Police Abuse

How to Curb Police Abuses—And How Not to

Much can and must be done to curb police brutality. The task is difficult, but far from hopeless. But riots and looting are both wrong in themselves, and likely to have counterproductive results.


Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pins George Floyd's neck with his knee, eventually causing his death (Darnella Frazier, AP).


The brutal recent killing of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has sparked outrage at police abuses, and led to rioting and looting in many cities around the country, as well as peaceful protests. It's understandable if many people—particularly minorities—feel a sense of anger, frustration, and hopelessness in the wake of these events, which come in the midst of a terrible pandemic. I sometimes feel that way myself.

But there is much that can be done to curb police abuses. The task is difficult, but far from hopeless. On the other hand, rioting and looting are not only wrong in themselves, but likely to have counterproductive effects.

I. What Can be Done

All too often, police get away with brutal treatment of civilians, particularly poor minorities. The problem is not that police officers are unusually bad people. It's that they have bad incentives, under which they are rarely held accountable for abuses. Those incentives can and should be altered.

An important first step would be to get rid of the legal doctrine of "qualified immunity," under which law enforcement officers are immune from suits for violating citizens' constitutional rights unless the officers' actions violate "clearly established" law. The Supreme Court interprets the term "clearly established" so narrowly that officers routinely get away with horrendous abuses merely because no federal court in their area has previously decided a case with essentially identical facts. Recent examples include stealing $225,000 from civilians and shooting a 10 year old boy in the course of an attempt to shoot the family dog (who posed no threat to the officer).

Qualified immunity is not required by the Constitution or even by a federal statute. It is a purely judge-made doctrine made up by the Supreme Court itself in a misguided effort to protect law enforcement officers from excessive litigation.  University of Chicago law professor and Volokh Conspiracy co-blogger Will Baude explains why the doctrine lacks any valid legal basis in this excellent article.

The Court is right now considering taking several cases whose consideration could lead to the abolition or at least the narrowing of qualified immunity. Both Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court's most conservative member, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the most liberal, have been severely critical of qualified immunity. There is a real chance they can persuade at least three of their colleagues to take the same view.

Rolling back qualified immunity will not put an end to all police abuse. But it will make it possible to hold police accountable in court for egregious violations of civil rights, which in turn will alter their incentives.

Co-blogger Jonathan Adler rightly warns that state and local governments might respond by indemnifying police officers for the damages they have to pay in such cases. But even if that happens, it would still be a step in the right direction. Indemnification costs money that many local governments will be loathe to pay. They will therefore have an incentive to crack down on abusive officers, particularly repeat offenders who routinely force authorities to pay out large sums to settle claims.

As Adler also explains, empirical research shows that impunity for police abuses is often promoted by police unions. State and local governments should consider banning police unionization, or at least curbing unions' powers by, for example, eliminating disciplinary issues from the list of matters that are subject to collective bargaining. Whatever the merits of public-sector unions in other contexts, they create too much of a conflict of of interest in the case of employees who often literally wield the power of life and death over civilians.

Abolishing police unions or even limiting their power will not be easy. But progress is possible if liberal civil liberties advocates  can work together with conservatives who dislike public sector unions more generally.

Police abuses can also be curbed by rolling back—and eventually abolishing—the War on Drugs. Many of the worst police tactics and most dangerous confrontations with civilians (especially minorities in urban areas) are products of the War on Drugs. In his important book The Rise of the Warrior Cop, Radley Balko shows how the War on Drugs has been a major driver of the militarization of police, and of hyper-aggressive tactics that routinely lead to violence and abuse.

The recent trend towards legalization of marijuana in many states is a good start. We should build on that and begin cutting back on the rest of the War on Drugs, as well. In 2011, the NAACP called for an end to the War on Drugs because it causes great harm to minority communities. Police abuse is a major part of that harm.

Finally, we can also reduce police abuse and improve relations between law enforcement and minority communities by curbing the widespread practice of racial profiling. A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that some 59% of black men and 31% of black women say they have been unfairly stopped by police because of their race.

Almost every black male I know can recount experiences of racial profiling by law enforcement. Admittedly, the people I know are not a representative sample. But given that I am a law professor, my African-American acquaintances are disproportionately affluent and highly educated. Working-class blacks likely experience racial profiling even more often.

If you don't trust survey data or take the word of my friends and acquaintances, take that of conservative Republican African-American Senator Tim Scott, who has movingly recounted multiple incidents in which he was racially profiled by police. Even being a powerful GOP politician is not enough for a black man to avoid such mistreatment.

It is not hard to see how racial profiling increases the risks of violence between police and racial minorities, and more generally breeds hostility between the two groups.

Reducing racial profiling is a very difficult task. In many cases, it is hard to tell whether it really occurred or not. The issue likely deserves a post of its own, which I hope to find time to do  in the future.

For now, I will only emphasize that this is an issue we cannot afford to ignore. This is particularly true for conservatives who—rightly—advocate color-blind government policies in other contexts. For many years, I have repeatedly argued that color-blindness advocates on the right must not turn a blind eye to racial profiling in law enforcement. If you truly believe that government should not discriminate on the basis of race, you cannot tolerate a glaring exception to that principle when it comes to those government officials who carry badges and guns, and have the power to kill, injure, and arrest people. Otherwise, your position will be glaringly inconsistent, and many will suspect that your supposed concerns about discrimination only arise when whites are the victims, as in the case of affirmative action programs.

The reforms described here may not be easy to achieve. But they are feasible. Qualified immunity and the War on Drugs have already come under serious challenge, and there is room for plenty of additional progress.

We can also learn from the increasingly successful campaign to curb abusive asset forfeiture, the practice under which law enforcement can seize the property of (often innocent) civilians -a practice that, like police brutality, disproportionately harms minorities and the poor. Thanks to the efforts of a cross-ideological coalition of reformers, including libertarians, liberals, and even some conservatives, many states have enacted reform laws, and courts have begun to crack down on the practice. Much remains to be done to fully address the problem of asset forfeiture abuse. But the progress achieved so far can be a model for other efforts to curb law enforcement abuses.

II. Why Rioting is Not the Answer

Much can be done to roll back abusive law enforcement practices. The ideas described above are far from exhaustive. But one tactic that must be avoided is the kind of rioting and looting that has occurred over the last few days. Such actions are not only wrong in themselves, but also likely to be counterproductive.

Most of the damage caused by rioting is inflicted on innocent people who are in no way responsible for police abuses. Destruction and looting of stores and other businesses not only hurts the owners and employees of those enterprises, but also impoverishes the broader communities of which they are a part. Violence and violation of property rights reduce investment and economic development, which predictably exacerbates the poverty of minority inner-city neighborhoods. The negative economic effects can persist for many years.

It may be tempting to say that rioting and other similar violence is justified if you are doing it in the name of a just cause. But even people with legitimate grievances must still observe moral limits on tactics they use to pursue them. Ignoring this principle is a recipe for disaster.

Many of the worst atrocities in world history were perpetrated by groups who themselves had legitimate grievances. Soviet communists had legitimate complaints about the injustices of czarist Russia. Their disregard for moral constraints still contributed to mass murder on a horrific scale.  German nationalists in the 1920s and 30s had legitimate grievances about the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles. That in no way justifies what they did in response. Being a victim of injustice cannot be a license to perpetrate injustices on others, especially people who did not perpetrate the wrongs you suffered.

Obviously, currently ongoing riots are nowhere near as bad as the actions of the Nazis and communists. But the same general principle applies: we should be wary of perpetrating new evils in the name of addressing the old.

It is admittedly possible there are situations where committing a wrong is the only way to address an even greater injustice. But this is not such a case.  There are more constructive ways to curb police abuses. Moreover, rioting is likely to make the problem worse, rather than better.

Rioting and other violent racial protests in the 1960s not only failed to curb police abuses, but actually boosted support for "tough on crime" politicians who advocated giving cops more of a free hand. When white swing voters see riots on TV, many of them react by supporting harsh tactics to restore "law and order." Such reactions may be wrong. But they are predictable and difficult or impossible to avoid.

