1. 35

Ian Murdock had a lasting impact on the Linux community in his creation of Debian–a project that has brought many (including myself) great utility. He also did great work with Project Indiana and OpenSolaris, though I’m not very familiar with those.

For the curious, page 10 (page 2) of the coroner’s report suggests that the cops beat the shit out of him prior to his death.

Stay safe out there folks. :(

  1.  

  2. 16

    Several friends and acquaintances who saw these messages online called San Francisco police and asked them to stop by Murdock’s home to prevent him from killing himself, according to the medical examiner’s report.

    Calling the police to help a friend/acquaintance who is distraught because of being beaten and hospitalized by the police… I don’t know :( This is a sad affair all-around.

    1. 11

      I’m not a medic, but I find that very troubling and not coherent with police declaration: “The police said that Murdock banged his own head accidentally. Police also say that he was taken into custody to prevent him from hurting himself. He was booked for assaulting an officer, but none of the officers on the scene reported any injuries.” http://thefreethoughtproject.com/millionare-tech-guru-dies-mysteriously-suicide-public-police-hospitalizing/ . Moreover does somepne has time line of the delay between his declaration to wanting commiting suicide and the police intervention ?

      1. 8

        IANAL, assault does not need to lead to injury. If so, it becomes battery.

      2. 18

        Never call the police when someone is in danger from mental health problems. Granted they’d already done their damage in this situation, It nearly always makes the situation more dangerous.

        1. 8

          Profoundly agreed. A Google News search for “police shoot suicidal person” will usually turn up a recent incident somewhere; this week it turns up a lot of stuff about other kinds of police shootings, but also an editorial on the subject published yesterday by the Boston Globe.

          1. 6

            What should the protocol be instead?

            (I agree with you 100%, but I’m always at a loss on what to actually do).

            1. 9

              I intend to write a document on this at some point, since I don’t like the perspective of the stuff I’ve seen. Honestly? Just keep talking to them.

              Try to respect their right to make this choice; there are conversations you could usefully have with somebody suffering, about consent to treatment, but by this point the time for them is long past.

              Offer to drive them to the emergency room yourself; respect it if the answer is “no”.

              There are cases where, for your own safety or legal liability, you may still have to call the police. But it should be understood as a serious risk.

              The above is a lot to ask of anybody, and it’s likely that most people aren’t prepared to do it. I haven’t figured out what to write about that.

              1. 3

                This article is written about how best to help people in the public you don’t know, but the organizations listed are great outside of that case as well.

                1. 1

                  Oh, yes, I like that resource a lot.

                2. 1

                  I’d call whoever dispatches ambulances in the area (in my city it’s firefighters, surprisingly enough) and ask them to send a psychologist or a psychiatrist, whichever they deem more appropriate in the situation.

                  1. 2

                    I mean, that’d be great, but they don’t do that. People with PhDs and MDs don’t make house calls. They might send paramedics, which would also be great if you can be sure they will. (Although that’s still non-consensual treatment, but at least without immediate physical danger, and some people draw a personal moral line that allows one and not the other.)

                    In much of the urban and suburban US, all emergency dispatch goes through 911 and it’s up to the dispatcher what types of people to send. They will generally send police in addition to any other type of resource, especially if it’s described as an ongoing situation. In my own jurisdiction, all emergency personnel are triple-trained as police, firefighters, and paramedics, so there’s no way to dispatch non-police even in principle. I have a personal story about this but I decided not to tell it here, heh.

                    1. 1

                      People with PhDs and MDs don’t make house calls.

                      Not even as “second responders” (i.e., when ambulance personnel calling a more specialized ambulance)? This would mean that nobody can pronounce anybody dead outside of a hospital, as paramedics don’t have this privilege.

                      all emergency personnel are triple-trained as police, firefighters, and paramedics

                      WHAT. This is crazy.

                      1. 1

                        Not even as “second responders” (i.e., when ambulance personnel calling a more specialized ambulance)? This would mean that nobody can pronounce anybody dead outside of a hospital, as paramedics don’t have this privilege.

