What Democracy’s All About?

NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has been taking a lot of crap, deservedly so, for his comments after Eric Garner died while being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. In a news conference, with mayor Bill de Blasio standing at his side, Bratton came out full-authoritarian: According to Mayor de Blasio and Police […]

I’m Sure That Goes Both Ways

Here’s how I imagine my traffic stop going: Officer: License and proof of insurance. Me: Here you go. Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over? Me: Uh, no I don’t, officer. Officer: You were doing 75 in a school zone. Me: I’m sorry to hear you experienced that. I place the highest priority […]

An Unfortunate Message For Police

Radley Balko reports with some astonishment that a grand jury in Burleson County, Texas has refused to indict a man who shot and killed a police officer who was conducting a SWAT-style raid on his home: Last December 19th, nine of the 10 members of the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department staged a raid on the […]

Profitable Punishment – Tempe Style

Matt Brown is a little peeved at Tempe, Arizona’s crackdown on college drinking: The gist of the article is that people visiting Tempe last weekend were going to see a massive police presence as officers from nine agencies teamed up for the “Safe and Sober” campaign, something that as near as I can tell is […]

On Criticizing Cops Over Questionable Behavior (update)

I recently read a story about two cops who arrested a 74-year-old woman they claimed had attacked them — although video of the incident doesn’t match with their account. If I were writing about this incident, about all I could say is that it looks like the cops overreacted and then exaggerated to cover the […]

Chicago To Pay For Not Watching the Watchers

Five and a half years ago, when the beating of 24-year old bartender Karolina Obrycka by Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate first made the news, I argued that the beating itself wasn’t the real news story: …It is rumored that some cops offered Obrycka a bribe if she would back off, and then threatened to […]

A Death That Rings a Bell

So here’s a disturbing story about a death in police custody: The FBI said Thursday it will join the police investigation into the death of Chavis Carter, the 21-year-old man shot in the head while handcuffed in the back of a police car in Jonesboro, Ark. The investigation comes amid lingering questions over who pulled […]

Statistical Quality Control Meets the NYPD

I once heard a story — I’m not sure where, but it seemed reputable at the time – about a Ford automotive plant where one of the assembly line workers realized, after some time assembling cars, that he had been doing it wrong. He told his boss, and Ford had to pull hundreds of cars from […]