Editorial Notes on Police Brutality


A deadly pandemic originates in Asia and sweeps around the globe, killing more than 100,000 Americans. A successful manned space mission briefly unites a nation with a sense of wonder. Police and National Guardsmen face off against protesters demanding racial justice and suppress riots in city streets. The military is tied up in unwinnable foreign entanglements, a culture war rages, and electoral politics is a dumpster fire.

It is 1969.

Reason magazine is a baby, just over a year old, and editor Lanny Friedlander is wrapping up the November issue. It is a small operation, so he has also written most of the contents.

The question he poses on the cover is "The Cops: Heroes or Villains?" He sketches the landscape: "After each recent mass police action that shed blood—People's Park, Chicago, Harvard, Columbia—debate begins anew. 'Liberals,' 'conservatives,' 'radicals,' 'lawnorder Democrats' argue endlessly: were or were not the cops brutal?"

More than 50 years after Friedlander published his "editorial notes on police brutality," you can add to that list George Floyd's death in Minneapolis with a knee on his neck, Eric Garner choked on a New York City street corner, Breonna Taylor shot in her Louisville home during a drug raid gone wrong, and thousands of clashes between law enforcement and private citizens in the nationwide protests that followed. It is the same argument, with the same factions, in 2020.

"As is so often the case," Friedlander writes ruefully, "it is the New Left that comes closest to the truth, if only accidently. It is absurd, they say, to argue whether or not the police were brutal in any particular instance because the system is brutal by definition. As the system's agents of enforcement, the police cannot but be brutal."

When it comes to police misconduct, there has been enough talk of "bad apples" in recent years to squeeze out gallons of cider. But the problem is not primarily the quality or character of the police officers themselves—though there are certainly police officers who lack character. It's the damaging and backward incentives created by the system in which they operate.

The best way to minimize police violence is to maximize freedom and individual responsibility. (It is not, as the left in Friedlander's time and our own might prefer, to abolish capitalism.) The reforms that he gestures toward—and that Reason has gone on to advocate in the decades since—are stunningly similar to many items on the wish lists of the Black Lives Matter protesters and their allies who have taken to the streets to protest violence and racism following Floyd's death. But they also reflect the concerns of the entrepreneurs and homeowners who fear the destruction of their property and the threat to their safety posed by the protesters, or at least by the opportunistic looters and revolutionaries who accompany them, as well as by the state.

At the core of Friedlander's argument is the notion that law enforcement officials—like everyone in a free society—must be answerable for their actions. "As it stands in America today, the police aid in the trampling of rights on such a massive scale that there is hardly a word sufficiently descriptive," he writes. "Limited liability? The price of retribution due to the victims of the crimes committed by police on any single day would be beyond calculation, yet not only do these crimes go undenounced (for the most part), and the perpetrators, police and politicians, unpunished, but, even worse, the victims are forced through taxes to finance the operation and salaries of the criminals."

This tracks neatly with several of the most promising avenues for reform in 2020. The first is the elimination of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields police and other government officials from liability in civil rights lawsuits unless the illegality of their specific actions was "clearly established" at the time of the offense.  At press time, the only Libertarian Party member of Congress, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, had just introduced a bill to eliminate that protection. He was joined in the effort by one of his most progressive colleagues, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass).

"The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct," they wrote. "This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve."

"Several of the things that allow police to stand above the law," Friedlander goes on, "include the secrecy and tightknit quality of the police force, the personnel rules that characterize departments, and the comparative homogeneity of outlook among police (due to preselection, attrition, and assimilation)." The undue influence of police unions on the disciplinary process for officers accused of misconduct, and on the political officials who often have the final say in such matters, is a major and hitherto underappreciated barrier to reform. Breaking the police unions would align the incentives of officers better with the citizens they are meant to serve.

We must seriously revisit the scope of the powers and duties of police. While the movement to defund police forces is the simplest and most symbolic of these notions, the nitty-gritty list offers more to chew on: terminating 1033, the program that funnels surplus Department of Defense equipment to local police departments; eliminating techniques such as the chokehold from the police playbook; requiring officers to report inappropriate use of force by their colleagues.

One popular reform, mandatory wearable cameras, has failed to deliver on its promise. Video is a powerful medium, but data from districts where bodycams have been tried show their existence doesn't seem to prevent violence, and the video itself is often contested. Friedlander anticipated this critique: "One cannot merely view a film of a cop clubbing a student and declare apriori [without] further data that what one has seen is or is not brutality."

Today, officers caught on camera abusing peaceful protesters during gatherings specifically intended to draw attention to police brutality are being quickly identified, investigated, and suspended or fired, including officers in Buffalo, New York, who were captured shoving a white-haired man and then walking past him as he lay on the ground bleeding. But the fact that dozens of such interactions occur even in such high-scrutiny environments demonstrates the limits of reforms focused solely on transparency or policing itself. Cops don't behave in a callous and brutal manner because they think they won't get caught. They do so because they feel like they must.