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. warned that "riots are socially destructive and self-defeating" and that, "[e]very time a riot develops, it helps George Wallace." Today, they are likely to give a boost to Donald Trump and other politicians who support cruel law enforcement tactics. We would do well to heed King's warning. Pursuing reform by peaceful means is both more just and more likely to be effective than resorting to violence against innocent people.

UPDATE: I have made a few small additions to this post.

NEXT: The Cyberlaw Podcast: Here's the evidence

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  1. Person 1: Hey, wanna go out and do some looting?

    Person 2: No, thanks.

    Person 1: What’s the matter, you were totally into looting yesterday.

    Person 2: Yeah, but then I read this article on the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy which persuaded me looting was wrong. Here, take a look for yourself.

    Person 1: Yes, you’re right, that blog post is certainly persuasive, let’s go to a peaceful rally and hold up a couple of signs.

    Person 2: You’re on!

    Person 1: Pity, though, I sure could use a new flat-screen TV. Maybe I’ll just have to find some way to pay for one.

    1. Be realistic. Flat screens worth owning are too big for your average looter to carry away.

      1. They’re stealing carts too.

        1. I hate using carts.

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    2. Person 2: But isn’t there a corona virus epidemic? Shouldn’t we stay home some more to avoid spreading it?

      Person 1: You’re right! we should!

      Person 2: But the rioters almost burned down my home last night, I’m afraid, what should I do

      Person 1: Call the cops?

      Person 1: Call

      1. We need one of these people to say “no one needs a gun for personal protection”.

        1. Person 2: Umm.. The police don’t seem to be coming

          Person 1: Well, good thing I was going to pick up this firearm during the last couple months.

          Person 2: Did you actually get it?

          Person 1: Well…no. I tried, repeatedly, but the gun store was closed, and the permit system wasn’t set up.

          Person 2: Didn’t that violate your Constitutional rights?

          Person 1: I was told it was only temporary, so it was OK.

    3. Given the way black people have been treated in this country for centuries, a night of broken glass for white businesses is not that big of a deal.

      1. And yet, so many of the businesses seem to be black owned…

        1. This rabbi guy is a parody account, see the reference to night of broken glass.

          1. Yeah…. I know. Still, the tragedy of what riots really do to the African American community, and the damage they do to the community can’t be understated.

        2. And the ones that aren’t, e.g. AutoZone, both hire them and are damn handy to have within walking distance when your car isn’t running….

    4. This is ANTIFA organized….

      1. “Antifa organized” is a contradiction in terms. Antifa, despite what you may have read on Breitbart, is not an actual group. (I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who describe themselves as antifa. I’m saying that there’s no actual organization.)

          1. Why did you think that link was helpful?

            1. For you, nothing is probably helpful.

        1. Bullbleep.

          I’m not saying it is well organized, but it emerged out of what was BAMN 20-25 years ago — BAMN was opposed to things like California Prop 209 and sought to preserve Affirmative Action “By Any Means Necessary” — and they definitely considered violence acceptable, although back then it involved throwing chairs in meetings.

          ANTIFA exists as a loose confederation of similarly minded individuals who tell each other about events. It’s based in academia, amongst the junior faculty and staff — and that’s why Barr’s Memo is so interesting.

          See: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barrs-statement-riots-and-domestic-terrorism

          1. And what’s not well known is that a lot of it is funded out of mandatory student fees. I tangled with it for years, although 8 years of Obama emboldened it considerably. And they do cross state lines, routinely.

            1. I’m imagining Ed running up to his school financial management folks frantic about Antifa funding in like 2012.

              1. Correct. The people who complain about Antifa are the same people who complain about water fluoridation, mandatory vaccinations, and Jewish / Illuminati control of the US government. These peaceful protests were turned violent by alt-right white supremacists with help from the Russian backed goons in the Drumpf regime.

              2. “I’m imagining Ed running up to his school financial management folks frantic about Antifa “

                Try coordinating with the police so as to prevent them from disrupting his events.

                1. Student clubs. You think student clubs are antifa.

                  I really hope you’re not actually in the education biz.

                  1. Or a failed physics major like some.

        2. Oh, come on. Just because Antifa says they’re not an organization doesn’t mean it’s true. Sure a large part of Antifa is organized as cells, not purely hierarchically, but they’ve shown too much coordination to say they aren’t an organization.

          Pretending not to be an organization is just a legal defense.

          1. What’s been well organized?

            1. https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/other/george-floyd-pallets-of-bricks-found-unattended-among-protests-spark-theories-of-foul-play/ar-BB14TuA9

              Or the various funding groups put forth by various liberal groups. The organized groups seeking to fund bails to organizers.

              I mean, if you want to be completely ignorant of reality, that’s your choice. But why come to a blog to let people know you choose it, Sarcastro?

              1. Jesse, this turns out to be complete crap.

                A rumor.

                There were no pallets of bricks.


          2. EXACTLY!

            “Cells” is the right word, and the various “cells” have multiple overlapping organizations so that they can avoid accountability on the local level, along with obtain the fee money.

  2. I’ve also wondered if the cause is displaced aggression. However, looking at the pure joy (not anger) on the looters and rioters faces, it seems rather they are just caught up in the euphoria of being part of something larger than themselves.

    1. Only a very small person would turn a legitimate protest into a chance to destroy the property of the people on whose behalf he’s claiming to be so outraged. So there’s not much that isn’t larger than the rioters.

      1. Only a very small person would turn a legitimate protest into a chance to destroy the property of the people on whose behalf he’s claiming to be so outraged.

        I suspect the overlap between those wanting to protest legitimately and those engaged in random violence and vandalism is smaller than you imagine.

  3. All too often, police get away with brutal treatment of civilians, particularly poor minorities.
    The police have a problem but it really isn’t a race thing. Its who happens to be around.

    If this really was down to just bigotry than asians would be killed at the same rate as whites and women would be killed at the same rates as men (since they’re supposedly so hated by society). Police from all I’ve seen as a rule pull their punches on minorities precisely because this fear of backlash for black killings. Meanwhile whites get killed much more often and for silly reasons like playing with their garden hose and nobody cares.

    In the end blacks attack whites more than the reverse and kill each other far far far more often than the police kill them. This idea that blacks are particularly persecuted by police because of their race is at best a distraction. One that will never go away if people like the media and Ilya continue to give looters an excuse to riot and spread covid as long as the rate of black deaths is not zero for ever and ever.

    1. Profiling, including racial profiling has both good and bad characteristics.

      Profiling based on demographics of the perpetrators of crime is good solid efficient police work. Why profile black grandmas, when the highest percent of crimes in a neighborhood is committed by some of a different profile.

      Profiling strictly because of race, without a corresponding correlation to crimes committed is bad,

      But lets not confuse good profiling with racial profiling – I am not saying that it doesnt exist,

    2. >blacks attack whites more than the reverse
      Do you sleep well at night knowing that you are a racist?

      1. You consider facts that are not conducive to your biases to be racist?

        That is a very racist thing to think.

        1. The rabbi is a parody account.

      2. The rate of black on white crime is about twice the rate of white on black crime. So he’s right.


        1. Well duh. There are something like 5 times as many whites as blacks (a very rough guess, but certainly more than double).

          1. Sqrsly doesn’t know what the word rate means.

      3. >blacks attack whites more than the reverse
        Do you sleep well at night knowing that you are a racist?

        Assumes facts not in evidence.

    3. I’ve seen research indicating that police, once you adjust for the frequency of encounters, (Blacks tend to live in higher crime areas.) police are actually less likely to shoot a black than a white in any given encounter.

    4. Body count is more White than Black, and less likely to have a criminal record.

  4. Mostly spot on. But a few points of disagreement:

    * All immunity needs to go away, for anyone, in all its forms. And private prosecution needs to be legalized. Even if the prosecution of Chauvin (for only 3rd degree murder) goes forward it will be a sham.