                        Conceivably, for that scenario, I guess? That’s beyond what I know. I guess I’ve witnessed one death response, but I was far too young to notice who exactly responded. I’m not sure why bringing the deceased person to the hospital for that pronouncement is a problem, though, in that it’s not as if there’s time pressure.

                        WHAT. This is crazy.

                        I completely agree, thank you for the validation. :)

                3. 3

                  *at least in most places in the United States (and probably some other countries).

                  1. 2

                    Any country with a police service, basically.

                    1. 1

                      In some places the police is more prone to shooting at the slightest provocation than in others.

                  2. 1

                    No, use your own judgement. By the time the police came to his house he had already killed himself. As for the first two encounters, it sounds like the people at that residence feared for their safety and called the police. It’s certainly not their fault that a drunk guy is banging on their door.

                    1. 2

                      You seem confused about what my comment was about. I didn’t say

                      Never call the police when someone is putting you in danger

                      I said

                      Never call the police when someone is in danger from mental health problems

                      Please use more nuance when engaging with topics like these.

                      1. 2

                        I don’t intend to make fun of you in any way, but remember the old saying “never use the word never in an argument”, and variations thereof. ;)

                        1. 3

                          If language were as absolute as some think it is, I’d have to use a lot of asterisks whenever I write!

                        2. 1

                          I think my comment is saying we should all use more nuance when dealing with people with mental issues – saying “never” is about as non-nuancey as it goes. Blanket statements for complex cases are never (ha ha!) a good idea.

                    2. 2

                      With all due respect, I don’t think the coroner’s report suggests that the cops “beat the shit out of him”. There are some bruises and abrasions but for a guy with a BAC of 0.21 (more than 2.5 times the legal limit) who was banging on his neighbors door so loudly the police were called I don’t think any of us can say they were caused by anyone but Ian himself. I’m saddened to see people blaming the cops instead of mourning a man of great accomplishments.

                      1. 4

                        Inventory of the blunt trauma:

                        Some cuts (lacerations):

                        • On the upper central forehead are three (3) separate scabbed lacerations ranging from approximately 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch in greatest dimension.

                        Many bruises (contusions):

                        • On the upper central chest is an approximately 1-½ inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the upper right side of the chest is an approximately l-½ inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the central abdomen are two (2) separate purple-red contusions ranging up to 1 inch in greatest dimension.
                        • On the lower left side of the back, just above the left buttock, is an approximately 2 inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the front of the right arm is an approximately 4-½ inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the medial right forearm, near the right wrist, is an approximately ½ inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the back of the left arm is an approximately 1 inch in greatest dimension purple-red contusion.
                        • On the back of the left elbow is an approximately 2 inch in greatest dimension red contusion.
                        • On the anterior left forearm are four (4) purple-red contusions ranging up to ¾ inch in greatest dimension.
                        • On the bilateral knees are red confusions and purple-red contusions measuring up to 5 inches in greatest dimension.

                        Many scrapes (abrasions):

                        • On the left supraclavicular fossa is an approximately ½ inch in greatest dimension red abrasion.
                        • On the posterior right side of the neck is a punctate healing red abrasion. Punctate means “spotted”, IIRC.
                        • On the lower left side of the abdomen is an approximately 3 inch in greatest dimension red abrasion.
                        • On the upper right side of the back is an approximately 1 inch in greatest dimension obliquely oriented linear red abrasion.
                        • On the upper left side of the back is an approximately 3 inch in greatest length obliquely oriented linear red abrasion.
                        • On the back of the left thumb is an approximately ¼ inch in greatest dimension red abrasion.
                        • On the back of the left index finger is an approximately l/2 inch in greatest dimension red abrasion.
                        • On the front of the right shin is an approximately l/2 inch in greatest dimension red abrasion.

                        No broken bones:

                        • The well-developed skeleton is without evidence of palpable fractures.
                        • On dissection of the scalp, the skull is intact with no evidence of fractures.

                        Perhaps you have a point. Perhaps they only beat the everliving Christ out of him. :|

                        EDIT: Fixed formatting bug.

