Category Archives: Law

Merciful Judge Masipa

Justice, Law, South-Africa

On Fox News, Megyn Kelly was screeching that Oscar Pistorius got away with murder. Kelly’s reasoning was of a piece with neoconservative chauvinism: Judge Thokozile Masipa, the presiding justice in the Pistorius case, did not render the verdict an American judge would have handed down, hence to Kelly, the verdict had to be wrong.

I can’t say the decision Judge Masipa read out was an elegant decision. It is, nevertheless, a merciful one:

Pistorius was found guilty, Friday, of culpable homicide, the South African term for unintentionally, but unlawfully, killing a person. It’s akin to negligent killing.
A day before the verdict, Judge Thokozile Masipa cleared him of murder in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
His sentencing starts on October 13, the judge said after granting him bail.
There is no minimum sentence for culpable homicide in South African law, so it will be up to the judge to decide. … … But in grabbing his gun and heading toward the supposed threat, Pistorius “acted too hastily and used excessive force,” Masipa ruled Thursday.
“His conduct was negligent” and not what a reasonable man would do in the circumstances — not even a disabled one, she said.
Defense arguments that his upbringing “in a crime-riddled environment and in a home where the mother was paranoid and always carried a firearm” might explain his conduct that night, but “it does not excuse the conduct,” Masipa said.(CNN)

I believe Oscar Pistorius is stupid, irresponsible; an example of a bad gun-owner. But I do not believe he purposefully “murdered Reeva Steenkamp after a domestic row,” as the state endeavored to show, but, it would appear, failed to show.

“Into the Cannibal’s Pot” is dedicated to—and I quote—”my African sisters, Nomasomi Khala and Annie Dlahmini, whose lives touched mine.” In her deliberative, wise manner, Justice Mazipa reminded me of those two ladies whom I miss dearly. She seemed impervious to the racial, liberal rubbish that swirled around the case.

Questions about the Masipa verdict are raised in “Pistorius judgment: Was there no intention to kill someone behind the toilet door?”


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Rand Paul Opportunistic—And Wrong—On Race

Barack Obama, Drug War, Fascism, Justice, Law, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Race, Racism, Ron Paul

“Rand Paul Opportunistic—And Wrong—On Race” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

Police brutality? Yes! Militarization of the police force? You bet! “A Government of Wolves”? Yes again! “The Rise of the Warrior Cop”? No doubt! But racism? Nonsense on stilts! So why have some libertarians applied this rhetoric to the murder-by-cop of black teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri? The same people who would argue against color-coded hate-crime legislation—and rightly so, for a crime is a crime, no matter the skin pigment of perp or prey—would have you believe that it is possible to differentiate a racist from a non-racist shooting or beating.

Predictably, BBC News had taken a more analytical look at the “unrest in Ferguson,” pointing out that liberal outrage had centered on what the left sees as racial injustice. Libertarian anger, conversely, connected “the perceived overreaction by militarized local law enforcement to a critique of the heavy-handed power of government.”

As its libertarian stand-bearers, the BBC chose from the ranks of establishment, libertarian-leaning conservatives. Still, the ideological bifurcation applied was sound. With some exceptions, libertarians have consistently warned about a police state rising; the left has played at identity politics, appealing to its unappeasable base.

As refreshingly clever as its commentators are, BBC is inexact. The very embodiment of political opportunism, Sen. Rand Paul has managed to straddle liberal and libertarian narratives, vaporizing as follows:

“… Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. …”

The senator from Kentucky is considered “one of the leading figures in today’s libertarian movement.” Even so, on matters libertarian, Rand Paul is a political pragmatist; not the purist his father is. Alas, Rand has imbibed at home some unfortunate, crowd-pleasing habits—the leftist penchant for accusing law enforcement of racism. In 2012, in particular, during the debate between Republican presidential front-runners, in Manchester, New Hampshire, Ron Paul lurched to the left, implicating racism in the unequal outcomes meted by American justice:

“How many times have you seen the white rich person get the electric chair?” he asked. “If we really want to be concerned with racism … we ought to look at the drug laws.”

Laws prohibiting the individual from purchasing, selling, ingesting, inhaling and injecting drugs ought to be repudiated and repealed on the grounds that they are wrong, not racist. But statism is not necessarily racism. Drug laws ensnare more blacks, because blacks are more likely to violate them by dealing in drugs or engaging in violence around commerce in drugs, not necessarily because cops are racists. …

Read the rest of the column. “Rand Paul Opportunistic—And Wrong—On Race” is now on WND.


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Father Of Decorated Soldier Killed By Cop Speaks

Fascism, GUNS, Law, Terrorism, The State

Ilana,

Many, many thanks for this superb commentary! As always, you and Mark are on-target.

My son, Erik B. Scott, a decorated ex-Army officer, West Point grad, and Duke Univ. MBA, was shot to death by Las Vegas cops, because a scared moron mistook Erik’s BlackBerry for a firearm. Per SOP, LVMPD’s chief cover-up architect, Capt. Patrick Neville, “disappeared” security system video that would have proven my son was murdered; planted “evidence,” corrupted the crime scene, broke into my son’s condo and stole several guns to support the cops’ narrative, and ensured several officers lied repeatedly, even under oath, during a coroner’s inquest hearing. As was the case with more than 200 such officer-involved shootings over three decades, my son’s murder was ruled “justified.” Not a single cop had been found at fault in 34 years.