Police officers are not, by and large, sadists. They are operating within a system that demands brutality from them. No reform can make a lasting impact if we continue to insist that officers enforce bad legislation. Because every interaction between police and citizens can escalate to deadly violence, we must think carefully about when such violence could possibly be worthwhile. People must be free to defend themselves if they are unjustly attacked. But too many of our laws require authorities to initiate force in order to prevent voluntary transactions. They also disproportionately punish those who seek to defend themselves from police. The Louisville police used a battering ram to knock down Taylor's door while she was sleeping because a drug dealer sometimes received packages at her address. Her boyfriend tried to defend her. She ended up dead.

Floyd, and Garner before him, were initially accosted for the pettiest of crimes. In Floyd's case, it was passing a suspected counterfeit $20 bill at a local food market. In Garner's, it was selling loose cigarettes without a tax stamp in New York. Both men died crying out that they couldn't breathe. While the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck was fired the next day, it took five long years before the same fate finally came to the officer responsible for Garner's death. At press time, the officers responsible for Taylor's death still have their jobs.

Right as that 1969 issue of Reason went to press, the first message was being successfully sent and received on ARPANet, the precursor to the internet. In the end, that message may prove to be the most important development in fostering a free and just society. Friedlander was right that video alone cannot get the job done. Nor will a single essay make much of a dent. "I don't expect the reader to accept the material here as proof conclusive—it isn't meant to be," he wrote. "But at the very least the reader should now be aware how far from precise or rational are the statements and critiques concerning the police being offered by the mass media-recognized polemicists of the 'left' and 'right.'"

In 2020, the national conversation about police brutality and its deep roots is more widespread, urgent, and voluminous than ever. It has been five decades since Friedlander's essay. If we're going to fix this broken system, it's time to get started.

NEXT: Phony Overtime, Fictional Drug Buys, and Mysterious C.I. Payments Offer a Glimpse of Houston Police Corruption

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

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  2. “Breaking the police unions would align the incentives of officers better with the citizens they are meant to serve.”

    It isn’t the unions that vote in Democrats to control their city councils time and time again, every election for 50 years or more, and thereby enable the unions to dominate the city councils that are supposed to oversee them. That’s the fault of the voters.

    Yes, I blame the victims.

    When Lanny Frielander wrote that piece in 1969, the Chicago police department had already brutalized protesters on national television during the Democratic Party Convention of 1968 and the NYPD were raiding Stonewall. The Democratic party machines that run Chicago, New York City, and Minneapolis have been in absolute control of those cities’ city councils for every day since that time–and the reason those city councils still answer primarily to law enforcement unions rather than the voters is because the voters continuously refused to vote for anyone who wasn’t a Democrat for more than 50 years.

    Whether we’re talking about single party states like China and Cuba or single party governments like Minneapolis and New York City, when who wins the seats on the governing council is determined by the party’s nominating process–rather than the voters in a general election–the people on the governing council are primarily concerned with pleasing the people who control the nominating process rather than the voters. And the people who control the nominating processes in these cities are municipal employee unions, teachers’ unions, and law enforcement unions.

    That is why police unions still control the city councils in these cities–50 years after the systematic brutality Lanny Frielander was writing about–and that is why the city councils still approve union contracts that shield the police from the victims of their brutality–50 years after Lanny Frielander was writing about the unaccountability of the police.

    There is no good substitute for voters who are willing to vote for the opposition party when the party in power systematically protects the brutality of the police police from the victims of their brutality for 50 years.

    I have no doubt but that we’ll see some meaningful reforms in the short term, but the system Minneapolis or any other city creates to replace their current model can’t perform any better over the long term than the willingness of the voters to vote for the opposing party when the powers that be shield abusive police officers from the victims of their abuse.

    1. Ironically, you are actually making part of BLM’s point for them.

      If voting for Democrats is the ‘least bad’ option at least when it comes to police misconduct and police brutality issues – because Republicans are even more invested into LAWNORDER – and yet nothing of substance really changes, then maybe the system itself is fundamentally broken and deserves to be redesigned from the bottom up.

      1. There might be a middle ground between “give cops a free pass no matter what they do” and “defame cops in instances of very clear self-defense”.

      2. “…then maybe the system itself is fundamentally broken and deserves to be redesigned from the bottom up.”

        Do I get a pony?

        1. “…then maybe the system itself is fundamentally broken and deserves to be redesigned from the bottom up.”

          Is he talking about the system where who sits on the city council is picked by voters? Because the problem of voters refusing to vote for any other party other than the Democratic party isn’t a good reason to do away with democracy and embrace authoritarianism. Voters pick their own city council members–that system doesn’t need to redesigned in any way.

          The solution to the problem of voters with a cult like mindset that won’t allow them to vote for anyone who isn’t in their cult is to wake them up. I suggest we try persuasion and ridicule, not that either has made ChemJeff budge an inch off of any of his irrational party talking points ever. Still, I find it hard to believe that every liberal in these cities is as invulnerable to facts and logic as him.

          1. Ken, OT, but you were commenting on San Fran’s dysfunctional government a couple of days ago.
            See here for comments:
            It has not changed.

