Submitted because it’s technology radically changing public perception of an institution. Police lying has been alleged for what, a century? The 1992 LA Riots were an early sign, but it’s the last 5-10 years that camera have become ubiquitous and opinions have changed. Even the institutional opinion and practices are starting to change:
Baysmore, the Baltimore cop, said that he now always assumes a camera, somewhere, is watching him while he’s on the job. It makes him nervous sometimes, that a clip gets taken out of context, that the blurring whirl of a tense situation gets frozen into its most damnable elements, that his memory slips up at the wrong time, that a small inconsistency in his report gets blown up and next thing he knows his photo is on the evening news and protesters are calling him a liar.
In 2011, after clients told him SFPD officers were conducting illegal drug raids, Adachi dispatched investigators to “canvass for videos” around high-arrest areas across the city, he said. The initiative produced stunning surveillance footage from inside the Henry Hotel, a low-cost temporary residence popular among people unable to afford permanent housing. The videos showed police officers busting down doors without warrants and stealing property from the rooms. Three officers were convicted on corruption charges, another for making false statements.
How do we enable individuals to actually gather this evidence who are most likely in need of it?
I’ve been thinking about this ever since I was in the exact same neighborhood described in the story, and saw two cops harass a drunk homeless man, emptying his beer on his belongings, pushing him around, making fun of him – and when a young man intervened telling them to leave him alone, they verbally harassed the guy until they hopped back in their car and drove off, leaving the homeless man slowly losing his mind over his ruined stuff.
Now, I know for a fact the restaurant I watched this from has cameras that face the street and recorded this incident. If they hadn’t, I could have recorded a video with my phone…
But how would I send the video to them? I think this is actually an interesting technical problem, but I’m not sure how to solve it yet. How to anonymously send data to someone I don’t know, without creating the number 1 harassment tool of the century.
The ACLU has one possible answer for you - if you trust them to handle the data responsibly. The functionality of their apps varies from state to state, but the ones I’m familiar with are well-thought-out.
I am no lawyer, but I do daily watch my friends in the ACLU and NLG take somewhat different positions here. I’s maybe worth mentioning that my NLG friends much more take a viewpoint of: do not record anything, anywhere; if you did record it, delete it; if you didn’t delete it, don’t give it to anyone. This is not because they doubt that recordings of police misconduct can sometimes be useful, but because it is far more likely that some random recording that records multiple people will end up being successfully leveraged by the prosecutor against a civilian, vs. being successfully used by a civilian to keep police misconduct in check.
Yes, that’s also a very important concern. What I’d actually advocate is that people use their own judgment on each event, rather than always recording or always not recording. It really depends on weighing the benefit against the risk.
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While I actually agree that being a cop in the current social system is unethical (especially in USA) and should be shunned, deflating that just to two words on a technically-minded community seems pointless.
Historically, the institution of police exists to protect property. Whether it be from rioting, exploited workers in the UK, or slave patrols in the US, modern police forces around the world all share these roots. Institutionally, a police force is the brutalizing arm of property’s enforcement, and only act to resolve general social conflict as a secondary function, which is why police forces tend to be filled with politically right wing individuals, with an atrocious tendency towards domestic violence, and often exact violence on minorities and mentally ill individuals, while failing to fulfill community needs in terms of domestic violence, gun violence, drug abuse, and sexual assault.
There are alternatives, but they require radically different community structuring than exist in western society. Sure, to you a “world without cops is unimaginable” makes sense, because the world (/society) that you live in couldn’t possibly govern itself, not in the state it’s in, socially and materially. However, that doesn’t make police a fact of nature, and the exploration of evolving community for self governance a waste of time.
I disagree with your argument in several respects.
The police don’t put any particular emphasis on enforcing property rights. The vast majority of police activity is just revenue-seeking via traffic law enforcement. After that are simple crimes like public intoxication and fighting. Most arrests don’t even lead to charges. “Civil asset forfeiture”, as it is euphemistically called, is literally just theft.
Institutionally, a police force is the brutalizing arm of property’s enforcement
This is wrong. The police force works for a government, not the abstract notion of property. The law usually requires the government to protect property rights to some degree, but this is orthogonal to the fundamental role of the police.
while failing to fulfill community needs in terms of domestic violence, gun violence, drug abuse, and sexual assault.
What, exactly, do you think police should do more of in these instances? Drug abuse we can help via e.g. clean needle programs, but that’s not up to the police.