    * The looting is neither spontaneous nor a genuine grassroots movement. Soros is paying and busing Antifa terrorists from one city to the next on a daily basis to start these crimes going in each place (after which opportunists swarm in). Why aren’t his organizations getting investigated, raided, shut down, and prosecuted?

    * Where police response has been inadequate it’s Democratic mayors and governors who have so ordered.

    * I expect black support for Trump to increase. He is doing the right thing, neither letting looters or arsonists go free, nor assuming that they represent all or most of any minority group.

    * When police officers profile, their guesses are generally correct. You simply can’t expect them to disregard what they’ve learned by experience. This is why I believe that police job discipline should be conducted in full public view by city councils or town meetings. Making such proceedings private only prevents justice being done the way the majority wants it, and that’s the way it needs to be.

    1. “Soros is paying and busing”
      Help me understand, why would he do that?

      1. It’s charity, he wants to help the misguided hold on to their ridiculous narratives.

        1. What is the ridiculous narrative, and why would he be funding it?

          1. Maybe @jdgalt1 is too stupid to follow up on his wild accusations?

                1. Snopes is Soros and everybody knows it, you troll.

                  1. Why would the Thurston Democrats (who appear to be real people) disown their own flyer?

                    1. Because it convicts them of a felony.

                    2. Anarchism isn’t a felony.

                    3. “Anarchism isn’t a felony.”

                      Don’t be an idiot. No, anarchism itself isn’t a felony.

                      But almost nobody who hoists the black flag in public could tell David Friedman apart from Proudhon in a police lineup, let alone explain the difference. Most public “anarchists” are just thugs who heard the phrase, “bomb throwing anarchist”, and thought it would be fun to throw bombs. When they’re not communists who know better than to admit it.

                      And those sort absolutely go around committing felonies.

                    4. hoists the black flag in public: also not a crime.

                  2. Do you have evidence that “Snopes is Soros”? Or are you not the evidence type of guy?

                    1. That’s part of the ridiculous narrative I was talking about, and Soros wouldn’t be funding it, I was just being a wiseass.

              1. Why would the author use typewriter font on parchment from the 1890’s? It should have been written on golden plates. Also, skimming through, there is nothing of substantive value. How exactly would Antifa operationalize such a fantasy? There’s no magical formula, except in movies and books.

              1. Is $15 an hour a living wage for the Beverly Hills chapter?

              2. jdgalt, and Candice Owens, don’t know what a joke is.

      2. To make it look as though (1) a spontaneous black revolutionary movement exists and (2) Trump is responsible for both losses to its victims and to its perpetrators.

        1. Not sure I follow how this is bad for Trump.

          As soon as the looting started the president proclaimed “THIS IS MAGA!”, as if he had just been thrown a political lifeline. It is generally agreed civil unrest will inure to the benefit of the conservative candidate. Before the unrest, Trump was suffering because of the lack of a federal covid response. Now he has a relevant issue on which to campaign.

          It might make sense if Soros was pro-Trump. But he’s not, so your reasoning is ass-backwards.

          1. They are no more able to understand this than the rioters in 1968 realized they were electing Nixon.

            1. Again: Trump is the incumbent. Nixon wasn’t. Trump can’t use the argument that we need to elect him to prevent these things from happening, the way Nixon could.

              1. He certainly can use the argument that we need to give him a real majority (not counting RINOs) in both houses of Congress, or that we need to replace all the Democratic governors and mayors who are responsible for the ineffective responses with Republican ones.

                  1. Teenage girls are not conspiring against the United States.

                  2. 1) You are quoting from the blog of the person universally acknowledged to be the stupidest man alive, Jim Hoft.
                    2) Nothing in that link says that MN’s governor is helping anyone.
                    3) When someone tweets something, it’s not “catching” them to read it.
                    4) Protesters are not “the bad guys.” People violently attacking other people’s persons and property, whether wearing badges or not, are the bad guys.

                    Other than that, your comment was helpful.

    2. Can you explain the theory of a higher degree of murder that you think should have been pursued in this case, and some of the evidence that you believe would support it?

      1. I blame lawyers here for not insisting that our schools teach the US Constitution.

        I have no doubt that the mob wants to see him drawn & quartered, not withstanding both the 8th Amendment and that little part about trial first, punishment second.

        1. Yeah. Right. You’re outraged by injustice.

          What a joke you are.

    3. The looting is neither spontaneous nor a genuine grassroots movement. Soros is paying and busing Antifa terrorists from one city to the next on a daily basis to start these crimes going in each place (after which opportunists swarm in). Why aren’t his organizations getting investigated, raided, shut down, and prosecuted?

      Because this is an unhinged conspiracy fraud with no basis in reality.

      I expect black support for Trump to increase.

      More evidence you don’t live in the same world as everyone else.

      1. Ummm regexp — when pallets of bricks appear in key venues to be thrown — when there’s no construction nearby nor any other reason for the bricks to be there — what do you say?

        1. That you are making this up.

            1. And Target was looted because someone put a bullseye on the store.

              1. I think it was more what was IN the store…

                1. You enter the store from the outside……. ….Dr. Ed……. If that….. is ……..yo..ur rea….l na……m………e….

            2. Actually I saw it on Whatfinger — Black neighborhood kid saying WTF.

              1. The Steve Crowder/Elijah Schaeffer Dallas video?

                Stop taking melodramatic Freeper trash as anything to be taken seriously.

                “This was a war zone, folks. the Swat Teams were out of control. The police were out of control. I’m not going to call it ‘peaceful protests.’ it is a Communist Insurgency.’ there were guys with pallets of bricks, directing people – go down there, smash the bank, when you get in ….’ He said there was a guy protecting his shop with a machete – they stoned him ‘to a pulp.’

            3. I’m telling you.

        2. If there’s no evidence, you might as well make up something more imaginative, like the cop cars were set on fire by lasers from space aliens.

    4. Does that removal of immunity include the war criminals in the US military?

      1. There are none, and they wouldn’t have immunity if they did exist.

        1. You’re seriously claiming that the US military has never committed war crimes? Utterly laughable.

      2. If you’re going to make that accusation, you should name names. Otherwise, your accusing the entire US military force of being war criminals, and they probably don’t like that.

        1. Military is subject to the UCMJ — cops aren’t.

          1. Yes, I remember that. Our President is truly a vile man.

    5. Soros is paying and busing Antifa terrorists from one city to the next on a daily basis to start these crimes going in each place (after which opportunists swarm in). Why aren’t his organizations getting investigated, raided, shut down, and prosecuted?


      Maybe his organizations aren’t being investigated, etc., because there is not a scintilla of evidence that your ravings are accurate.

    6. * The looting is neither spontaneous nor a genuine grassroots movement. Soros is paying and busing Antifa terrorists from one city to the next on a daily basis to start these crimes going in each place (after which opportunists swarm in). Why aren’t his organizations getting investigated, raided, shut down, and prosecuted?

      Because your Tucker Carlson induced fantasies aren’t actual things?

  5. Holding police accountable is a first step qualified immunity must go. There will still be cases where many people feel an injustice was done you need only look a the Ferguson case. But if there were some reasonable chance that people affected could be compensated and the bad actors held accountable it could help a lot.

    Demilitarization of police would also help. Police today all too often look and act like commandos rather that peace officers.

    1. Qualified immunity does serve a purpose when applied sparingly. It just needs to be reined in from its current monstrous proportions.

      1. Admittedly, the chief problem with qualified immunity is that, in practice, it isn’t qualified.

        In addition to the fact the Supreme court pulled it out of their collective ass, of course.

        To the extent any such concept makes sense, it should be advocated by defense attorneys in front of juries.

    2. Don’t forget community policing. Police officers should live in the community that they police. A white officer is simply incapable of understanding how a black community feels and acts. Police districts should be segregated to allow for unique community policing policies.