          2. Back on topic:
            “Is he talking about the system where who sits on the city council is picked by voters?”

            I don’t know; for whatever reason, Jeff arm-waves often enough. I sort of figured he was suggesting a non-democratic government, but your guess is as good as mine. Details? Who needs details when you can wish for a pony.
            To your point, I’m not sure how to ‘wake them up’. We have the D-dominated SF government who certainly ‘express concern’ over the number of bums and then houses the new arrivals and delivers booze for free.
            And, for reasons that escape me, the voters continue to elect people who do that.

            1. I would like to think that suffering the negative consequences of voting for the same party machine over and over again would eventually impress the possibility on people that maybe they should consider voting for someone from the opposition party, but then I look at Detroit. How bad does it have to get before people will consider voting for someone from the other party? Well, in Detroit, for a long time, the fire department wouldn’t bother putting out a fire unless someone could confirm that the building in question was occupied. Hell, burning a property to the ground could increase its value–since that can lower the costs of demolition–not that it would necessarily make the property in question worth more than zero. I mean, why pay property taxes and insurance on a piece of land that no one will use or occupy?

              That’s how bad it apparently has to get before people will start voting for Republicans in that city–or really, it needs to get worse than that since after all this, the city council is still 100% Democrat.

              There is no legitimate solution for voters in a democracy who refuse to stop slashing their own throats–other than for them to stop slashing their own throats. No one’s going to save them from themselves, so they’re going to have to save themselves.

              1. They’re afraid the Republicans will “take away” what the voters “get”. The last person left in the city will have been hoping to extract loot from the one who just left.

                1. They can’t be afraid of Republicans taking anything away if there aren’t actually any Republicans running proposing to take stuff away.

                  1. There aren’t any Rs in the government, but that doesn’t stop the Ds from blaming them.

              2. I would like to think that suffering the negative consequences of voting for the same party machine over and over again would eventually impress the possibility on people that maybe they should consider voting for someone from the opposition party,

                When it comes to police reform, is the Republican approach preferable in places like Chicago or Minneapolis?

                The Republicans didn’t even nominate a candidate for mayor of Minneapolis in the last mayoral election, so the opposition party in this case completely ceded the field.

                In Chicago the candidates are “nonpartisan” but one candidate, Willie Wilson, was endorsed by the Cook County GOP. What was Willie Wilson’s position on police reform? They actually seem pretty reasonable at least from this interview.


                But he did not advance to the runoff election. Guess what he did? He endorsed Lightfoot, who ended up winning. So even the Republican-backed candidate endorsed the Democrat.

                The Republicans aren’t making much of an effort, quite frankly.

                1. And yet, like the blithering idiot you are, you blame them anyway.

          3. If I were to choose a different subject, say the national debit, which party should I vote for?

            If it is true that police brutality issues arise strictly from voting in the same party every year, how do you explain meteoric rise of the national debit regardless of party?

            Nevermind the in kind observations on the nature of elections has been made from Aristotle to Thomas Massie, discussions of problems with pass the post voting systems, gerrymandering, or at least 90% of the time, the better financed candidate wins; nope, the problem is with the voters, as it is much easier to change human nature as opposed to systems. Is that correct?

            And the only option is the excluded middle of either voting for better lizards or embrace of authoritarianism.

            Libertarian party has been in existence, what now, 50 years? Exactly how many more years of wake up will be required?

            1. Nationally, the voters really are competing with each other. We vote in the other guy from the party every 10 years on average. Control of the House and the Senate change from party to party over time.

              I wish voters cared more about taxes and spending than they do, and the parties, in that scenario, try to buy the voters off with their support. They make taxation progressive, so that a very small portion of the people are paying most of the taxes, and they try to broaden then spending so that more and more people benefit. I don’t like the way the voters vote or what they want, but at least with two parties competing for power are trying to appeal to the voters.

              Control of the city council in these cities has remained the same for more than 50 years. There hasn’t been a change in party control of the city council in all that time. There is no concern that the Republicans are about to take control of the city council in Chicago, Minneapolis, or New York City. So all the leaders and all their policies are dictated by party movers and shakers in the back room. Individual city council people may get in trouble and beat with the backing of this or that union for being an embarrassment. But in practical terms, there is no concern that the Republicans are about to take control of the city council.

              The unions have no fear of losing control of the process by which their contracts are negotiated and approved so long as they control the nominating process. You probably cannot get elected as an Alderman in Chicago without the endorsement of the public employee unions. They could elect a single Republican and have done so now and then, but even those Republicans were endorsed by the unions–and were one a few out of 50.

              1. That’s an amazingly broad and uniform brush to paint police unions with given the International Union of Police Associations is backing Trump. I mean obvious reason not to vote for Trump. He is obviously in bed with Big Union.

                Or the fact that police unions seemingly only exist in democrat controlled cities.

                Or the fact the most sweeping police reform has happened in Colorado (might want to check the party affiliations there).

                Or the fact that the terms for what a police union contracts can address is set nationally, yet in the back and forth of the parties you outline, neither have seen fit to address.

                But surely it is the quid pro quo between police unions and democrats that keep any reform from happening.

