Police

Some States Are Finally Getting Serious About Addressing Police Misconduct

Reforms like the ones recently passed in Maryland and New Mexico offer a better long-term fix than the conviction of one police officer.

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The nation has finally learned what it takes to remove a bad officer from a police force and provide some modicum of justice in a police-abuse case. We need only capture on video an officer slowly snuffing out a man's life, have that video go viral, endure some of the most far-reaching protests and riots in modern history and, then, after nearly a year of soul-searching and debate, wait for a jury to render a verdict.

Polls suggest that most Americans are relieved that the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges (second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter) in the death of George Floyd. The causes of that incident, however, took place long before the awful scene we watched unfold last May.

"(A)nyone who looked closely at Chauvin's record would have known—should have known—that one day something bad was likely to happen while he was on the job," noted Jonathan Last in a column this week in The Bulwark. Chauvin "had 18 official complaints against him in his file—these are only the ones that citizens actually got up and followed through on registering."

In discussing police reform on social media and with friends, people often will say, "Police departments should just fire dirty cops." That's the right idea, of course, but legislatures and courts have created a multi-layered system that makes it nearly impossible to accomplish that seemingly simple task. Public-safety debates become emotional and divisive, so it becomes difficult to pass reforms that advance that common-sense outcome.

My conservative friends typically strike a "back the badge" attitude and see efforts to rein in the use of force as leftist attacks on law and order that will hobble the ability of officers to deal with criminals. I find that attitude unfathomable. Conservatives believe that government is abusive and oppressive, but the people who enforce these laws are heroes.

Their approach to police forces and police unions, which provide the main impediment to firing misbehaving cops by the way, reminds me of the situation with public schools. Everyone appreciates the hard work of teachers, but teachers' unions make it impossible (Google "Dance of the Lemons") to get rid of the losers. If you genuinely support teachers and police, you should support reforms that promote accountability and excellence.

My liberal friends are equally infuriating. They believe that officers often are abusive and oppressive, yet they continually support new laws and regulations that give officers more reason to intervene in people's lives. Many deadly police encounters start with the enforcement of some picayune regulation—such as when New York City police put Eric Garner in a chokehold ("I can't breathe") after detaining him for selling "loosies" (individual cigarettes).

California is the most progressive state, yet has the most regressive laws regarding police accountability, which is amazing given some of the racial inequities of this matter. Until recently, our state shielded records of police who had committed crimes or had faced disciplinary actions. We still don't have a decertification process, so fired officers just get jobs in other departments.

Our previous attorneys general—Xavier Becerra and Kamala Harris—served as tools of the powerful cop unions, who thwart reform. A 2019 paper from the University of Chicago found that "after sheriffs' deputies in Florida were allowed to unionize, violent incidents increased by 40 percent." It found a direct link between unionization and violent misconduct—not a surprise to those of us who have closely followed the issue.

At the state level, unions have secured the Peace Officers Bill of Rights. This "gives the government officials who enforce the laws significant protections not afforded other citizens, including time limits on any investigation knowledge of an investigation prior to an interrogation, access to evidence prior to interrogation and limitations on when they can be interrogated," the California Policy Center explains.

Police unions typically are the most powerful force at the local level, where they elect their lackeys—who then pass collective-bargaining agreements that ladle on additional protections. At the federal level, the courts created the doctrine of qualified immunity, which bars victims of police abuse (and abuse by any government officials) from suing an officer for violating their constitutional rights.

After Minneapolis, legislatures passed a variety of reforms, but many of them have been superficial. This month, however, the Maryland General Assembly overturned Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a police-reform package that included a first-in-the-nation repeal of that noxious bill of rights. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this month signed a law overturning qualified immunity in that state.

Now we're finally getting somewhere. It shouldn't take an incident so egregious to prompt meaningful reforms, but the Maryland and New Mexico reforms offer a better long-term fix than the conviction of one police officer. Is there any chance the union-friendly California Legislature has the courage to follow suit?

This column was first published in The Orange County Register.

NEXT: Fight Crime by Ending Civil Asset Forfeiture

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  1. So when crime spikes in NM and MD urban areas, what will be Greenhut’s supposition then?

    QI in some very limited form is probably a necessary evil we have to live with.

    1. Their stock answer, “systemic racism”, is being recited by the “Cuck In Chief” every single time he speaks at a podium. It is as if Sharpton has his hand up Biden’s rectum and is working him like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

      1. Yet they never describe how Minneapolis can be systemically racist, if not for the “leaders” of the city. Ditto Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, New York……..