To be clear, I think the police system in its current form is pretty shit and could be improved in a lot of ways, but your post just seems like directionless communist idealism rather than a coherent critique or idea for improvement.
For drug use, police can help by not arresting (or searching) anyone for any drug-related crime (possession, purchase, sale, manufacture, transport, use, regardless of the drug type or quantity in question), with narrow exceptions like crimes of “dosing someone with drugs without their informed consent” or “driving while being impaired by drugs”.
It’s prohibition that’s the root cause of drug use being harmful – to both the people involved and also to the communities and society in which those people live.
I do think considerable police resources are put into defending the property of the wealthier part of society from the poorer part, and that this explains a good portion of the reason police forces exist and are well-funded. But, yeah, police are also not especially ideologically committed to enforcement of a philosophically grounded libertarian ideal of private property rights or anything. The rampant asset-forfeiture abuse you bring up is a good illustration of that, among others.
I think you could come up with an explanation for this situation that is more rather than less Marxist, though, relating to society being divided into classes, and the police being the hired muscle of one of its classes… i.e. they work for that class specifically, not for the abstract, theoretically equal-handed idea of private property. Although I’m pretty lefty, it’s also worth noting that there are libertarians spending quite a bit of time critiquing the current situation, as well. Folks like Randy Balko have been good in recent years on digging into how the police and the criminal-justice system fail to uphold the stated rights that people in lower socio-economic and minority racial positions are supposed to have.
Better late than never: the more hard-core libertarians, especially of the agorist variety, actually describe the society in class-divide terms. However, they draw the divide in a way that puts agents and workers of the government in the oppressors category, and the rest of the society in the oppressed.
Dear downvoter, have you read SEK3 yet?
Gave you back the karma that anon took bc nothing you said is itself wrong, but while I’m aware of market anarchism and have my own opinions on it (eg, the market cannot undo the contradictions inherent to the market), what sets SEK3’s agorism apart from Rothbardian market anarchism (which he appears to relate agorism to)?
SEK3 has described a full-fledged class system, taken further than Rothbard’s rulers vs ruled dichotomy. Moreover, SEK3 says salary job and corporations would not exist in Agora, but this I disagree with.
contradictions inherent to the market
The accumulation of capital causes over-accumulation (resulting in economic crises) and naturally tends to centralize capital1
EDIT: More clear wording and also David Harvey explains the contradictions of the market really well here
The police force works for a government, not the abstract notion of property. The law usually requires the government to protect property rights to some degree, but this is orthogonal to the fundamental role of the police.
This analysis I’ve conveyed (it’s not my own), doesn’t rely specifically on individual actions of the police; instead, it’s presupposed on the material obligations and systemic relationship of a police force to the state and its people. However, in this analysis it also relies on underlying analysis wrt the state under the capitalist mode of production. That underlying analysis proposes that this state exists to defend the material interests of the ruling class, not out of conspiracy or individual actions, but out of necessity, self preservation. Under this analysis, the police are the domestic force of that state protecting the material interests of that ruling class (primarily property, but also given that commodities and capital are predicated on the ownership of property… PS: my reading on this tidbit could be wrong! I leave those better read on political economy to correct me here). This enforcement can make itself visible in a multitude of ways, including general criminalization that predominantly targets the non-ruling classes, as well as direct policies that directly protect material interests.
This specific critique asserts that structurally, police forces are unequipped to address those community problems. What tools do they have to improve the communities they occupy, besides criminalization?
…your post just seems like directionless communist idealism…
There are idealists but I’m not among them ?
Cool hypothetical analysis, except that the actual evidence I pointed out strongly suggests that the police actually aren’t all that hot on property rights, as you claimed they were.
I don’t think any idealist ever claimed to be an idealist.
I’m sorry, I think I was unclear on this. I’m not discussing “property rights”, but “property as the material interests of the ruling class”. I don’t think I’d disagree with you that police aren’t so concerned about property rights (or human rights, in some absurd and obscene cases), especially given the bullshit that is civil forfeiture.
I think you missed the key word in the original post - “Historically”.
Think about the period where societies transitioned from not having a police force to having a police force. Who made that call? Why did they make it?
By my reading (feel free to dispute it), most police forces were initially formed by a ruling class because each maintaining private security for their assets was getting expensive.
Let’s try and keep a reasonable level of discourse here, shall we?
The only thing that makes these sorts of submissions even slightly bearable is if we manage to keep our comments useful.
“Fuck <x>” doesn’t really do that, now does it?
Depends on the perspective.