                That’s a silver bullet powerful enough to give lycanthropy the damnatio memoriae treatment.

                1. Did you have a point or are we supposed to ‘connect the dots’ in your word salad?

                2. “Or the fact that police unions seemingly only exist in democrat controlled cities.”

                  There are a number of strange assumption in there, but this one really stands out.

                  If Republican party machines had absolute control of these major cities for 50 years and who was elected depended almost entirely on whether they were nominated by the Republican party, the same rules would apply–the elected representative would be primarily concerned with the interests of the people who control the nominating process rather than the voters in the general election.

                  However, the fact is that Democratic party machines have been in control of the city councils Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, and other major metropolises for more than 50 years. Why would I talk about the Republicans in this capacity when it’s the Democratic party that runs these cities with Democratic party machines?

                  1. Which strange assumptions specifically? That prior to the whole protest/riots you can’t name any municipality that wasn’t under a single party that also had any significant police reform? That while it is theoretical that having a single party contributed to the lack of reform, it doesn’t explain any other city’s lack of reform, nor can you substantiate how much of a factor, if any, having a single party played compared to other cities?

                    That police unions can and do switch allegiances of whom they support, so stating specifically single parties were a major contributor to that outcome wouldn’t also apply to any other issue, so how are police unions unique in this case?

                    And why would you highlight those cities specifically?

                    Would those be the strange assumptions you were talking about?

                    It’s enough to say that single party rule generally leads to poorer outcomes without having to create phantoms they are supposedly responsible for.

                    It also speaks poorly that amid the unmitigated disaster several metropolitan are, even that is preferable than having republicans in office.

                    That’s another possible narrative, isn’t it?

                    1. “Which strange assumptions specifically?”

                      Did I say that police unions seemingly only exist in Democratic controlled cities?

                      The correct answer is “no”.

                      “That police unions can and do switch allegiances of whom they support”

                      You seem to be missing the point that Democrat party machines have controlled these city councils–outright–since the 1960s.

                      You seem to be missing the point that the legitimate responsibility of these city councils is to negotiate union contracts with the police, but because they’re controlled by Democratic party machines of which the police unions are an important part (and have been for five decades or more), instead of representing the voters in their negotiations with the police unions, the city councils are representing the police unions against the victims of police brutality by approving contracts that protect the police from accountability.

                      Because the police union recently backed a Republican in Chicago’s 50 member city council doesn’t count for shit. That’s an exception that proves the rule. If there is no threat of a competing party taking over the city council, it doesn’t really matter if they back a registered Republican every once in a while. The city council is pwned by the Democratic party machine, and the law enforcement unions own the Democratic party machine–and it’s been that way for 50 years.

          4. Is he talking about the system where who sits on the city council is picked by voters?

            I am talking about the entirety of the system of governance. That includes not just formal elections, but influence by outside groups, money in politics, fundraising, first-past-the-post electoral districts, institutional lethargy, a commitment to institutional structures by both parties, structures which may not be serving us very well in this day and age, and a lot more.

            Look at what happened between de Blasio and NYPD. When he ended stop-and-frisk, NYPD nearly rebelled against him. When thugs murdered some NYPD officers, the department blamed de Blasio and literally turned their backs on him. Here is a guy who actually was elected in part on a platform of police reform, actually tried to enact some police reform, but has faced one barrier after another.

            This is the real “deep state”, not the fictional one in Trump’s head. The reason why we are never going to see the end of the welfare state in our lifetime, or the end of the military-industrial complex, or the end of the surveillance state, or the end of so many destructive ideas, is because there are too many institutional structures, most of which are unelected, which have too much influence both over policy makers and over the system of governance itself, to prevent any truly radical changes from taking place. These institutions support the status quo because the status quo, in whatever manner, works very well for them. Any reformist candidate which proposed radical changes would instantly face competitors, backed by those vested interests happily enjoying the status quo, that will destroy the reformist candidate. It does not ALWAYS happen – sometimes the reformist candidate actually wins, like with de Blasio and police reform – but it happens more often than not. And even when the reformist candidate does win, those same vested interests work to thwart reforms every step of the way, making it very difficult to get anything done.

            The reason why you don’t see mayors or city councilmembers ever proposing radical reforms is because those candidates who did propose radical reform are defeated by the influence of vested interests before they ever get to the council chambers.

            So radical change can only truly happen by circumventing the system itself. That doesn’t mean getting rid of elections, but it does mean getting rid of the naive view of “oh just vote for the right people and the right people will enact the change we want to see”. There are too many forces at play that work against change.

            So looking only at the party of who wins elections, is missing a big part of the picture.

            I’m willing to bet that, by and large, voters who live in places like Chicago are not actually in favor of police brutality. But what if there are no reformist candidates to vote for, for the reasons noted above? Then what? They should vote for the Republicans who say things like BLUE LIVES MATTER? What exactly should the average typical voter do?

            The voter might recognize that his/her vote genuinely doesn’t matter in this case, and just not bother to show up. Perhaps this is why voter turnout for municipal elections is so abysmal.