  6. “This idea that blacks are particularly persecuted by police because of their race is at best a distraction.” and this is because… avoiding chaos is more important than justice?

    1. above @AmosArch

      1. Just 3-4 days ago you guys were saying avoiding covid was the most important thing in the universe and you were furious at protestors and now its all peachy for thousands of people to pack together like sardines to blow off steam by burning down cities even though the officer has already been arrested? And everybody’s forgotten about covid?

        Its like nobody ever gave a shit in the first place.

        1. Ever since the ventilator/mask supply was replenished, I have been advocating for reopening, and faulting the government for being too paternalistic and oppressive.

          Also, I am not “you guys”

          1. bully you. Theres barely been a peep about this from media that jumped down the throats of earlier protestors. This collective insanity is the real story.

            1. I’m sure there is a very nice and kind person behind that partisan polemic. Also, sorry for speaking only for myself, I should have been speaking for everyone else?

        2. I can think the timing is unfortunate, but think the protests are getting at a pretty important issue.

          1. So you admit this lockdown is bullshit. If its okay to pack together like sardines to protest and burn down buildings when the authorities are already doing everything they concretely and immediately can to process the alleged offenders. Then other no less important things like worship and people saving their businesses should be back on the table too. The hick flagwavers were right and the blue state governors and msm were wrong. Thanks for clearing that up.

            1. So you admit this lockdown is bullshit.

              No, but I admit your posts are.

            2. Not what I said, Amos.

        3. or the whole Wuhan Kabuki Theater was BS anyway…

        4. ust 3-4 days ago you guys were saying avoiding covid was the most important thing in the universe and you were furious at protestors and now its all peachy for thousands of people to pack together like sardines to blow off steam by burning down cities even though the officer has already been arrested? And everybody’s forgotten about covid?

          Its like nobody ever gave a shit in the first place.

          It’s like you have nothing meaningful to contribute to the discussion. Could you save your stupid, false, and irrelevant Fox News talking points for stupid people who mistakenly think they’re clever?

          1. You can’t refute the massive hypocrisy of thousands of people not social distancing and governors and MSM not giving a sh&t so you resort to dismissal and namecalling now got it.

            1. Yes, you are right, the governors and MSM should be insisting that the protesters observe proper social distancing and all should wear masks. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to protest.

    2. This idea that blacks are particularly persecuted by police because of their race is the TRUTH! How many black men will be killed in America because of their skin color? #BlackLivesMatter

  7. I’d be interested to hear what Prof. Somin actually means by “ending the war on drugs”. (Since he doesn’t generally participate in the comments, I’d similarly welcome anyone who shares his opinion to offer their own perspective.) There are a lot of different policies that could plausibly fall under that label, and I’d be interested to see what is actually being proposed in some more concrete detail.

    1. Legalized methamphetamine vending machines in high schools would be a good start, in my opinion.

    2. By “ending the war on drugs” Prof. Somin actually means Orangemanbad. All his posts do now. In 4 or 5 years the TDS will abate and he may become slightly rational.

      1. He’s been in favor of ending the war on drugs for a lot longer than that.

        1. True, but since 2016 it means Orangemanbad. To Ilya. If ramping up the war on drugs meant Orangemanbad, he would want that, and be enthusiastic about automatic, irrevocable asset forfeitures.

          1. True, but since 2016 it means Orangemanbad

            So the position didn’t change, but Somin’s motives for having the position did?

            This is pretty dumb.

    3. Noscitur a sociis…You ask a fair question; I shall answer. I think all illicit drugs should be decriminalized, and made available on a behind the counter basis in a licensed dispensary. Show ID, sign for it, and be on your way. If you want to smoke it, snort it, eat it, inject it…I really do not care. That is your choice. Just don’t ask for a taxpayer funded detox and rehab.

      That said, selling the drugs to minors will get you a prison sentence. It is one thing for an autonomous adult to make decisions for themselves. If they want to off themselves with drugs, let them. It is quite another to allow aforementioned autonomous adults to sell drugs to kids. No way, no how.

      1. Just don’t ask for a taxpayer funded detox and rehab.

        This is the problem I have with libertarians on open borders and drug decriminalization. You’re not going to eliminate medical welfare (or in the case of open borders, social welfare). The left is openly agitating for increased welfare spending and the right accepts at least some level of welfare.

        Libertarians are far outside the overton window on welfare spending. The best they can accomplish is allying with the left on drug decriminalization or the right on slightly reducing welfare growth.

        1. I am no open borders Libertarian, that is for certain.

          Spare me the overton window hokey horse-puckeys.

    4. Why does it have to be a complete, detailed plan?

      I’d be in favor of going through the list of prohibitions and looking for candidate laws to repeal, and repealing some, and then seeing what happens. If it doesn’t cause a huge problem, do it again. Marijuana legalization hasn’t exactly caused the end of days.

      I’d also be in favor of ending various police tactics regarding drugs. No more swat raids on occupied residences. Sentences that give offenders chances to go straight. Non-criminal remedies for possession of small amounts. Stuff like that to start.

      Why can’t things be better step-by-step instead of some grand all-encompassing master plan?

  8. >For many years, I have repeatedly argued that color-blindness advocates on the right must not turn a blind eye to racial profiling in law enforcement.

    There is no statistical evidence for this in police killings or police brutality. For example, here is excerpt from a NYPD report on such things:

    >Although 25% of the City’s population is Black, among all criminal shooting suspects identified by race Citywide in 2012, 77% were Black, and 74% of shooting victims were Black. Blacks were similarly represented as subjects in ID-AC incidents in 2012; 34 (74%) were Black. Among subjects who were armed with firearms during ID-AC incidents, 75% were Black, and among subjects who fired at officers, 79% were Black.

    Its not possible to solve black over-representation in police incidents if they are represented at 3x rates in violent crime.

    1. Those statistics are racially biased and therefore invalid.

      1. Rabbi — HOW do you over-represent the number of people with bullet holes in them?

    2. It’s one thing for police to operate on the assumption that a significant minority of criminals might be black. This is logical because on the whole black people are poor, and poverty increases crime.

      It’s entirely another thing for police to operate on the assumption that a significant minority of black people as a whole must therefore be criminals.

      It’s the latter that people mean by the term “racial profiling.” The police treat black people they encounter by default to be criminals.

      1. There is no statistical evidence to back that assertion.

        1. Allutz, a search for ‘statistical evidence of racial profiling’ turns up quite a few papers…

          1. Good, show some. Because I have seen lots of studies that show that blacks commit violent crime and particularly murder at a much higher % than they are caught up in police brutality/shooting incidents. This means they are relatively underpoliced (although the whole of the US is overpoliced).

            For an example of my very real, not imaginary stats google, “New York City Police Department Annual Firearms Discharge Report”

              1. That first one I already know has been debunked. When people tried to prove racial profiling in New Jersey, the research just showed that Blacks sped way more often. See, E.G.


                This is a consistent problem with alleged bias claims, they fail to adjust for criminality.

            1. Another overview. Discusses why studies are hard in this area (police don’t like to keep numbers):

            2. That was just my first page of Google results.


              1. After reviewing your first three they all suffer from the same failure of not taking into account criminality.

                1. You think cops can smell criminality when they do traffic stops?

                  1. No, they use a radar gun and it tells them you are speeding. As I said, when studies tried to back up the bias claims they found out that blacks were speeding more often.

      2. Poverty increases crime? Bullshit. Criminal behavior and a criminal mentality virtually guarantees that you’ll stay poor.

        1. Hilarious!

  9. There are certainly reasonable arguments against qualified immunity, but the suggestion that it has a significant effect on perpetuating police misconduct strikes me as a little fanciful. Even if increasing potential liability significantly raised the payouts to potential claimants, that’s still going to be a pretty small portion of the budget of a department of any size—and in the presence of strong procedural protections for employees, the cost of taking the officer off the job is going to wipe out any savings in all but the most egregious cases.