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        2. Haha. Nah man, the “leaders” are great. They can’t be held accountable for one bad cop, right?

          Oh, and ACAB. Makes sense, right?

    2. New Mexico didn’t eliminate qualified immunity. If there’s a spike in crime in NM, it will have fuck-all to do with the law they passed.

    3. Why? The US did quite well for almost 200 years without QI. To the best of my knowledge, no other country in the world has QI. (Yes, there are many countries where you can’t sue the police at all. Those are not relevant to the argument. Among the countries that do allow citizens to sue over abuse, none have QI.)

      The argument that crime will spike is supported by a notable absence of evidence. Just like cops and prosecutors like to tell us that good people have nothing to fear from , good cops have nothing to fear from an end to QI.

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    6. “when” is an assumption. Only time will tell. Regardless, I’d rather take the risk of higher crime than let agents of the government have that kind of protection. Historically, the government has always presented the greatest threat of evil. If any one political faction ever gained control, except possibly the libertarians, they wouldn’t hesitate to oppress or holocaust the others if percieved necessary. We should always be working to diminish the power of the government and to make it easier for the individual to sue or prosecute the officers of the government. It’s a never-ending task. The enemies of freedom will never let up. We should not either.

      If crime was the issue, the conservatives would be advocationg the end of drug prohibition. The homicide rate was cut in half after the end of prohibition – https://www.statista.com/statistics/1088644/homicide-suicide-rate-during-prohibition/ notice the rise starting at the beginning of prohibition in 1919 and the sharp drop beginning 1934 the year after prohibition.

      The police enforce many unjust laws. Until the body of laws becomes more just, it should be easy to sue and prosecute those who wield enforcement authority.

  2. “My conservative friends typically strike a “back the badge” attitude and see efforts to rein in the use of force as leftist attacks on law and order that will hobble the ability of officers to deal with criminals. I find that attitude unfathomable. Conservatives believe that government is abusive and oppressive, but the people who enforce these laws are heroes.”

    The rate of violent crime in high crime areas will increase (or not) in response to doing things like getting rid of qualified immunity–regardless of how you feel about conservatives and regardless of how conservatives feel about the people who enforce our laws.

    And anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.

    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/delusional

    1. Sure, who would want to become a cop if they aren’t allowed to violate Constitutional rights with impunity?

      Abolish QI. Have police departments carry liability insurance on all officers. After so many strikes, the bad apples will be ejected.

      1. “Sure, who would want to become a cop if they aren’t allowed to violate Constitutional rights with impunity?”

        That rhetorical question might make sense in a low crime area.

        In a high crime areas, where the violent crime rate is such that the chances of a police officer getting into a violent confrontation in any given year may be over 100%, the question is why any insurance company in their right mind would sell him a liability policy.

        The fact is that as the risk and potential cost of violent interactions increase, the police will do what they can to limit their exposure to those risks and those costs. It would be one thing if suing a cop required a unanimous jury and for the verdict to be beyond a reasonable doubt, but a cop would need to be a moron to engage with violent criminals unnecessarily if doing so increases the odds of a simple majority of jurors finding him liable by a preponderance of the evidence.

        Do you imagine that getting rid of qualified immunity will change the behavior of the police or don’t you?

        1. Engaging violent criminals while operating within the law they are sworn to uphold is what the job entails. You talk as though having to respect Constitutional rights places an undue burden on police officers or else Qualified Immunity only shields cops from frivolous lawsuits. Abolishing QI will certainly change the behavior of some people in law enforcement, likely for the better since they’ll be expected to have a mature, intuitive sense what is and is not acceptable police conduct.

          1. By a preponderance of the evidence and a simple majority of jurors is a low standard.

            If I were a cop in Minneapolis, I wouldn’t want to be facing a jury right now–even if the charges against me were completely fabricated.

            We will probably see crime spike in high crime areas if and when they get rid of qualified immunity. As the police become increasingly reluctant to engage with violent criminals, the violent criminals will become more and more aware of it.

            You should be prepared for that, or you might concede, right now, that even police who have done nothing unconstitutional and operate in areas with high violent crime have something serious to worry about without qualified immunity. In fact, isn’t it your hope that police will change their behavior without qualified immunity?

            Well, it isn’t just the unconstitutional behavior that is likely to be affected.