            Or the voter might vote for the Democrat who offers milquetoast police-union-approved nothingburgers of ‘reform’, because ‘at least it’s better than voting for the Republican’. But nothing substantively changes.

            Or the voter might recognize that the entire system is baloney, and take to the streets in protest, as what we are seeing now.

            1. Or you’re an idiot barely worth mocking.

            2. Charlie Stross had the thought experiment of a century ship traveling to a distant planet which would have to deal with several generations coming to pass before it reached its destination.

              And how would you organize that with the best possible chance for success, using the veil of ignorance as an indicator of how sustainable the project was.

              He also completely disqualified any sense of libertarianism for, uh, reasons.

              It took about a year to compose a libertarian-ish organizational structure that met all the criteria, and serves as a pretty good utopia project for what government could be.

              1. Interesting. Do you have a reference to this?

                1. I’m not sure I understand. Reference for what?

                  The thought experiment is whatever you make it to be.

            3. Shorter Jeff;
              ‘Things aren’t working and they should be changed but you can’t change them.’

              1. You’re getting warmer.

              2. “you can’t change them” — Sounds like a lack-of-freedom problem.

                I just don’t have it in my hypocrisy boundaries to give national socialists (i.e. liberal protesters) any respect when on the top of their wish list lies a bundle of lack-of-freedom legislation.

            4. Substitute ‘public service unions and government apparatchiks’ for ‘vested interests’ and you would have a good plan.

              1. But “vested interests” go beyond “public service unions”. What do you think Raytheon would do if anyone seriously proposed cutting the defense budget in half? Stand by and do nothing?

                There is an Overton Window of ‘acceptable’ positions, and whenever reformist individuals try to widen the window to accommodate more radical change, the vested interests and those who benefit from the status quo seek to narrow that window so as not to disrupt their own privilege from the status quo.

          5. The solution to the problem of voters with a cult like mindset that won’t allow them to vote for anyone who isn’t in their cult is to wake them up.

            They ain’t woke enough for you??

            The public service unions should be illegal as currently constituted.

      3. Translation: From the Dick Tracy comic strip later parodied as Tricky Prickears, a gardening company opened by a retired cop.

      4. Detroit is 80%+ Black.

        Detroit is what the Blacks of Detroit have made it.

        You know who had *no* hand in Detroit for the last 3 decades? White Republicans.

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    2. The police unions are starting to swing to the Republican side, this more than anything else is why these city councils are not afraid to start going after the cops. If the teachers’ unions started supporting Republicans, then we might see school choice actually having a chance.

      1. It’s a temporary thing in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City. It’s become fashionable for the moment to go after the police–but that will mostly subside once the economy gets back up to speed.

        I maintain that the protests we saw over recent weeks weren’t because no one had ever seen a white cop brutalize a suspect on video before or because this is the first time anyone’s ever heard of the police being largely unaccountable in places like Minneapolis.

        The major impetus for the protests was the economy–as it always is. It should be noted that unemployment in Los Angeles continued to rise long after the the recession of 1991 receded nationally, which is to say that the LA Riots of 1992 weren’t entirely unrelated to the state of the economy either.

        We’ve never lost so many jobs in such a short period of time, and when historians look back at this a hundred years from now, they’ll talk about it in terms of the economy more than anything else. When 40 million people lose their jobs over a period of seven weeks for unexpected reasons, they’ll find something to protest against. In fact, if we didn’t see civil unrest under those conditions, that would have been surprising.

        The system will reassert itself after the emergency ends because the fundamental problems associated with one-party rule remain the same. When a “representative” is chosen based solely on the basis of the nominating process, the “representative” represents and answers to the people who control the nominating process.

        Meanwhile, the unions we’re talking about aren’t just representing the police. The American Federation of Teachers is the name of the union, but they’re part of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO also has affiliates devoted to firemen and other municipal workers. When you’re dealing with the AFL-CIO or any of their affiliated unions, you’re not just dealing with the teachers or just with the firemen. When you’re negotiating with the AFL-CIO, you’re dealing with every union in the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO also represents the police. If they (and other unions like them) are the real powers deciding who is and isn’t getting nominated by the Democratic party, then eventually, they’re going to reassert themselves to protect their dues paying members who happen to be police.

