuous: that he’d previously been cited for selling cigs in another location. The mere sight of him on the sidewalk was enough this last time, it seems.

    To some people, the proliferation & enforcement of petty ordinances is a feature rather than a bug. It’s about “legalism”: the putting forth of petty orders to separate the obedient from the disobedient, because the disobedient are likely to be criminals or disruptive in other ways, but it’s too hard to catch them in a serious offense.

    1. But the cx to Garner was even more tenuous: that he’d previously been cited for selling cigs in another location.
      You know, I’ve asked about that a couple of times here before when Reason articles have mentioned Garner dying for selling loosies. It was my understanding that the cops were there on another matter, saw Garner there and started hassling him just on GP, that there was no indication that Garner was selling loosies at the time they killed him. If this place doesn’t get that part straight, what do you expect out of lesser news media?

      1. Unfortunately it runs against a bit of the narrative HyR would like to be the case. It muddies the whole story slightly too to know that all Garner had to do would’ve been to submit to a search instead of backing away. However, that would play into another piece written recently here by Jacob Sullum saying the same thing of others in similar cases: that one could always say they were stupid to not simply do whatever the cops asked them to do. Makes it a story about ass kissing & power seeking instead of simple malevolence, incompetence, or not giving a shit about consequences.

  24. There’s also debtor’s prison for those that don’t pay their court appointed wifebeating counselor. I notice in other comments folks seeming to think it straunge that police might preferentially waylay people outside their proper jurisdictions, when permitted. I’ve lived in Oregon a couple times, where there’s nigh universal reciprocity among police agencies, so there’s no impediment to harrassing people outside one’s proper jurisdiction; and what I’ve seen is communities encouraging their police forces to go outside the community to harrass and gather fines from people other than those in the community employing those police.

    1. Then get your community to vote against reciprocity.

    2. The court appointed counselor beats the person’s wife? Or his own?

  25. Oh thank god this has been solved:

    The mayor’s action plan to help the LGBTQ community includes Seattle police training and all-gender single restrooms in city buildings and places of public accommodation.


    1. The plan, with recommendations crafted from a LGBTQ task force assembled in March, targeted four issues: public safety, LGBTQ youth, the built environment and public understanding.

      The PowerPoints must have been fucking awesome.

  26. Prediction: LGBTQ task force is a worse show than Danger 5


      1. I give Danger 5 a solid meh.

        1. Well, I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

          1. +1 Gold, fine chocolates, children’s teeth.

          2. It’s a show for wannabe art directors. Let’s get the look of SFX models from early 60’s TV right, and slap the stupidest plot in top of it. They doubled down in season two (let’s backlight big 80s hair, make a point us doing so, and then try to make people care about who Hitler takes to the prom.)

            You oversold the show, Episiarch. This is why I hate it.

            1. Well, I guess there’s no accounting for taste.



        1. The fact that Swiss blood was gold did not illicit a chuckle? Jackson’s American accent did not amuse you? Ilsa’s existence did not inspire you to awkwardly fondle yourself?

          1. This is an old troll friend of ours. Insult him or ignore him.

            1. I am not an old troll, Warty. I am a sincere, if occasionally misbehaving commenter on these threads. And by misbehaving, I mean posting stupid and irrelevant cat videos, and expressing an unimpressedness with Danger 5.

              Who the fuck isn’t Tulpa at this point?

  27. “Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes.”

    I am not aware of any evidence that Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes when he was killed.

  28. My question is, how to stop this behavior? And, is it possible to stop it?

    Sheriffs and their deputies can be voted from office, if the county populous votes them out or recalls them. The problem with East Texas, are east Texans.

    Sabine County, where the Waller County Sheriff came from, was the same man who presided over determining the evidence in the Bland case. He was a Chief Deputy in Sabine, dad a judge, brother a Ranger. I was told by a local, with all seriousness, everyone white in Hemphill are at least 2nd cousins to each other.

    “Smith… Sabine County in east Texas, on the Louisiana border. It attracted national attention in 1988 when three white former police officers were found guilty of beating a black inmate to death in the county jail.” Written by Tom Dart, Houston Texas, for The Guardian. Friday 17 July 2015. “The Texas county where Sandra Bland died: there’s ‘racism from cradle to grave.’ ”

    After the release of the Hemphill Sheriff for the brutal death of Loyal Garner, Sabine Co residents held a welcome home party for this murderer. The racism in these towns is overwhelming, out-of-control, and jaw-dropping. Harassment of blacks, single women, out-of-towners, and newly moved to area are constant, even multiple times daily.

    Its not just about revenue, its about harassing anyone determined as “doesn’t belong.” And this doesn’t address every other form of law enforcement, from State Patrol, to local Police, dog catcher … to the Supreme Court.

  29. If the revenue generating cops pulled the same crap in any upper middle class neighbor heads would roll. What the liberal media won’t tell you is while the liberal politicians want the black vote they don’t want those uneducated darkies in their neighborhoods. Wakeup Black America, it was the Democrats that wrote the Jim Crow laws. The KKK was the enforcenent arm of the Democrat party. Your beloved Lincoln wanted to ship you all back to Africa. Hell it was a Democrat that killed Dr Martin Luther King. 150 years after the Civil War you are still saying yes sir master but now it is to some liberal democrat. Since that rich black man got in office with your help what have you got. Better schools, good jobs, safer streets less cops stealing what little money you have. You haven’t got squat. If you all voted Republican in 2016 the Democrats might start keeping their word. But actually they don’t think you are that smart. If you ever bothered to check you would see George Bush did more for you than Obama has, but Obama been to busy playing golf with his white buddies to worry about some young black man being killed in the hood

    1. Tut tut, that was before the great Democrat/Republican game of Red Rover wherein they all agreed to change sides at once.

      1. My apologies sir. Didn’t mean to suggest Republicans were any better than Democrats. Just wanted people to start looking at the issues instead of voting in lock step. If every eligible voter voted in 2016 for a 3rd party candidate the political hacks would either declare martial law or stop pandering to lobbyist. Actually Congress reminds me of a prostitution convention except prostitutes have honor.

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