                        1. 6

                          So there was reports he was accidentally / forcefully bashed his head against a metal divider in the police car, yet he only has 3 cuts 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch long (1 cm - 1.5 cm for us metroids) – that doesn’t sound like a bashing to me.

                          Of the 10 bruises, half of them were on his arms or hands… maybe caused by the police or maybe banging on a door.. twice.

                          Yup, he has some scrapes. I’m not saying he had no contact with the police but they certainly didn’t “beat the ever-living Spaghetti monster’s step son Cody from him”.

                          Let’s also look at what Ian said on Twitter that he required stitches from his altercation with the police… but none were found in the autopsy.. so I don’t think he was telling the whole truth about his interaction.

                          Let’s remember Ian for his accomplishments, not for why he decided to take his own life.

                          1. 12

                            Let’s remember Ian for his accomplishments

                            I have to disagree with this. We should remember people for the whole of his life, not just the good parts. Otherwise we have a warped perception of people who have already died and we often forget how imperfect everybody is.

                            Half stories are the tools of advertisers and propagandists.

                          2. 4

                            Is that at all consistent with somebody quite intent on pounding their way through a door and needing to be forcibly dragged away? If I decide I’m not going in the police car, I don’t think you’re going to put me in the police car without some damage.

                            1. 4

                              Without the cops wearing bodycams, we’ll never know.

                              1. 2

                                I agree, but your statement “the cops beat the shit out of him” makes it seem like you’re taking Ian’s side only. The truth is we don’t know what happened exactly so we have to focus on the facts at hand. IMHO I don’t think it points to a beating but if other people conclude that he was beaten that’s OK too, as long as they looked at the facts objectively and aren’t rushing to conclusions because of what other people have stated.

                          3. [Comment removed by author]

                            1. 5

                              Please let’s not rehash the original allegations or start trying to pretend we’re medical experts. :(

                              I think everyone can agree the implications of Murdock’s final tweets are disturbing whether one assumes they’re true or false, and I don’t think there’s anything new to say.

                              1. [Comment removed by author]

                                1. 3

                                  I agree with you. I find pretty much everything that happens in the course of even a routine arrest and cavity search to be horrifying even when it’s not considered as sexual assault. Which simplifies things, because since I’m horrified regardless of whether it’s part of the search, I don’t have to get into discussion of whether it was. Similarly, even interpreting the rest of what’s known as generously as possible to the police, I don’t find it acceptable. Therefore, I don’t see a lot to talk about.

                                  I realize, now that you’ve questioned it, that I have this luxury because of a controversial hardline view about the way our justice system currently works, and I guess I was hasty in calling for an end to discussion.

                                  1. 3

                                    Is it possible that Ian wasn’t a rape victim?

                                    1. 8

                                      Judging by the tweet, it probably was just a cavity search. Then again, I’m with Irene–going into this portion of things at length is probably just prurient interest.

                                      1. 5

                                        Yeah, there’s a question of why it’s worth talking about, mostly. I wasn’t clear enough, but my feelings are very much on Murdock’s side of this; I think it’s obvious that it was a horrifying experience, and I don’t think the rest is my business.

                                2. 4

                                  Was that admitted in the coroner or police report, or just speculation based on his tweets before he died?

                                  I admit this whole thing is strange and would not be surprised to hear that the cops did attack him, but I never heard any official report with that rape claim. Very weird, and could have been Ian’s fault, could have been the police’s. I think there’s too little evidence to know for certain and will probably remain a mystery.

                                  1. [Comment removed by author]

                                    1. 2

                                      And neither did anyone besides Ian, correct? So it’s Ian’s word against the police’s?

                                      Not going to take a side here because there is absolutely no proof and an argument could be made either way. Have the police been resorting to brutality a lot lately? Yes. Then again, Ian admitted that he was pretty drunk when writing those tweets, and his mental health also seems to have been a little less-than-stable in the first place.

                                      I think it’s harmful to attempt to draw conclusions from something like that.

                              2. -1

                                Worst thread on lobste.rs, ever :(