        1. If you’ve read Pipes on the Russian Revolution, it’s easy to see how anger as a result of one condition is easily re-directed to other issues; ‘co-opted’ by the left, there and here.
          In that case, Lenin was the driver, and he had control of enforcer-thugs and most of the press in St. Petersburg.
          We don’t have that here, but we have a press and a broadcast industry who both support the BLM goals, even as they have widened to include all sorts of lefty crap, and absolutely HATE Trump as he both made liars of them and threatens to upset their apple carts!
          Note they do so absent any sort of direct co-ordination; this is not a “conspiracy” under any accepted definition; these people who hold power (or think they do) simply by sharing the same educational resources, by gathering in the coastal or university hives, by patting each other on the back, pushing the “FLU WILL KILL YA!” narrative, hoping they can maintain the panic until early November.
          “You” might argue that this represents a popular sentiment and/or ‘uprising’, reflected by those who claim power; an obvious example of democracy in action. To which I would ask “you” for a decent accounting of the numbers of people who engaged in those protests (ignoring the riots) and the number of people engaged in putting out the narrative.
          Let me give you some numbers”
          “Followers – 82,749,578”, that’s those who ‘follow’ Trump’s tweets.
          “65,853,514” Number of votes HRC got in 2016
          “In ratings numbers released in July 2019, the [Maddow] show slipped to fifth place, with an average of 2.487 million viewers in the overall cable ratings behind Hannity with 3.3 million viewers, Tucker Carlson Tonight with 3.1 million viewers, The Ingraham Angle with 2.6 million viewers and The Five with 2.5 million viewers.[39]”
          You can argue that some huge percentage of those who “follow” Trump do so to oppose his positions, but I’ll counter that while I won’t vote for him, many other old farts who live in swing states are like me; do not use twitter, and are not included in that “follow” number.
          Could be wrong, as I was when I predicted an HRC win, but the numbers now seem to count, unlike a CNN ‘survey’.
          I look forward to jamming Trump down the throats of the asshole bigot and others.

          1. “I look forward to jamming Trump down the throats of the asshole bigot and others.”

            If he wins again in November, the progressives are gonna shit plaid Twinkies.

            It’s gonna be hilarious if it happens.

            1. They must be preparing the excuses now: voter intimidation, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, greed, nationalism, etc. You know, round up the usual suspects.

              1. They’ve already got that covered:


                The idea is to make a potential Trump win not believable, starting with skewed polls, and supporting that with articles like that. They will likely even have some ostensibly “republican” mail-in ballots ready to be “found” (in a car trunk, or wherever) in certain places to really sell the conspiracy.

                We are potentially facing the first failed US federal election.

    3. It isn’t the unions that vote in Democrats to control their city councils time and time again, every election for 50 years or more, and thereby enable the unions to dominate the city councils that are supposed to oversee them. That’s the fault of the voters.

      But…come on, a disproportionate share of those voters, in both primary and general elections, are in government employee unions. The rest of the voters would have to be overwhelmingly anti-union to oppose them effectively.

      1. Why isn’t there a heated division between them?

        It isn’t the Democrats in the public sector unions vs. their victims. The victims and the people who victimize them are both on the same side–supporting the Democrats.

        There should be a sharp division between them.

        1. Indeed, and police brutality is a perfect wedge issue…

          …that the Heffalumps are too stupid to use effectively.

    4. Those Chicago democrat infiltrators who made “hippie” a bad word were the same sort of anarchist communists that nowadays mutilate our LP platform and impersonate candidates to make “libertarian” a bad word (and again benefit Republicans). Country Joe MacDonald’s testimony exposed the absurdity of both the prohibitionist kleptocracy and the clown-impersonating infiltrators.

      1. Oh look, Hihn busted out his nakedly mentally ill sock today. Hi Mikey Hihn!

    5. Police unions are the only unions that conservatives support.

      1. “Police unions are the only unions that conservatives support.”

        As always, you have no support for your claim, so you bullshit in teh hopes someone is stupid enough to believe it.
        Hint: You and your lefty-scum buddies are that stupid.

      2. Because I support the First Amendment right to religion, free speech, and freedom of assembly doesn’t mean I support what every religion teaches, what every person says, or what every union membership does with their freedom of assembly.

        And if you think what I wrote about how the elected representatives in these cities should stop feeding their constituents to the wolves by way of protecting police from the victims of their brutality in the union contracts they approve somehow means that I’m supportive of police unions, then you need to work on your reading comprehension.

    6. You win the Internet with this response…thank you

  3. “When who wins the seats on the governing council is determined by the party’s nominating process–rather than the voters in a general election–the people on the governing council are primarily concerned with pleasing the people who control the nominating process rather than the voters. And the people who control the nominating processes in these cities are municipal employee unions, teachers’ unions, and law enforcement unions.”

    I should have added that this is also the reason the public pension system in states like California, Illinois, and New York are so out of control.

    Show me a place where the public pension system is out of control, and I’ll show you a place that shields brutal police officers from the victims of their brutality. Both problems stem from the same cause–single party systems where the elected representatives are primarily accountable to the party nominating process rather than the voters because the voters won’t vote for anyone who isn’t nominated by the Democratic party.

  4. It is 1969.

    The impeachment was a few years off. We’re on schedule for urban flight, withdrawal from a major war, and crippling inflation.

  5. Thanks for finding and printing Lanny’s editorial comments. I’ve been telling folks that libertarians have been trying to end police abuse for fifty years. “Yeah, sure you have.” has been the sarcastic answer. And if you look at 1% voting results for the LP it is obvious hardly anyone cares what libertarians think.

    1. They blame us for not getting anything done, and they won’t elect us, making sure we never get anything done.

      1. All we need is about 3% in their spoiler votes. The LP platform has for 48 years parlayed those into repeal of cruel and obnoxious laws. Stopping the more violent looters from getting elected is a perfectly functional vehicle for change by democratic means with no violence needed.