            1. To be clear, in Minneapolis, Chauvin, knelt on a man for over 8 minutes even after the guy stopped resisting, lost consciousness and literally died all while being video recorded.
              If that is a bar too high for the police, they shouldn’t be police.

              1. Yeah, but these changes won’t only impact the Floyd case; in fact, they won’t impact the Floyd case at all.

                If you’re saying that the Floyd case is an excellent example of a police officer not being made to pay for misbehavior, Chauvin was found guilty of murder. He’s going to prison for a long time, and that doesn’t include the federal charges the FBI is bringing against him for civil rights violations.

                “Leading up to Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, Justice Department officials had spent months gathering evidence to indict the ex-Minneapolis police officer on federal police brutality charges, but they feared the publicity frenzy could disrupt the state’s case . . . .

                Now, with Chauvin’s state trial out of the way, federal prosecutors are moving forward with their case. They plan to ask a grand jury to indict Chauvin and the other three ex-officers involved in George Floyd’s killing — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — on charges of civil rights violations, a source said.”

                https://www.startribune.com/feds-plan-to-indict-chauvin-other-three-ex-officers-on-civil-rights-charges/600051374/

                Anyone claiming the Chauvin case is somehow an excellent indication of police not being held responsible for misbehavior is nuts. The question isn’t whether Chauvin will spend decades in prison for his misbehavior. The question is how many decades he’ll spend in prison.

            2. Why should average citizens be held to a higher standard than someone trained in the law and methods of enforcement?

              Show your work.

              As for investigating crimes (read: initiations of force), I’ll do that without QI, for a modest fee.

              1. I thought I already spoke to this. Here’s an example:

                The legitimate purpose of the Sheriff’s department is to go out and find violent criminals who failed to show up in court to face charges. They chase them down, put them in handcuffs, and take them to jail. Some of them are guilty, and they know it, and they fight the sheriffs who come to take them away rather than go quietly.

                If you’re a sheriff who takes in dozens of cases a year like that in an especially violent area, the chances of you getting into a violent confrontation that results in a lawsuit are probably close to 100%–if you’re doing a good job and even if you’re doing it constitutionally. And, you see, the victims of crime deserve justice. The city has a fundamental responsibility to protect victims of violent crime from violent criminals, and that means arresting them so that they can be tried.

                And if they want sheriffs to go out and arrest these violent criminals to get them off the streets, they need people who will go out there and get them despite the risk of getting sued for it–and losing a lawsuit over it. An electrician who had an almost 100% chance of losing everything, every year, despite doing a good job and not violating anyone’s constitutional rights, would be crazy to do it for a small fee.

                Much more likely, they’d stop doing anything risky on the job if they could avoid it–and in the sheriffs’ case, that means not chasing down the bad guys. Violent criminals avoiding trial don’t end up in the back of squad cars accidentally, and things like armed robberies are apparently habit forming. The recidivism rates on this kind of thing are outrageous.

                “Of adult offenders sentenced to DOC multiple times, those with 1,2,3,4, and 5 prior offenses commit another offense 39%, 50%, 55%, 57%, and 58% of the time respectively.”

                http://sentencing.nj.gov/downloads/pdf/0426_doc4.pdf

                In short, there are costs associated with risk, and if the market can’t price that risk in high crime areas in the form of insurance premiums, the victims of violent crime in those areas deserve justice anyway.

                There are places in this country where QI has no legitimate place, and there are places in this country where violent crime might spiral out of control without QI. The only thing that should probably be said about all of them is that there is nowhere in this country where voters and taxpayers shouldn’t be asserting themselves on these issues. Oh, and the other thing that should be said about all of them is that the criminal courts are there to protect people from criminal behavior by the police, too.

                1. “The legitimate purpose of the Sheriff’s department…”

                  There isn’t one. Put out a bounty. Done.

                  “the chances of you getting into a violent confrontation that results in a lawsuit are probably close to 100%–if you’re doing a good job and even if you’re doing it constitutionally”

                  Don’t take the job if you don’t like the risks.

                  “An electrician who had an almost 100% chance of losing everything, every year, despite doing a good job and not violating anyone’s constitutional rights, would be crazy to do it for a small fee.”

                  Then let a non-State professional do it.

                  “things like armed robberies are apparently habit forming”

                  Not if you let the owners protect their stuff by gunpoint. I remember seeing an old double barreled shotgun at a gun show, with “Brule Bank” engraved (I think) on it. They didn’t get robbed.