    1. Perhaps it just contributes to the law enforcement bad actors’ belief that there will be no repercussions for their actions. More successful prosecutions would rein in some of these monsters more than increased financial liability for the police departments.

  10. “All immunity needs to go away, for anyone, in all its forms.”

    I agree, in part. Nobody should be immune to prosecution because of misconduct. But people who make decisions, can’t be held accountable for making wrong decisions sometimes.

    Trump is a bully. Bullying could be used productively in this case. Tell the police and the unions that they must get rid of all the bad apples immediately, and change the training, and change hiring, change tolerance for bad conduct immediately, that includes eliminating barriers to discipline such as arbitration and union rules. If they don’t comply, then threaten:
    1) Threaten to publicize the fact that all citizens have the same right as police. If they fear for their life, they can use deadly force as self defense. That includes fear of the police. Police do not have greater right to self defense than ordinary citizens.
    2) Threaten to seek federal legislation to forbid police (including feds) from carrying weapons on ordinary duty. Weapons should be reserved for SWAT teams. Can the bad guys carry? I guess the ban on carrying needs to extend to everyone, including 2nd amendment fans. They do it in England.

    1. Part of the problem is that too many departments have SWAT teams, and as a result, they get used when obviously not needed. Even in a large state like California, there are fewer than 20 incidents per year that justify armed commandos forcing their way into a building.

  11. If you want things to get better, you need to persuade people to give up on a couple of ideas:

    1. It doesn’t matter when bad things happen to people who are not like me.. Or, when it matters, it can be discounted because [something else] matters more.

    This seems to be a majority view. We see what appears to be precisely this attitude from Ilya on immigration. The negative effects are discounted because [reasons], and because someone has a spreadsheet model that says the net effects are positive.

    What if someone made a spreadsheet model to say the net effects of police mistreatment of black folks was positive? Would that make it ok? No.

    Beyond the issues immigration and policing, we see this attitude toward religious people, anyone in energy industries, anyone who doesn’t conform to cultural fads, opposite partisans, racial groups, etc, etc, in all directions.

    Those people are not like me so their concerns don’t matter. You want real progress, solve this attitude. Or at least improve it.

    2. Making up stories. About the future, about what might happen, about white supremacist bogeyman rioters, about some apocalyptic environmental doomsday, about how disease might or might not spread, about Russian collusion, about voter fraud, about locking Hillary up, about police work being more dangerous than it is, about racial minority bogeymen, about reefer madness, etc. Exaggerating and dramatizing not-entirely-false stories also counts.

    Stop making up stories to justify bad behavior. You’ll start seeing less bad behavior. And you’ll see fewer enablers and apologists for bad behavior.

    I don’t think you’ll see a lot of progress on anything as long as the victims don’t matter because they’re not like me and as long as the bogeyman is really responsible or we have to do it this way because otherwise the bogeyman will get us..

    1. Valid points swallowed by a sea of question begging.

        1. I don’t want to litigate every example, but among your catalog of bad things that happen to people who are not like me, several aren’t necessarily so. Same for the allegedly made up stories.

          1. So disregard the basic idea then?

            Part of the basic idea is that people matter even when you disagree. Even when they are simply wrong. If they think bad things happened to them, your disagreement doesn’t undo it or make it go away. We see the end result of that attitude in the streets these days.

            I also don’t think you’ll find an example of one of those stories that was never exaggerated or dramatized — where it was always only simple facts. But it’s cool if you can. Justifying bad behavior with but then this other dramatic prediction will surely come to pass is still common and bad behavior is still bad.

            1. People don’t cease to matter when they disagree with me. But when people commit violent crimes, their lives absolutely do cease to matter.

              1. If you want to find a reason to declare that people don’t matter, you will. There will always be something.

                What if you wanted things to be better though?

    2. This seems to be a majority view. We see what appears to be precisely this attitude from Ilya on immigration. The negative effects are discounted because [reasons], and because someone has a spreadsheet model that says the net effects are positive.

      What if someone made a spreadsheet model to say the net effects of police mistreatment of black folks was positive? Would that make it ok? No.

      That’s because you’re entitled not to be assaulted or killed by the government without cause. You’re not entitled to be hired to mow lawns or pick grapes or wash dishes. See, one person is actually a victim, and the other one isn’t.

      1. Life isn’t about precise legal definitions.

        People have this idea that the government of their own country shouldn’t set policy to favor the citizens of other countries over them. That the government of their own country shouldn’t intentionally curtail their opportunity to make a living. They think their lives matter. They don’t see why their own society turns its back on them.

        You should tell them about your legalisms and see if they decide that makes it all ok. Go ahead and tell them you disagree and that therefore they don’t matter and their problems don’t matter. If you want to.

        Or understand the basic idea that people matter even when you disagree with them. Even when they’re wrong. You could take their side because they’re your fellow countrymen, even if they’re not legally entitled to the job — they’d like an opportunity to work. Why is that too much to ask?

        1. Life isn’t about precise legal definitions.

          I wasn’t talking about legal definitions. I was talking about moral ones.

          And of course nothing about U.S. immigration policy curtails anyone’s opportunity to make a living.

          1. Clarification: I meant that nothing about U.S. immigration policy curtails any American’s opportunity to make a living. It obviously does severely curtail immigrants’ opportunity to make a living.

          2. When the jobs are filled by foreign nationals, the immigration policy curtails Americans’ opportunities to make a living.

            I guess we should assume you don’t care because those Americans are not like you. That makes more sense than you not understanding that already-filled jobs aren’t jobs that might hire an American.

            1. Most economists do not believe there is much threat to employment or wages from immigration.

              And by most I mean just about all but one – Borjas.

              1. Their spreadsheet models don’t include the effects of diminished earnings power and diminished opportunity over time. The overall macro numbers are positive despite the impact on a few.

                And there may not be “much threat”. Maybe only a few percentage points that specifically hurt certain groups of Americans. Just like police mistreatment of black folks is only a big problem for a few percent of Americans.

                1. Well put!
                  But your second paragraph is only looking at one side of the ledger – the consensus is that there’s quite a big net value add from immigration.

                  That would indicate that good policy is to mitigate the impacts on burdened populations, not to curtail immigration.

                  1. Advocate for the optimal fixes, what actually gets fixed? Nothing.

                    How do you mitigate the impacts? Better education? Education is controlled by the unions. They could make it better already if they wanted to. Or they couldn’t and nothing can make it better. You choose. Either way, it doesn’t get better.

                    Giveaways? They cause horrendous long term problems.

                    Specific incentives to hire Americans left behind? If you’re not “diverse”, you have zero hope of ever getting a leg up from something like this. You’ll win the lottery twice over before you get any help. And if you are “diverse”, so is the other guy competing for the help. And he grew up with a few more advantages so his resume is better. Help ends up going to those who don’t need it as badly.

                    How does anything get better? If there’s an answer that works, let’s hear it.

                    Causing an artificial labor shortage so employers have no choice but to hire the last few marginal guys available works. Those guys get jobs and shape up, start developing better habits. They get experience and learn a skill. After a little while, they’re no longer the last marginal worker. Someone else is.

                    1. Your cynicism about government is oddly absent when it comes to immigration policy.

                      Throwing up your hands and saying we tried everything except nativism is pretty crap.

                      And besides, mitigation works. Retraining has worked well, so has jobs programs. Tax breaks work well for redevelopment, as Pittsburgh switch from steel to computers. Better public transportation to allow mobility and thus more labor fluidity. This is something that even the GOP knows, they just don’t like it.

                      We already have working programs, we just don’t believe in them enough to fund them, much less focus them like we could.

                    2. A few local success stories help a few people in a few places. Not the rest.

                      Creating an artificial labor shortage to help out marginal American workers is hardly “nativism”. And wanting to actually help out marginal workers instead of making vain proclamations and setting up programs that mostly don’t work isn’t “cynicism”.