        1. Remember when you lost every election for public office you ever attempted including a race for county insurance commissioner Hihn? You and your party of neo-Marxists have failed to spectacularly it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetically fucking sad.

  6. One thing I have noticed is that in almost all the cases we hear about it is male officers that are involved in either killing or injuring these black men. Is there a reason we don’t hear about female officers being involved? Is it the case that where you have two males confronting each other the escalation to violence is greater? Could female officer be better at de-escalation? I like to know if this has ever been studied?

    1. We do hear about them, if you’re paying attention to police brutality. In some cases, female officers might move more quickly toward lethal force because..well, when you have a slight woman confronted with a large man, she’s unlikely to be able to physically subdue him.

      Remember Betty Shelby, the officer in Tulsa who opened fire on an unarmed man? And remember Botham Jean, who was shot to death because some bitch officer walked into the wrong apartment?

      Those are two instances I pulled off the top of my head, but I’m sure there’s others.

      1. I have a suspicion that the single officer that loaded LaVoy Finicum’s pickup with bullets, shot him (even while another officer was in the line of fire) was a woman officer. The police report of that officer just reads like an UN-hinged emotionally out of control Woman claiming she had been threatened at his/her house by these terrorists, etc, etc, etc….

        I’d say the majority of the female gender is “emotionally” controlled and that’s not a good characteristic to have behind a loaded gun.

    2. “Could female officer be better at de-escalation?”

      LOL, no. Primary reason is simple gender dimorphism. They, as a whole, lack the size and strength to intimidate recalcitrant suspects into compliance. Once intimidation fails, they lack the ability to physically compel compliance. Which leaves the taser, a firearm, or, most usually, handing the stinking mess off to a male officer.

      Technique helps, and most people want to comply, but the differences are always going to be there. Anecdotally, most female officers are aware of it.

      It further doesn’t help that police departments, in the quest for diversity qua diversity, hire favored class officers that, were they white men, would be terminated after their probationary period for inability to do the job.

      There are exceptions. Naturally, I can’t find it now, but a former female Marine police officer near San Antonio got shot in the face during a traffic stop ambush, maintained pursuit of the bad guy, and ended up killing the fucker.

      1. I understand your argument here but I am not sure about “Once intimidation fails, “. Is that the way for police to approach an interaction? I have to intimidate the person I am interacting with. That right there could be the problem.

        1. I repeat, most people culturally want to comply with the cops. Or at least, they used to. We’re changing to a lower-trust society where people don’t.

          Those that don’t, largely come from cultures where weakness is not prized at all. Honor is, respect is, and taking things from the weak is. Women are perceived as weaker than men by those cultures, and therefore less worthy of respect.

          It’s not enlightened at all. Maybe we should stop encouraging it?

        2. I see you’ve yet to offer any indication that the ‘incidents’ happen in other than proportion to the M/F ratio.
          But it’s no surprise for obvious reasons.

    3. One female officer was murdered in her sleep by her no-knock christian prohibitionist “brother” cops. Surely their union make a point of bragging about that, no?

      1. Hey Hihn, remember how prohibition was passed during a Democratic congress, with a Democratic president,by 2/3 of the states, the majority of which were under the control of Democratic legislatures and governors, then was repealed almost 90 motherfucking years ago, 40 years before the Libertarian Party existed, and yet you retardedly still think that prohibition was not only solely the GOP’s fault, but was also solved by the LP, and is also still a relevant political issue in 2020? You’re so adorable when your dementia makes you unable to distinguish past from present or to recall the history that you lived through with any accuracy.

    4. Could female officer be better at de-escalation?

      Ask Christopher Roupe you braindead cunt.

  7. There a loud howling for eliminating police immunity. I say fine, but let’s eliminate it across the board. Then —- Doctors are liable for mistakes/ deaths in treating patients. Judges parole boards/governors who release offenders are liable for any harm/injury the offender later causes. Teachers can be sued for “not effectively” teaching.

    And to make it equal to the police based wail – all these errors/mistakes will be scrutinized for any racial/gender imbalance and if not correlated precisely with the public at large (not necessarily the impacted population) an irrefutable presumption of animus will be charged. There fixed that for you all.

    1. “There a loud howling for eliminating police immunity. I say fine, but let’s eliminate it across the board. Then —- Doctors are liable for mistakes/ deaths in treating patients. Judges parole boards/governors who release offenders are liable for any harm/injury the offender later causes. Teachers can be sued for “not effectively” teaching…”

      In your list, except for MDs, all are public employees, and MDs *are* liable for malpractice.
      So, yes, let’s remove the ability to hide behind public employment to avoid liability.
      I have no idea what your last paragraph was intended to mean.

      1. The MDs face civil charges only and there is a cap on damages. They’re not charged with “murder” if a patient dies. And you’re right, there should be presumption that a incompetent auto mechanical (who makes a repair that causes a fatality) commits murder, how about a pharmacist who mistakenly fills a prescription, a nurse who gives wrong dosage. How about anytime anyone makes an error, we charge them with murder. People must be absolutely perfect in all that they do. No immunity, no exceptions.