                  “There are places in this country where QI has no legitimate place”

                  The entire thing. If it’s a good idea in a “good” place, then it’s a good idea in a “bad” place. If it’s evil to violate the rights of people in a “good” place, well, you know the rest.

                  “Oh, and the other thing that should be said about all of them is that the criminal courts are there to protect people from criminal behavior by the police, too.”

                  Not with QI, they can’t (or at least, not as well). And, if it’s so important to take this violent criminal, then shouldn’t the Sheriff be willing to risk it without QI and throw themselves on the mercy of the jury? Or is their understanding of “reasonable” just not in line with us peons?

                  1. “The legitimate purpose of the Sheriff’s department…”

                    —-Ken Shultz

                    “There isn’t one. Put out a bounty. Done.”

                    —-ace_m82

                    Just, right from the start, that’s absurd.

                    If government has any legitimate purpose at all, it’s to protect our rights. We have a military to protect our rights from foreign threats. We have criminal courts to protect our rights from the police. We have police to protect our rights from violent criminals.

                    Sheriffs making people accused of violent crimes face their accusers in court is a legitimate function of libertarian government–and so is the court using sheriffs to compel witnesses to testify in court. And if a municipality or the taxpayers can’t offer a bounty large enough to entice bounty hunter to bring a violent criminal to justice, that criminal’s victims deserve justice anyway.

                    Do you plan to abolish the police and the sheriffs over the objections of voters? QI is a practical solution to certain municipalities if and when the taxpayers and the voters want it.

                    Meanwhile, if you think the solution to violent crime spiraling out of control in the wake of QI disappearing will be to disband sheriffs departments everywhere and replace them with bounty hunters, you’re nuts.

                    The murder rate per 100,000 is about half of what it was in the 1980s and early 1990s, and if and when crime in our inner cities spikes back up like that again, disbanding the sheriff’s department and the police departments will not be the voters’ preferred solutions. Liberal places like New York and Los Angeles inflicted some of the heaviest handed police tactics in the country back then, with Giuliani’s stop and frisk, Daryl Gates’ LAPD and SWAT tactics, and the war on drugs all being excellent examples of what we should expect.

                    https://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

                    There is no reason to reinvent the wheel just to get rid of QI in an especially violent part of town, especially when those costs will ultimately be born by the taxpayers and the voters anyway–either through paying officers enough to cover a liability policy or through a higher crime rate.

          2. Why do people like you apply a double standard for police? Gorsuch says there are so many bullshit laws on the books that everyone is an unwitting felon, yet that suddenly disappears for police? We should get rid of the administrative state for everyone except police? How is that even remotely libertarian?

            What you’re asking for isn’t accountability, it’s scapegoating and martyrdom.

        2. It’s almost like we should be seeking other solutions to urban crime than giving cops complete immunity to commit abuse.

    2. “A thing will increase (or not). Anyone who says otherwise is delusional”

      Ok… can’t argue with that. Police are also all horrible racists (or not), and if you disagree you are delusional.

      1. That’s actually not the way it works.

        “The rate of violent crime in high crime areas will increase (or not) in response to doing things like getting rid of qualified immunity–regardless of how you feel about conservatives and regardless of how conservatives feel about the people who enforce our laws.

        And anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.”

        —-Ken Shultz

        The belief that reality alters itself–depending on how you feel about it–is a practical definition of “delusional”. The rate of crime will increase (or not) regardless of how we feel about it. It’s really not that hard to follow the relationship between things that discourage cops from interacting with violent criminals and the subsequent rate of violent crime.

        There are only two possible outcomes–either the crime rate will increase or it won’t. In your example, there are more than two possible outcomes, and the chances of all cops or no cops being racist are very small. There may be both hundreds of thousands of racist cops and hundreds of thousands of not racist cops. And it may not be objectively determined who is or isn’t racist.

        Conversely, if the number of violent crimes goes up after the elimination of QI, the numbers are what they are.

        How do you define racist cops? Are you just talking about racist white cops and their opinions of African-Americans? What about African-American cops and their opinion of Asian-Americans? Is that what you’re talking about, too? If a cop has a low opinion of Asian-American drivers, are you counting that cop as racist, or would they need to ticket Asian-American drivers disproportionately for you to count that cop as racist?

        Etc., etc.

  3. I can confidently predict that racist “tough on crime” attitudes will never again appeal to American voters.

    Now that alt-right white nationalism has been defeated and the progressive / neocon / corporate / libertarian alliance is in power, we’ll finally implement the #EmptyThePrisons agenda long advocated by billionaires like Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch.