            2. Repeat after me: Lump. Of. Labor. Fallacy.

              There aren’t a fixed number of jobs.

              1. This is a good example of referring to your point without stating it. Except it was never stated, so the reference doesn’t lead anywhere.

                Like that one funny thing in that movie that never came out and no one ever saw. Remember how funny that was?

                1. I don’t know what you mean, but if you don’t understand the lump of labor fallacy, it is the assumption that there are a fixed number of jobs available, and that therefore adding a worker to the work force, possibly via immigration, necessarily puts someone else out of a job.

                  Not true. The newly arrived immigrant adds to aggregate demand. He buys food, pays rent, etc., which activities help create employment for others.

                  1. Is there a labor shortage or surplus in this scenario? Because the hard-to-employ American needs to have an opportunity to work. That requires more than happenstance. A labor shortage helps him. A surplus of foreign nationals filling the jobs hurts him. The “lump of labor fallacy” is neither here nor there.

  12. Why would you use the word “brutal?” There was nothing particularly violent or savage about the cop’s actions. The “knee on the neck” is a standard police training to control someone, and can be seen in many police videos. Are those videos “brutal,” or is this particular exercise only “brutal” because it resulted in death?

    Mr. Floyd’s death is regrettable, and the officer may have acted inappropriately, but (death aside) the video is not particularly hard to watch. There are plenty of other videos of real police brutality that really are difficult to watch.

    1. The death is a result of the time the knee was on the neck. If you want to argue a couple of seconds isn’t necessarily brutal when necessary to restrain a suspect who is resisting arrest, OK, I can see that point. But minutes while the suspect is already in custody, when he is saying “I can’t breathe”? That’s brutal. Don’t make excuses for a murderer.

      1. If you watched the whole video and didn’t find it brutal, I fear something in you is broken.

      2. The death is a result of the time the knee was on the neck.

        The medical examiner found that Mr. Floyd didn’t die from asphyxiation or strangulation, and said that the cause of death was likely caused by preexisting cardiac conditions combined with the stress of the encounter.

        In short, he didn’t die because of the officer’s knee on his neck.

        Facts are friends.

        1. combined with the stress of the encounter.

          In short, he died because of the officer’s knee on his neck.

        2. Bummer, right? It was just a totally unlucky coincidence that Chauvin had his knee of Floyd’s neck during the precise 8-minute interval when the heart disease was killing him. The fact is that the ME is a political appointee and he wants to stay appointed. He’s on the same side of the blue line as the police, judges, and prosecutors. His job is to lay the groundwork for Chauvin’s acquittal, and he came through.

    2. Keeping your knee on the neck of a compliant, unresisiting citizen for 8:46 until he’s dead isn’t “real” police brutality to you?

      Maybe if it was your family member you wouldn’t be such a callous piece of shit.

  13. Rioting and other violent racial protests in the 1960s not only failed to curb police abuses, but actually boosted support for “tough on crime” politicians who advocated giving cops more of a free hand.

    This is true, and I generally share Prof. Somin’s position that rioting is both counterproductive and hurts a bunch of innocent people.

    I will say, however, that there is a counter-example. The 1992 LA Civil Unrest hurt a lot of innocent people, but also turned out to be a big catalyst for reform. So the record isn’t 100 percent consistent here.

    1. What reforms resulted? I haven’t heard of any.

      1. Community based policing, removal of civil service protection for the chief, identification of bad actors on the force, many of whom were required to take mandatory retirement / furlough, neighborhood councils, etc.

        A whole bunch of stuff that made LAPD a better department.

        It’s still cold comfort for communities that lost everything in the unrest. I am not denying that. But it did get the city’s leaders attention in the way previous protests had not.

        1. The incident where a car backfired and LAPD shot it 150 times was much more recent. So I don’t buy that the reform did anything.

      2. And there was the first Republican elected mayor of Los Angeles in more than 35 years (Richard Riordan). Riots benefit law and order politicians.

  14. With due respect to Mr. Somin, the answer is not to modify the judge-created category of qualified immunity so as to allow more lawsuits under the judge-created doctrine that you can sue a cop for beating you up as though it were an abridgement of your constitutional rights.

    The actual solution to this problem is to modify the state tort claims act to allow suits for assault and wrongful death against police officers, with some limitations. This entire problem only exists because you can’t sue a cop for assaulting you the way you can sue anyone else.

    Taking an assault to be a federal constitutional violation under a statute that was supposed to be to remedy racial discrimination is an absurdity that unfortunately seems to be the way judges have figured out to provide some kind of redress despite the tort claims acts.

    1. The problem with state remedies is there are some states where a black man would have a very hard time winning a lawsuit against a white cop.

      1. Is there any evidence to support this claim in the last 10 years?

        1. Monroe v. Pape is a lot older than 10 years old.

          1. Indeed it is. 1961. Quite a while ago. One might expect some things to change in the last 50+ years

            Hence the question, is there any evidence in the last 10 years to support your contention that “There are some states where a black man would have a very hard time winning a lawsuit against a white cop.”?

            1. Um, are you serious? Have you spent time in the deep south?

              1. I’m serious. I have spent time in the South. I asked for examples and evidence. If you’re going to make statements like this, it’s good to be able to back them up.

      2. To the extent that’s true, wouldn’t federal suits in the same state face similar obstacles?

    2. Unjustified assaults by police are very much an abridgement of the federal constitutional right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. And if an officer (or judge, or prosecutor) is not answerable for his oath, he might as well be working for the Devil.

    3. No, more paydays for lawyers isn’t the answer. Sorry. Everything in the world isn’t about lawyers finding a way to get paid.

    4. The lawsuits over rights violations are not based on judge-created doctrine. They are based on a federal statute passed by congress that explicitly created a private right of action.

      The Supreme Court created QI in an effort to largely neuter that statute.

  15. Pretty weird how in this case Derek and George were co-workers. And George was apparently a porn actor.

    1. I think George got Derek fired from the bouncer job.

  16. The answers are QI reform and outlawing public sector unions.

    But if the institutions that have to do those things have shirked their responsibilities for fifty years now, rioting becomes understandable.

    Never right, never the answer, but completely understandable.

    1. “Institutions … have shirked their responsibilities for fifty years now”

      Sounds like the same sentiment expressed by Trump voters.

    2. Those institutions didn’t invent themselves. People elected politicians who promised that shit. Now they’re getting what they asked for and they don’t like it.

  17. Shorter Ilya Somin : yada yada yada … and Orangemanbad.
    Serious case of living as a caricature.

    Trumps says “… will always stand against violence, mayhem, and disorder. We will stand with the family of George Floyd, with the peaceful protestors, and with every law-abiding citizen who wants decency, civility, safety, and security.”

    Somin sees this a call to “support cruel law enforcement tactics”

    1. Perhaps you missed the part during the 2016 campaign where Trump argued in favor of police brutality.

      1. Oh dear, I guess I did miss that. Maybe I’d vote for him next time if he argued about extending prison sentences; especially if he supported the death penalty for online hate speech and cisgender aggression.

  18. Or we could take some real societal level measures to reduce the overall need for police. Like deporting all the illegal immigrants. That would be a good place to start.

    1. Are the criminals with badges leftists too?

      1. God knows how this ended up here, but it sure doesn’t belong here.

      2. Many of them are. Certainly in Berkeley and Portland they are, which is why they have policies not to go after Antifa terrorists.

    2. “Or we could take some real societal level measures to reduce the overall need for police.”

      Like a serious pruning of the criminal code. Fewer laws = less need for police.

      1. That works too. And despite the hand wringing and gnashing to teeth going on about my comment, no one challenged the accuracy. Deport criminal illegals = lower crime = less need for cops. Pretty easy.

        But virtue signaling liberals would rather not deal with the real issues and instead engage in their virtue signaling.

        1. Nobody challenged your racist comment because they were too stunned that someone would be so brazen as to make it, and you thought this meant that they were endorsing your comment?