An example (without backstory of course, just a quick timeline): a cop shoots a child and lies in his statement. Some days after the incident, a video surfaces where it shows that the gun has not fired accidentally. Co-workers also chipped money to get a tv-persona lawyer.
Now, would I be “unfair” if I said fuck cops based on that fact?
Based on the fact alone that his co-workers KNEW what happened and still decided to protect him and after ~8 years he has not yet served jail time, would I still be “unfair” to call him and his co-workers, (where NO ONE EVER STOOD UP because, well, fuck everyone outside the “force”) a bunch of uncivilized pigs (because usual pigs are way more civilized to their community)?
Based on the fact that recently he said that he does not regret a thing, what stance would you have?
Even if it’s 100% true as you said, maybe fuck those cops is justified. Fuck all cops absolutely isn’t. Stereotyping isn’t right no matter who you do it to. Going that way makes you no longer a principled objector to injustice, but a promotor of more tribal conflict. No thanks, we have quite enough of that already.
Fuck all cops absolutely isn’t. Stereotyping isn’t right no matter who you do it to.
If you followed what I told though, you’d seen that even then, none took a position against them. So in this context, yes, fuck all of them is very appropriate.
I don’t know in what part of the world you live, but in many cases, police officers act like they own everything with higher officials backing them up.
Different experiences yield different point of view. If you had seen seen the equivalent of a police squad beating the shit out of 70-90 year old people while they protest for their pension cuts, and NO ONE getting punished for this, you’d had the same view.
The above also applies to “tribal conflict” you mention. When you (not personally you :) ) fuck someone up completely, you have to consider Newton’s third law, which brilliantly applies to human nature in many cases: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I’d say that that’s a disturbing story, but without a link to the source it’s just hearsay and only slightly less tiresome than “fuck cops”.
I’d also say that for every handful of cops like that, there are hundreds who are quietly doing their jobs and making their communities better.
I’d also also say that none of that has a damned thing to do with the practice of technology and thus should be somewhere else.
You are correct. So, for reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Greek_riots
The conclusion to draw here is that these sorts of submissions are not even slightly bearable.
“Fuck cops.” is useful, as the banner of one’s unapologetic stance in the face of massive oppressive forces.
Alright, more plainly: go fly your ineffectual little banner where it won’t clutter up the place and set further precedent for flaccid, intellectually-light, worthless me-too-ism.
You don’t even differentiate between the different branches of law enforcement, the different units in a given department, the different counties and states and juridstictions. Nah, gee whiz, it’s just “fuck cops o'clock”.
Isn’t it a bit of a double standard to protest for “reasonable levels of discourse”, and follow it up with a vague what-about-ism? I made my perspective very clear in the comment above here, why send this angry and intellectually bankrupt response?
Check the timestamps–your more articulate post didn’t exist when I wrote that reply.
The fact remains: you’d be better off posting materials on how to take direct action against the oppressors than to waste space here by posting “mmmm yeah fuck cops” or “some source I haven’t linked articulates this rather abstract political argument about police”. The problem with both of those is that they are divorced from reality, either because they aren’t actionable (unless you are specifically suggesting intercourse with law enforcement) or because they are too abstract (a critique on how cops further the interest of the ruling class, which is both obvious and useless if you aren’t in the ruling class).
I’d frankly prefer seeing people linking to relevant material and owning that, instead of hiding behind lame outbursts or navel-gazy philosophy–or, perhaps, if it isn’t so important that you want to oppose it with violence, quit bitching.
The middle ground–of both failing to oppose the supposed oppressors and failing to quietly endure them–just leads to noise in otherwise quiet and polite communities.
I’m sorry if I came across as trying to be misleading but I honestly meant this reply; not the comment that followed it.
you’d be better off posting materials on how to take direct action against the oppressors than to waste space here by posting “mmmm yeah fuck cops” or “some source I haven’t linked articulates this rather abstract political argument about police”
The issue is that praxis (regardless of the political camp you’re in), must be informed by your beliefs and understandings. I can’t just say “we should do such and such things,” without informing those actions with some sorts of understandings of the systems and situations I’m proposing to act upon.
Not to mention, I’m spending the time I can to write out honest and straightforward responses, but it won’t always be sufficient, and I’d also prefer not to just deflect discussion by stacking the decks with lengthy reads! However, a good introductory read on the relations I touched upon in the linked comments from above would be Wage Labor and Capital; and although I personally embrace a variety of strategies for making the future brighter, I personally agree most with Gilles Dauvé’s writings.
Thanks for the links!