  4. Conservatives believe that government is abusive and oppressive, but the people who enforce these laws are heroes.

    ……………………………

    My liberal friends are equally infuriating. They believe that officers often are abusive and oppressive, yet they continually support new laws and regulations that give officers more reason to intervene in people’s lives.

    Well, you have to be able to fathom causes and effects to understand these are contradictory positions and most people are pretty bad about understanding causes and effects. There’s a reason there’s a whole encyclopedia about fallacious arguments.

  5. Protecting our rights is the only legitimate purpose of libertarian government, and protecting our rights from criminals is a basic foundation of that.

    There isn’t anything libertarian about abandoning whole communities to violent criminals in the name of criminal justice reform, and if you’re willing to sell the arrest and prosecution of legitimate violent criminals short for the sake of whatever you mean by justice reform, then you should be honest about that.

    I’ll give you an example of the same kind of thing: Because of the Fifth Amendment, legitimately guilty murderers and rapists sometimes go free, but I support the Fifth Amendment anyway because that’s the price of liberty and justice. Can you say that with qualified immunity–even in areas where the violent crime rate is so high, no insurance company in their right mind would sell a liability policy to an officer working in that neighborhood?

    There is no reason why the worst, violent crime ridden parts of Albuquerque should have the same policies on qualified immunity as the lowest crime areas of suburban San Diego, but if you think your reforms should be the same in low crime areas and high crime areas–regardless of whether your policy changes make crime in Albuquerque spiral out of control–then have the guts to say so.

    I maintain that everyone has the right to the protection of their rights against violent criminals, even those who have no ability to pay, and if your reforms will have an impact on the willingness or effectiveness or law enforcement to deter or arrest violent criminals in high crime areas, then you need to make the case for that.

    And if you’re assuming that your reforms won’t have any impact on the rate of violent crime, you probably need to make that case, too. Otherwise, you’re stealing a base. Anything that discourages the police from interacting with violent criminals is likely to increase the rate of violent crime, and as the chances of getting sued for a violent altercation increase, so, too, will law enforcement’s willingness to engage with violent criminals probably decrease.

    From a libertarian perspective, the assumption that cops don’t respond to price signals is absurd.

    1. Limiting the liability of cops who trample on citizens’ rights is a distortion, one that sows distrust and anti-police sentiment in high-crime neighborhoods and makes good law enforcement difficult. You don’t encourage industry by shielding corporations from lawsuits over, e.g. pollution, and you don’t encourage people to pursue policing careers by letting them do whatever the hell they want without having to worry about civil suits. That’s invitation to bad wannabe cops who won’t respect the rights of the people they’re hired to protect and serve. By this logic, poor communities would be better off if police were also granted immunity from criminal prosecution for their misconduct. If anything, we should hold government officials to a meticulously high standard. In regard to “price signals,” pay them more, but demand accountability.

      1. You don’t sell insurance to houses that are sure to catch on fire, and in some neighborhoods, the chances of a good cop getting into a legitimately legal physical altercation and losing the lawsuit–in any given year–are so high, no insurance company in their right mind would write them a policy.

        And even if they did, where do you think the money to pay those premiums are coming from? Do you think that money will fall out of the sky? It will come out of the cop’s salary, and the taxpayers will be paying for that salary increase anyway. There is no escaping the cost of risk, and just piling it on the cops and imaging that both the bad behavior and the costs will go away is absurd.

        Cops will avoid interacting with violent offenders as the potential cost of doing so increases, as rising gasoline costs means fewer people traveling to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.

        There are plenty of places in this country where qualified immunity makes no sense whatsoever. There are other places in this country where no insurance company in their right mind would price the risk of chasing down violent offenders, putting them in handcuffs, and taking them to jail.

        The people who live in those neighborhoods should be making these tough decisions for themselves. If the people of Los Alamos (median income over $100,000 a year) don’t want the same thing as people in the worst parts of Albuquerque, then they shouldn’t have the same thing.

        Is there anything about qualified immunity that prevents police from being held responsible in criminal court for their conduct? Am I not seeing something important? Are you not recognizing that police brutality is a crime even if the police aren’t paying the damages?

        1. You don’t sell insurance to houses that are sure to catch on fire, and in some neighborhoods, the chances of a good cop getting into a legitimately legal physical altercation and losing the lawsuit–in any given year–are so high, no insurance company in their right mind would write them a policy.