          1. What is “racist” about suggesting we deport illegal immigrants? Did I even mention a particular race of illegal? (No).

            Do the math. Makes sense. Less criminal illegals = lower crime = less need for police. Pretty simple.

            1. That’s not simple. It’s simplistic.

              Why not deport all immigrants, illegal or not. Crime would drop even more. For that matter, deport all men. Crime disappears overnight. Do the math!

            2. As Alex Nowrasteh has pointed out repeatedly, illegal aliens are less likely to be criminals than others. (Other than, obviously, the crime of entering here illegally, but that’s circular.)

  19. Please stop engaging “RabbiHarveyWeinstein.” He’s a troll. He admits he’s a troll. He admits he trolls for the fun of watching people respond. I have no idea what, if anything, he really believes, as he seems to take both sides of some issues. He has successfully derailed at least one thread that I’ve seen. You can bet he’ll derail more if you keep taking him seriously.

    1. Most here consider it to be a parody account. Once you realize that, simply ignore those posts or enjoy the humor.

      The fact that the parody posts are sometimes mistaken for actual posts is, to my mind, a sad indicator of the quality of some of the content of certain progressivist posters here.

      1. The difference is whether one intends to be taken literally (troll) or that his irony be recognized as such (parody)? I think he’s stated his intention is to troll. Regardless, my objection is that so many do take him seriously and respond accordingly. If everyone was treating him as an obvious parody nothing would get derailed, and I wouldn’t care if he was trying to troll.

  20. Well, based on the comments here plenty of people are quite willing to take the side of the police in these racial incidents.

    From victim blaming, to faulty statistics, to attacking illegals, to trying to use COVID-19 to devalue the issue here.

    Good show.

  21. “The problem is not that police officers are unusually bad people.”

    The problem is that police officers are criminals with badges who are employed by local and state governments and protected from criminal prosecution by these same governments and their judges.

    You will never find a solution coming from these leftist/libertarians here at the Volokh Conspiracy.

    The partial solution is to eliminate government-employed police.

    Return to private police, restore the centuries-old right to use force, including deadly force, to resist an unlawful arrest, restore the right of victims to criminally prosecute. Start by restoring their right to prosecute police, prosecutors, and judges, and restore the warrant requirement for arrests and searches.

    Another part of the solution is to encourage the leftists to leave the Western hemisphere.

    Website – https://CaliforniaOpenCarry.com

    1. Are the criminals with badges leftists too?

      1. Individually? Some are, some aren’t. Their unions as organizations tend to be.

      2. Leo Marvin – If you are dumb enough to ask that question then you are too dumb to understand the answer.

        1. Why don’t you try me, Einstein?

      3. Are the cities they work for governed by Republicans?

        1. Are you under the impression that cities with Democratic (Republican) mayors only hire cops who vote Democrat (Republican)? When a city votes out a Democratic (Republican) mayor and replaces him with a Republican (Democrat), do they fire all the cops and replace them with cops of the correct party?

          1. What Republican mayors?

            Partisanship has a lot to do with the issue, but which party doesn’t matter. Uncompetitive elections and one party rule keep the politicians from being effective change agents.

  22. The flip side is this — and he should have downshifted and KEPT GOING….

    Self Defense.

  23. I will just say that is the Left things they have some form of “revolution” on their hands, then they better think really really hard about that before making the wish…

  24. Will any Volokh Conspirator ever mention the need to diminish racism in our society and to confront, disempower, and shun our vestigial racists?

    If so, that would constitute substantial progress.

    If not, why not?

    1. That’s pretty fresh coming from the guy that foments hates against Christians…

    2. I eagerly await you leading by example and recanting all of your racist anti-white missives. Of course, I’m not _actually_ going to wait…that would be fruitless…

  25. But even people with legitimate grievances must still observe moral limits on tactics they use to pursue them. Ignoring this principle is a recipe for disaster.

    But much more a recipe for disasters to discomfit the wealthy and powerful, than for the people who riot. Almost always, and not just in America today, but throughout history, it is desperate people who riot. The desperate are almost beyond discomfiture. For them, even worse privation may seem welcome, because that at least comes as change, which may in some unexpected way presently deliver relief from unendurable stasis. Desperate people need change more than they need anything else.

    1. These rioters aren’t desperate. They’re paid.

        1. He posted above: he delusional thinks George Soros — or more likely, (((George Soros))) — is somehow secretly and magically paying people to protest.

          1. *delusionally.

            Once again: darn no editing window.

            1. First, I was asking @jdgalt1 for a serious answer. Second, it’s a valid concern if Republicans are critical of liberal money influencing politics. In fact, many on the left vilify the Koch brothers for funding vast networks of political organizations (one of which is the Reason foundation). However, the cloak and dagger nature of these activities is way overblown. The biggest lever of money in politics will always be TV and digital advertising.

              1. You missed the point. Their complaint isn’t that Soros is “influencing politics.” Their complaint is that Soros is heading a giant conspiracy to ¿overthrow the government?, by paying people to riot in the streets, going so far as to bus these rioters in and (in a new twist) truck in bricks to major cities in advance so that rioters could have them available for use.

                1. David, your criticisms of Trump haven’t gone unnoticed, and your membership in the “tribe” cuts through a lot of otherwise messy red tape. Nonetheless, unfortunately, pandemic and protest have delayed an already snail-speed bureaucracy. So keep your powder dry. Assuming we have the correct routing information, direct deposits should start appearing in your account in, as Trump would say, “the very near future.”

  26. The writer of this piece clearly has never served in law enforcement or worked with law enforcement officers routinely, in a legal capacity. When police use force their first thought is protecting themselves, their partners, and third parties. Next comes concerns over getting suspended or losing their jobs for using excessive force. Then comes going to jail or getting criminally charged. Last is will I get sued, and will my department back me. Most officers don’t even know what Qualified Immunity is, or think about it. Eliminating the doctrine will result in a multitude of baseless lawsuits that clog the courts. The author has no issue with the awful doctrine of Absolute Immunity, where judges can’t be sued for harmful and unjustified decisions made from the bench, witnesses can’t be civilly sued for harmful testimony, and prosecutors can’t be sued by individuals wronged by the egegious way some of them prosecute cases. The Supreme Court consistently reverses the 9th Circuit for not applying the doctrine properly. The threat of losing their jobs or being criminally prosecuted is much more effective in keeping law enforcement officers in line. Removing the doctrine of Qualified Immunity would simply be a boon to the plaintiff’s bar and allow lawyers to make more $$$ by filing lawsuits everytime an officer uses force of any kind to make an arrest.

    1. Nonsense. The cops might not specifically know what QI is, but they do know that they basically can’t be held accountable for anything they do, and they govern their actions on this belief.

      I don’t need to know the science of what makes a stove hot to know putting my hand on it is a bad idea.

    2. The police know that short of being caught diddling children there’s very little they can do that can’t be excused and overlooked by their Brothers in Blue™, and that includes prosecutors. They know that cop-suckers and people unwilling to second-guess retardation get seated on juries, if their case even goes to trial. They know that the vast majority of the time they’ll get a paid vacation while their friends investigate them and decide that everything happened according to policy, and then it will be business as usual.

  27. I have never seen such an example of the media double standard with these riots as has been readily demonstrated the last few days.

    Just a few weeks ago we saw lockdown protests. The media vilified those individuals, questioned their motives, lampooned them on national media, advocated them losing health insurance and their jobs, etc. etc.

    Now you have actual violence and looting and what does the media do? Stokes the flames. No mention of how these criminals could be spreading Covid, no national action to try to unmask looters, nothing.

    It is pretty disgusting.

    1. I think I see your issue. You think all protests are the same. Or rather, you think that for the purpose of your current outrage.

      Breaking lockdown to protest the lockdown (with signs about wanting haircuts) is not the same as breaking the lockdown to protest police killing innocent people.

