This a test and only a test.
Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after being caught engaging in a massive perversion of justice. A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction.
“There is no ‘War on Cops'”; There is a Long-Overdue Conversation About Police Brutality (Reason.com)
Tomorrow is the funeral service for Harris Country Sheriff Darren Goforth, who a week ago was murdered while filling his police cruiser with gas in Texas. His death was senseless, tragic, and horrific. There’s no possible excuse for it. But, as I write in a new Daily Beast column,
There’s also no excuse for attempts by law enforcement, media, and politicians to claim that the unmotivated killing is part of a “war on cops” or in any way related to the Black Lives Matter movement or other people critical of law enforcement and police brutality.
To do so is simply to wave away a decade-long decline in confidence in police that has everything to do with behavior by law enforcement, not the citizens they serve. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans with “a great deal/quite a lot of confidence” in police has dropped from 64 percent in 2004 to just 52 percent, its lowest number in 22 years.
(Originally posted on Facebook on July 27, 2015.)
In the last several months the men in our family, husband and first born, have been pulled over at least 6 times by the Canaan Police. The furor with which the Canaan Police are performing their “duty” is remarkable. Driving through Canaan is now referred to as “running the gauntlet”. Our frustration is at an all time high and we’re now going to pursue whatever methods we can to see if the town, its citizens, or (gasp) the police department itself will try to ameliorate the issue.
My first born was pulled over at least 4 times. Then 20, now 21, in no case did those stops result in a citation or arrest. One time he was pulled over, according to the officer, because someone followed him from Lebanon and said he was driving recklessly. We’re going to ask for proof of that report. The officer followed him for quite some time before pulling him over on that occasion. (That’s called “pacing” I’m told.) But, the only reason he gave for pulling my son over was some vague report by another person. He himself did not say First-born was driving recklessly.
More recently First-born was pulled over for a burned-out headlamp. In the course of that, an interrogation began and included asking first-born to get out of his car, to breathe on the officer’s hand; being asked if he had been doing drugs or alcohol; asked if he had firearms or other weapons.
When First-born politely asked if he was required by law to answer these questions the officer said “Yes, in my law.” And, when First-born resisted the interrogation, he was told he was “being uncooperative.” Again, in none of these cases was he cited or arrested. NOR WAS THERE ANY REASON to be cited or arrested. First-born usually works the closing shift at a Lebanon food establishment, comes home late, and with a bright yellow car is probably hard to miss.
You’d think that a local cop would get to know the people and their cars and would have figured out that First-born is just a good kid coming home from work. First-born has a recording of the last stop, the “breathe on my hand” stop, which is on YouTube and I will be transcribing to share.
The same “breathe on my hand” officer pulled my husband over twice. Once because a license-plate light was out, and last Saturday because he “shined his brights in his rear view mirror.” This second incident happened after the officer pulled suddenly off the road, and husband put on his brights to see if there was a hazard. The police car’s behavior seemed to indicate something was wrong – as no turn signal was used. In both cases a ticket was issued for not updating his driver’s license, something husband is *not* guilty of, but is looking forward to the court cases to prove. One wonders if the officer is aware of NH law and privacy options with respect to driver’s licenses. It should be noted that husband had a meeting with this officer earlier less than thirty hours previously – in court, where the officer was wearing his “prosecutor” hat, for a pre-trial conference for the first ticket. Husband says ticketing officers are not allowed to be prosecutors on the same case (http://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/criminal/). At that pre-trial conference the officer did not introduce himself except as “prosecutor”. No name was given. And only after several requests for a business card did he acknowledge he did not have any and offer his name.
I’ve heard of other people having problem with The Canaan Gauntlet. The way this officer has treated my son is remarkably bad in my opinion. The tickets for my husband are foolish. But, my bigger concern overall is how is this good policing? This officer is clearly adversarial with those he pulls over. It’s not keeping the peace by a long shot. And, I can’t help but think this is the beginning, no the middle stages, of a process which can result in bad policies and bad police which have killed young black men in other parts of our country.
Be wary, everyone, driving through Canaan, New Hampshire. Remember you have the right to record all interactions with public servants and most phones have a way to record. And, per this morning we understand that Canaan does record interactions, or did husband’s pull over of Saturday night per the Canaan Chief of Police. Know your rights. And don’t be intimidated. Trust me, this officer will try to intimidate. But, he’ll be “polite and professional” doing so.
More to come ….
A former police captain recently signed an affidavit affirming that several formal reprimands are missing from the personnel file of the officer who killed a 19-year-old during a marijuana bust. Although the police chief claims that no disciplinary actions have been taken against the officer, his former supervisor lists multiple performance issues resulting from the officer’s negligence. In an attempt to improve public relations, city officials have hired a PR firm at the expense of taxpayers’ dollars instead of releasing the dash cam videos of the shooting.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/city-hires-pr-firm-losing-files-cop-shot-teen-pot-bust/#03Z6x1qODsSPxz2m.99
I don’t think I’ve been this excited by a video in quite some time. Videos to teach. Yes, great idea. But Khan outlines several other potential benefits including humanizing the classroom by inverting the model. And the idea that labels come from a snapshot that doesn’t tell the story? Of course we homeschoolers know that. But to get that across to institutionalized schooling would be wonderful .. and miraculous.
A boy killed himself after being bullied in school. After Columbine, several other school shootings, and stories of kids with guns planning to do great harm, one child committing suicide might seem a small thing. But it’s not. If anything it struck me as worse.
The article talks about how this boy was repeatedly bullied. His mother reported problems to the school 7 or 8 times. The school sang its “we try hard” song. The day he killed himself young Jaheem brought home a report card with As and Bs.
I am not a fan of government schooling. It brings together some potentially talented people, locks them down with rules, curriculum, and systems designed through a political process where motivations, goals, and outcomes aren’t always what we’d want or expect. Children are left for stretches of time without significant oversight of their personal interactions. Cliques, relentless teasing, small acts of violence when adults aren’t looking, ostracization, … children can be cruel, but also, power structures develop in their many waking hours at these institutions. Our children are faced with this beginning generally at age 6. Some kindergartens go all day. Required pre-school is coming to some states.
What would have happened if Jaheem’s mother had other options? Perhaps she felt she couldn’t handle homeschooling and if a working mother that may not have been an option. What if she could choose schools? What if the school the other side of the street had a different system, one which created an environment where teasing of this sort wouldn’t occur?
And perhaps more importantly, what if schools knew that Jaheem’s mother, that all parents, had that choice? Somehow, I suspect, the problems these children deal with, problems that seem earth shattering to them, problems that seem earth shattering more so because of the many waking hours they spend in these institutions … somehow I think they’d be far less of an issue.
I mourn for Jaheem. I mourn for all the Jaheems out there who may not commit suicide, but who die a little everyday because of treatment like this. And, while I homeschool mine, I long for the day when school choice will eliminate the loss of energy … and in this case the loss of life … that the current system brings with it.