          We’re arguing off the point. In the case of New Mexico, there is no question of insurance policy. The state indemnifies any officer successfully sued– the law explicitly states it will cover the damages on behalf of the officer. Secondly, all New Mexico did was grant a different kind of qualified immunity by… reiterating what qualified immunity generally says: Officers can ONLY be sued in New Mexico if there’s existing case law that shows that the officer violated the Constitution of New Mexico. (and to reiterate, if and IF the officer is successfully sued, all damages will be paid by the employing state agency)

          Reason keeps saying that New Mexico “eliminated” qualified immunity, when they did no such thing.

  6. Until states address their bloated governments they will continue to experience policing improprieties. If Biden’s plans to shift more of the economy to government come to fruition, we will have even more of this.

  7. There should be ways to remove problem police officers that don’t take a decade and allow continued bad behavior.
    Now, how about applying the same standards to bad teachers and school administrators? They have equal union protections. And how about state and county employees? SEIU will got to bat for anyone forever – you only see those convicted of felonies get fired.

    1. What about Federal employees? You can’t get rid of a them no matter how many vets they kill with their incompetence.

      1. Yes. No government goon at any level should have extra protections against lawsuits or prosecution. It must be actively fought, because government goons like to look after each other.

  8. The states and cities run by democrats have the worst abuses. If you’re black why are you still voting for them?

  9. How about this:

    Hold everyone accountable to the same standards and laws, and judge them as individuals, not members of a profession, union, caste, party, sex, or race.

    1. Hold everyone accountable? Even law enforcement? Crazy talk. Listen, libtard, if you won’t stand behind our boys in blue, feel free to stand in front of them!!!1!

  10. Who cares what shallow Reason writers say about anything? You guys decided principles didn’t matter because of mean tweets. You chose leftist anti-Americans in your social circle over America and liberty.

    1. Since when does the right wing represent America or liberty? Libertarianism is neither left nor right on the U.S. spectrum, but if you have to squeeze us onto a one-dimensional chart, then we’d be far left because we propose major structural reforms and radical redistribution of power from the ruling classes to the individual.

      1. Libertarians are a lot closer to the right than the left, especially these days when the left are outright communists who want the government to control absolutely everything. In Reagan’s era when conservatives were serious in limiting government intervention into the economy and practicing fiscal restraint, libertarians were pretty close to conservatives with the exception of drug policy and overspending on military (just a disagreement on the size of, not whether there should be one at all).

        1. You mean the Reagan era that doubled the national debt and witnessed police forces being transformed into paramilitary organizations to fight the drug war?

          Fiscally-responsible and freedom-loving my ass.

          1. Not that it was good but as a share of debt to GDP, the increase over his 2 terms was about 25%. We did that in the last year alone just for perspective. He did significantly cut taxes, kept unions in check and lowered non defense spending as a share of GDP. He transformed the economy from incompetent left wing carter’s national malaise stagflation to a 2 decade long economic boom. Along with being the best marketer of free market capitalism of the 20th century and best detractor of big government. He was also financially responsible in raising FICA taxes for social security increased costs (although I wish he would have scaled back or cut the program).
            Yes, the increases in military spending (which I specifically mentioned) were too large and irresponsible financially. It did lead to the demise of communist Russia at least (which any libertarian should cheer).
            I also specifically mentioned the drug war. So yeah, pretty libertarian except for those 2 things that I already mentioned. Of course he wasn’t perfect or even close, but he was the most free market president since Calvin Coolidge. Can you think of another president in the 20th or 21st century that even comes close to Raegan in terms of alignment with libertarian principles?

            1. To me the transformation of police from peace officers who serve the people to an occupying army that serves only themselves outweighs any of the good he did.

              Most of the police abuses talked about in this magazine come directly from his term in office.

              Not to mention the “stranger danger” craze that resulted in the total destruction of any freedom for children.

              No, Reagan sucked. Could someone else have been worse? Probably. But that doesn’t negate the liberties we permanently lost under his reign.

              1. I take it you’re one of those “cut off your nose to spite your face” libertarians who would rather fantasize about perfection than do or vote for something imperfect that is overall on our side?

                1. If by that you mean I’m one of those “The lesser of two evils is still evil” people, then yes.

                  As Mencken said, in a two party system the goal is for each party to convince voters that the other party is evil. And they’re both right.