      Also, seeing lots of media coming out against property damage.

      1. Yes, it’s all about wanting haircuts. You’re an ignorant fool.

        1. No, of course not. It’s also about wanting to to to the gym.

      2. Yes, the video of the looter screaming “time to get my reparations” makes his action clearly more virtuous then out of work people who want the opportunity to open up their businesses.

        This is one of the dumbest and most bigoted classist comments I think I have ever read on these forums.

        1. You are not good at using the rhetoric of the left to try and attack me. Your trying to ding me for privileged right after you mocked a black guy for being angry…not a pro play.

          1. First why do you assume the guy screaming above was black? Sort of racist, eh?

            Also thank you for further highlighting your ignorance.

            1. To think that talking about ‘my reparations’ makes it more likely you’re black?

              That’s not racist, any more than making assumptions about the race of those crying about white oppression.

              1. You have no idea how the person in that video self identifies. By assuming you reveal your problematic privilege.

                1. Self-identify? LOL.

                  You’re not very good at this, because you have no idea what the left actually thinks.

                  You make cartoonish arguments because you have a cartoonish view of what your opposition is like.

                  1. Here is what you think.

                    Current Riots. “Yeah, go get them oppressed people. That is your years of pent up rage. Let it out. This is all understandable.”

                    Lockdown Protests. “Stupid red necks don’t know that the government is doing this for their own good. Sit down and shut up. Also here is some investigative journalism about the umbrella groups that organized these protests.”

                    Please oh please tell me what I got wrong…

                    1. Totally got me. You truly have your thumb on the pulse of liberal thinking.

      3. “Breaking lockdown to protest the lockdown (with signs about wanting haircuts) is not the same as breaking the lockdown to protest police killing innocent people.” It’s exactly the same government initiation of force, same denial of due process, and the same refusal of courts to hold government accountable for that unconstitutionality. There’s no difference between protesting a violation of the Bill of Rights and protesting a violation of the Bill of Rights.

  28. How not to:

    Corrupt justice system with double standards and political imprisonment.

    America’s Political Prisoners


    1. Ron Keeva Unz (born September 20, 1961) is a former American businessman. He runs The Unz Review, a website that promotes anti-semitism, Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories, and white supremacist material.

      1. Did you copy and paste this from the Southern Poverty Libel Center?

        1. Wikipedia. There are sources.

          An article by Unz for The American Conservative published in 2012 was entitled “The Myth of American Meritocracy”. As well as suggesting that Jews are an “alien presence” in the United States, he wrote about the supposed over-representation of Jews at Ivy League institutions, which he claimed was caused by “Jewish bias” among administrators.

          In July 2018, in articles for The Unz Review, he wrote about the claims in the Czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew. Ford’s work, a series of anti-Semitic pamphlets published in the 1920s, appeared to Unz to be “quite plausible and factually-oriented, even sometimes overly cautious in their presentation.”

          In August 2018, Unz made use of Holocaust denial arguments and wrote, “I think it far more likely than not that the standard Holocaust narrative is at least substantially false, and quite possibly, almost entirely so.”

          There are plenty of places ML could have gotten people ranting about the Mueller investigation. Heckuva source to choose.

          This a site of choice for you as well?

          1. The article is not about the Mueller investigation.

            1. I mean, it uses them as a jumping off point and then defends a bunch of murderers.

              1. Do you even read what you’re responding to?

                1. ML, it’s full of lies about the facts, and defends a bunch of racially motivated assaults and murders. It’s some white supremacist propaganda is what it is.

                  It’s a really ugly thing to post. It was better when I thought it was just about Flynn and Manafort and Stone.

                  1. Except that there are no murders involved here, nor even a single death of any kind. Nor any serious injury.

                    In fact, the majority don’t involve any kind of assault or victim whatsoever, but charges such as a “conspiracy to riot” of dubious constitutionality.

                    So, you’ll understand when anyone reading your posts correctly notices that you have absolutely zero clue what you are talking about, and that you nonetheless reflexively post knee-jerk responses that you just made up out of nowhere.

      2. Interesting. It appears that, like these political prisoners, some of the people at this website may have views that I and many others find abhorrent. That gets to the precise point here, which is that people shouldn’t be imprisoned for having abhorrent views.

        1. ML, the people in that off-topic article you posted were imprisoned for committing crimes. Based on laws, and put forwards in a court.

          Go sell your tin-foil elsewhere.

          1. Yes, I remember the events and the videos documenting them well. Political prisoners seems apt to me.

            1. Have you not posted on this issue enough that you ache to relitigate it on this thread?

              1. I don’t remember ever posting, or even knowing about how these cases ended up.

      3. Also looks like the site has seen positive press here at reason.com


  29. I saw an interesting proposal that all police be required to carry insurance. Officers that have an excessive number of complaints against them will be unable to gain coverage and so will no longer be able to serve. Thought it was an interesting market-based proposal that fixes some of the incentive problems but no longer making it departments’ responsibility to police themselves.

    1. The unions will end up paying for the insurance, and spreading the pain around, or negotiate to have the city pay it.

    2. That type of answer appeals to people who want to think of themselves as clever. It won’t happen. Congratulations on being clever though — and I mean that sincerely. The situation just isn’t about that.

  30. Based on the cities where they seem to be most prevalent, the best way to curb police abuses might be to vote the Democrats out of municipal government.

    1. The best way would be to vote Democrats out of the Earth.

  31. Sorry, I don’t usually give a lot of time to white supremacist trash. But since you insist, lets really look at the people featured, shall we?

    Richard Preston, a self-identified Ku Klux Klan leader from Maryland, will serve four years in prison for firing a gun during the Unite the Right rally.

    In the second trial of the week for the brutal August 12 attack on DeAndre Harris, a jury deliberated 35 minutes before entering a second guilty verdict May 3 for an out-of-towner here for the Unite the Right rally.

    Daniel Patrick Borden, charged in the brutal Aug. 12, 2017, beating of DeAndre Harris was given an active sentence of three years and 10 months in prison by a Charlottesville judge Monday.

    Three members of the white supremacist group Rise Above Movement received prison sentences of more than two years each on Friday for crimes stemming from the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

    Benjamin Drake Daley, Thomas Gillen and Michael Paul Miselis were among four RAM members indicted in October on one count each of conspiracy to violate the federal riots act and one count each of traveling from California to Charlottesville with the intent to “incite a riot, organize, promote, encourage, participate in, and carry on in a riot, to commit an act of violence in furtherance of a riot, or aid or abet any person inciting and participating in or carrying on in a riot.”

    Alex Ramos was convicted of malicious wounding of DeAndre Harris back in May.
    On August 23, he was sentenced to six years in prison.
    During the trial, prosecutors said Ramos hit Harris in the back of the head while Harris was being attacked in the parking garage by a group of men. Prosecution also claimed Ramos made a Facebook post bragging about the attack.

    A member of the white nationalist group Patriot Front has pleaded guilty in Texas to federal charges of illegally possessing guns and ammunition.

    ML, what the hell is happening to you?

    1. Terrible. I mean, I would say the same thing about a communist or antifa anarchist or black supremacist or whatever. I just came across this link. But maybe you have a point. Maybe people should be locked up for political views, if those views are bad enough. I’m open to being convinced.

  32. One thing you can do to curb police abuses is to stop conceding their premise that they’re a besieged, occupying army and everybody else is the enemy. Stop referring to citizens as “civilians.” Cops are citizens, not the military. That makes normal people citizens. It’s bad enough that cops have developed the opposite mindset; don’t grant that idea legitimacy by using it.

  33. Apparently couldn’t miss the chance to throw in a slam at Trump in the process. It was jarring considering the otherwise fairly cogent post. I was gonna post it elsewhere until that. (And I’m not even a Trump voter.)

  34. So ending taxation-by-citation is right out the window now?

    Those city councils and state legislatures really are addicted to using the police as their muscle…then playing dumb when a tragedy happens.

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