        And the last paragraph was satire. Anytime any action does not perfectly mirror demographics, the Church of the Perpetually Offended cry racism like there is some grand conspiracy to vex them.

    2. As I keep pointing out, the results of making officials personal liable for the decisions they make in regards to how to implement policy, etc. would simply result in polices being implemented on the basis of whom is most likely to sue the person implementing the policy.

      If you think university administrators are too sensitive to the offenses taken by social justice warriors now, wait ’til the social justice warriors can sue university administrators personally for every outcome that might impact some favored group disproportionately.

      Think you should close classes down and hold them remotely? Does that impact African-American students disproportionately? Do they have broadband across the board the same as other students? If you can be sued personally for making that decision, you’d probably make the decision that is least likely to get you sued–on that basis alone.

      If the State wants to close schools down over my objections, then the social justice warriors can sue the state official instead. And there is no doubt that social justice warrior, environmental activists, and animal rights groups will sue you personally for the decisions you make–even chance they get.

      People point to qualified immunity as a relatively recent phenomenon, but I suspect it’s a natural outgrowth of regulation itself. Before relatively recently, government officials didn’t have the discretion to make these kinds of decisions. As the regulatory state grew, officials started making more and more decisions that impacted people’s lives than ever before.

      1. EVERY idiotic policy is advanced or entrenched by imaginary predictions of what “surely would happen” if a less corrupt, coercive or violent alternative were to replace it.

        1. Hey Hihn remember how you advocated for a total state confiscating all privately armed firearms because you’re a bootlicking Marxist piece of subhuman shit?

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  9. We’re all up in arms about the deaths of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Breonna Taylor…but if you’re going to list examples, does it hurt to list Daniel Shaver or Tony Timpa or Dennis Tuttle? It just feels a bit like there’s some cherry picking happening for the sake of a narrative.

    1. How about Dillon Taylor and Justine Damond? Both whites murdered in cold blood by black police officers. Probably the systemic racism made them do it.

  10. Great opening flashback! KMW can still sling a mean keyboard when she feels inspired.

    1. And you can still eat a mean log of shit out of the toilet bowl of the state-run elder-care facility where you are mercifully dying of senile dementia, Hihn.

  11. ARPANet, the precursor to the internet, was created by government.

    Just sayin, and you can thank Al Gore for sponsoring the legislation that released this government technology to the public.

    1. “ARPANet, the precursor to the internet, was created by government.”

      Dim-bulb lefties seem to think this means something.

    2. Distributed Adaptive Message Block Switching, the precursor to ARPANet, was created by the RAND corporation.

      Just saying, and you can thank Tim Berners-Lee for creating the worldwide web 2 full years before Al Gore sponsored a piece of legislation that did absolutely nothing to commercialize the TCP/IP technology stack that had already been in the private sector for nearly 20 years.

      Did you have any other debunked Democratic Party talking points from 30 years ago that I can snap off in your ass for you?

    3. Atom bombs, the precursors to the hydrogen bomb, were created by government.

    4. And they just typed messages to each other with it until entrepreneurs came along and used it to revolutionize business and society.

      How embarrassing for the government!

    5. It was paid for by the DoD, it was created by the private sector.

  12. Or we could simply prohibit government from initiating force.

  13. “Today, officers caught on camera abusing peaceful protesters during gatherings specifically intended to draw attention to police brutality are being quickly identified, investigated, and suspended or fired, including officers in Buffalo, New York, who were captured shoving a white-haired man and then walking past him as he lay on the ground bleeding.”

    Um….just the facts. While it is true that an officer pushed an older man down and they did walk past him, it omits that the man rushed the officers, and the one who pushed began to reach down to assist him up but was stopped by another officer. Later it was known it was to keep the skimmish line.

    Either this is sloppy reporting, or worse, lying by omission.

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  16. I know — Lets outlaw rubber bullets, maze, choke-holds, hand-cuffs, punching/fighting, restraint, tazing, pulling over, karate, arms-behind-your-back………………..

    Then we can complain endlessly that cops just end up shooting everyone who breaks the law and resists being arrested… Surely if we riot the towns loud enough all the child porn, drug dealers, car thieves, murderers and rapists will all be set free. After all; It’s not their fault – it’s those MAGA hats making them be who they are… /s

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  20. Yeah, Reason – we get it – you basically hate the police. Yawn. It would be nice if you spent as much time going after the rioters and anarchists whose mob rule is responsible for deaths and destruction of property. But I guess we can’t have everything.

  21. If the U.S. was a moral country, you wouldn’t have to worry about it because moral countries don’t allow jobs that are funded with stolen money.

  22. Living in southside downtown MPLS, here are a few observations:
    — The MPD has long been out of control and receiving implicit and behind-the-scenes backing from the media and civic leaders
    — Floyd could’ve easily been a white dude. The pigs are openly hostile to anyone on the street.
    — It was absolutely shocking that the po-pos showed up for a fake $20! They announced that they will stop showing up and responding to low-level crimes months before they killed Floyd.
    The city is dead after that one-two punch from Floyd-19.

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