                  1. I’d hardly go as far as calling Reagan horrible. If you wanna put that label on more contemporary Republicans, fair enough. Of course the alternative to the more contemporary Republicans is the party of pure Marxism that is no longer even trying to hide it or restrain themselves. Feel free to remind me of your principled stance when we become a 3rd world country and the dollar is ancient history.
                    FYI, I voted Jorgensen last year and do have some buyer’s remorse (even though I wasn’t in a swing state) as even my cynical ass underestimated the left today that make me pine for the days of Obama’s closet, restrained communism.

  11. “Conservatives believe that government is abusive and oppressive, but the people who enforce these laws are heroes.”

    That sort of “conservative” has a screw and a wire loose somewhere and the key signal, that all they despise would be but impotent government office and faculty lounge chit-chat were it not for cops with clubs cracking peoples’ heads to impose it, is lost. Decrying the evils of the passive bureaucrats but celebrating as sacred cows the active bureaucrats, despite their evils and their imposition of the otherwise impotent evils of their fellows, is insane.

    A.C.A.B.
    All
    Cops
    Are
    Bureaucrats

    “Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman’s tool is values; the bureaucrat’s tool is fear.” ~ Ayn Rand

  12. The left supports police reform. The left is completely evil, and anything they support is evil. Therefore police reform must be opposed. Because the left supports it. That’s the conservative mentality in a nutshell.

    Right Ken?

  13. Of course, pinning down a suspect resisting arrest by a knee to the back/shoulder (not the neck) as is standard protocol in that police department is clearly police misconduct. If he died, it’s clearly the officer’s fault cause he was white and the suspect was black, don’t you know? The fact that the suspect had a way beyond lethal level of fentanyl in his system, was complaining he couldn’t breath even before being pinned to the ground and openly said “I ate too many drugs” is not an indication of a drug overdose, it was clearly police misconduct that killed him.

    1. It’s also standard protocol to roll someone onto their sides when cuffed with their hands behind their backs. Why? Because with their body face down, hands behind their back, and 200lbs on their back (or neck), they can asphyxiate and die.

      But none of that matters. People on the left got upset and the left is wrong about everything, so something must be dreamt up to absolve the officer of all misconduct.

      1. “The fact that the suspect had a way beyond lethal level of fentanyl in his system, was complaining he couldn’t breath even before being pinned to the ground and openly said “I ate too many drugs” is not an indication of a drug overdose,” Yes, I dreamt all of those things up, those aren’t facts. I also dreamt up that Floyd refused to peacefully get into the police car.

        1. I think the charges that asshole was convicted of went too far. He certainly committed depraved-heart murder. Then again having any sort of conscience will immediately disqualify someone from being a cop.

          We will never know for sure, but I would bet that simply rolling the guy onto his side would have saved his life. That’s it all it would have taken.

          But there’s no point in arguing with someone who believes that refusal to get into a police car justifies execution in the street.

          1. Execution in the street? Can you be any more mellodramatic?
            If you wanna knock Chauvin for not being more careful in handling a suspect that was clearly not with it, fair enough. Same, if you wanna knock the procedures of that police department as excessive. But considering the shape of Flyod at the time of his demise, even involuntary manslaughter or criminal negligence is a serious stretch of the imagination.

            1. But considering the shape of Flyod at the time of his demise, even involuntary manslaughter or criminal negligence is a serious stretch of the imagination.

              You’re saying he would have died regardless? Or that he deserved to die anyway? He was a lowlife so why should anyone care?

              Looks like the cop isn’t the only one with a depraved heart. You should consider joining the force. You’d fit in great.

              1. Pretty much all of the above, actually. He almost certainly would have died anyway. The prosecution’s medical experts said without knowing the circumstances, it would have been classified as an overdose death. That alone is reasonable doubt about the guiltiness of Chauvin. Chauvin might have shortened his life by an hour by exasperating his condition with the stress of being arrested and pinned, maybe. And don’t forget Floyd CHOSE to resist arrest by not peacefully getting into the cop car, so that was his own CHOICE to force Chauvin to pin him down and circumvent peaceful due process and routine arrest.
                Considering Floyd was a career violent criminal, from a utilitarian point of view Floyd dying is absolutely a good thing. My view on the whole George Floyd case has nothing to do with police reform or any baselss claims of systemic racism. It’s about the need for 0 tolerance policies for violent/property crime convictions via executions. If we had that, Floyd would have been executed back in 1998 and saved civil society several instances of violent and property crimes. And would have lowered crime rates in general both through deterrence and eliminating all convicted repeat violent criminals.
                I guess that makes me a depraved heart for wanting to reduce instances of violent/property crime on the innocent public as opposed to care about forgiveness for a violent career criminal who has proven he can’t be trusted to not violate the natural rights of others and function in a civil society.

  14. Good article. Well thought out. Bravo. Keep them coming.

  15. “Peace Officers Bill of Rights” always seem like a equal protections clause violation to me. I know a lot of it is procedural, but it impedes criminal prosecution.

    Additionally, it’s a solution without a problem, until maybe very recently, when has the justice system ever had incentive to unduly persecute police? Even if this stuff didn’t encourage bad policing, it reduces the rationale to trust the justice system.

  16. My liberal friends are equally infuriating. They believe that officers often are abusive and oppressive, yet they continually support new laws and regulations that give officers more reason to intervene in people’s lives. Many deadly police encounters start with the enforcement of some picayune regulation—such as when New York City police put Eric Garner in a chokehold (“I can’t breathe”) after detaining him for selling “loosies” (individual cigarettes).

    Step one: Regulate the fuck out of everything.
    Step two: Claim the entire system is racist.
    Step three: Profit

  17. This is going to be my generation’s OJ trial. It will take decades, but eventually people will realize how wrong they were. Just like OJ, you’ll come around to reality. Just because there was injustice and bias against blacks didn’t mean OJ was truly not guilty. Same applies here. The real need for police reform doesn’t make Chauvin truly guilty.

    Also please drop the spin on Chauvin “snuffing” out the life from Floyd. Floyd snuffed his own life out and an unjust guilty verdict doesn’t change that. Actual medical examiner couldn’t determine a cause of death. Reasonable doubt could not have been any clearer on whether or not Floyd died because of custody or during custody.

    Facts vs truth, learn the difference. You can officially recognize bullshit all you want but it won’t change the reality of what happened. Some people might let it slide but the trial was televised and I won’t stand by while you try to memoryhole the truth.

  18. It’s mind boggling how disingenuous Reason libertarians become when it comes to police and immigration.

    The police force isn’t like Mcdonalds, where at will employment is practical. If you just fired / facilitated civil lawsuits on “bad cops”, you’re not going to have a police force. The officers had to receive training to qualify for those jobs. And unlike public education, where alternatives like home schooling exist (because bad teachers never leave), you have no other options than arming yourself if cops don’t exist.

    Why does QI exist in the first place? Should we just civily sue presidents, governors, and politicians for their decisions that cost lives? How many people did Cuomo kill?

    Of course, Reason completely ignores the skyrocketing crime rate post BLM. Only Gillespe briefly mentioned that black people want more police. The anti police agenda in this country will get POCs KILLED. George Gascon disbanded the gang unit LA as homicide rate in the city is nearing record highs.

    The truth is that my odds of getting killed by a cop while I’m not a threat to anyone is on the level of me getting killed by an illegal immigrant or a mass shooter. It doesn’t happen that often, and the country is 40% nonwhite. America is the most stable democracy on earth, whereas even advanced nations like Japan have little protection for rape victims.

    You risk all that for a Utopian solution and push one size fits all regulations. Why do you behave like leftists? “Oh the cops are big government” Yeah, but people won’t go to a deserted island where they have unlimited access to coconuts and say “YAY, no government here”. I want limited government, not anarchy or an oligarchy.

    AGAIN, it’s not Reason writers whose lives will be in danger if cops hold back. Most of you are white, most of the commenters here are white. If you see what’s going on Settle, Portland, MN, and feel safe about a copless society, you can do what you want.

  19. What about the politicians who make the terrible laws the police are tasked to enforce? Can we defund them?

  20. I just listened to Jessica Beauvais pod cast…should be required reading for the Reason crew…she is the daughter Harris never had perhaps?

    1. Wow ,The police enforce many unjust laws. Until the body of laws becomes more just, it should be easy to sue and prosecute those who wield enforcement authority.

      https://www.wapexclusive.com

  21. Instead of defunding police we should eliminate a lot of the nonsense laws that they enforce. Police should protect against violence, not be the enforcer of stupid nanny state laws that have no victims.

    The left and the right far too often want to impose their preferences and force everyone else to like under their laws. All the while the ruling class elitists are laughing at the masses because they want the division to maintain their power.

    People from the left and the right need to begin listening and I mean to really start listening to each other. While there are differences, there is more commonality. We must bridge the divide that the ruling class elitist are selling and instigating. Ditch the two political parties and create a new movement were individuality and freedom are the priority.

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