As a former aerospace journalist and ex-USAF officer, I was shocked and appalled, when confronted with such bald-faced cover-up tactics in a country that my sons, father and I had sworn to protect and defend against all enemies. I quickly learned that few Americans will believe cops routinely kill, cover and lie, so I wrote a novel, “The Permit,” based on my son’s murder-by-cop. This work of “faction” is selling well, and educating the masses about killer-cops, just as you are.

Last week, the turmoil in Ferguson, MO, prompted a flurry of interviews, where I discussed this question: “Should rogue/outlaw police officers be considered America’s most dangerous domestic terrorists?” Here’s the NewsmaxTV clip:

Again, many thanks for your superb blog postings and columns. You’re an invaluable voice in a campaign to “Rid the Ranks of Rogues” and clean up police departments across the nation. If we don’t succeed, I fear outraged armed citizens WILL take out the killer-cops. That will trigger chaos—and it could be imminent.

Regards,
Bill

William B. Scott
Author
www.williambscott.com
“The Permit”
Video – “The Permit”


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American Cops’ Killer Culture

Crime, Criminal Injustice, IMMIGRATION, Law

Police need to be put in their place. Stripping them of their green camouflage outfits, armored vehicles and machine guns and equipping them all with a dashcam is a start. “Scrap the federal subsidy programs for municipal police departments that gives them the second-hand military hardware from Tikrit and Kandahar,” counsels Mark Steyn, “and replace it with one that ensures every patrol car has a camera.”

The truth of the matter is that the culture of US cops is that of a craven disregard for American lives.

… when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”

Really? You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald’s are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the “nine principles of good policing” (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing.

Which brings us back to the death of Michael Brown. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct. In that case, whether or not the fatal shooting of Mr Brown is a crime, it’s certainly a mistake. When an unarmed shoplifter* in T-shirt and shorts with a five-buck cigar box in one hand has to be shot dead, you’re doing it wrong.

American police have grown too comfortable with the routine use of lethal force. To reprise a few statistics I cited three months ago:

So the biggest government in the free world chooses not to keep statistics on how many people get shot by law enforcement. So be it. It does keep figures on “justifiable homicide”, which it defines as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement official in the line of duty”. When is a police homicide not “justifiable”? Ah, well. At any rate, for 2012, the corpse count was 410.

By comparison, for the years 2012 and 2013 in England and Wales:

‘No fatal police shootings.’

In the Netherlands:

‘The average for the last 35 years is three dead and 15 injured…’

In Germany, a nation of 80 million people, police in 2011 fatally shot six persons. In Denmark, police shot 11 people in 11 years, and this was felt to be so disturbing that the National Police Commissioner held an inquiry into why his cops had gotten so trigger-happy. In Australia, 41 people were shot by police in eight years, and the then Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone … thought that that was too high. In Iceland, police have fatally shot just one suspect. That’s one guy in the entire history of the country. He was killed by police last December.

So comparisons between the kill rates from American police and those of other developed nations aren’t worth bothering with. Indeed, the “justifiable homicides” of US cops are more like the total murder count for other advanced societies:

In Oz, the total number of murders per year is about 270, so a nation of 23 million would have to increase by 50 per cent to commit as many homicides as American law enforcement. In Canada, whose urban police departments have absorbed certain American practices, a dozen or so people get shot dead by cops each year, which is again somewhat short of the US rate. Indeed, that 2012 “justifiable homicide” figure of 410 compares to a total Canadian homicide count for 2011 of 598. In other words, in America 120,000 or so full-time law enforcement officers rack up the same number of homicides as about 24 million Canadians.

That strikes me as on the high side.

In Ferguson, both parties agree that the first shot was fired from inside the car. The rest were fired by the officer when he’d got out of the car, with Chief Jackson conceding there could have been ten bullets fired. For purposes of comparison:

In 2011 the German police fired 85 bullets. That’s all of them. The entire police force. The whole country. Eighty-five bullets in one year. That’s seven bullets per month. One bullet for every million German citizens.

So the Ferguson PD used as many bullets on Michael Brown as the Polizei used on ten million Germans. But, by American standards, that’s relatively restrained. The same year as those German figures – 2011 – the Miami PD blew through the Polizei’s annual bullet allowance on just one traffic incident:

Police killed Raymond Herisse, 22, of Boynton Beach in a barrage of gunfire after they said he refused an order to pull over while speeding down a crowded Collins Avenue in his Hyundai…

Twelve officers – from Miami Beach and Hialeah – unleashed more than 100 rounds at Herisse, police said. The hail of bullets also struck and wounded three bystanders.

By comparison, those 85 German bullets per annum were aimed somewhat more precisely …

That’s to say, of those 85 bullets, 49 were warning shots. America no longer does “the warning shot”. But whatever happened to “the shot”? With the 36 non-warning bullets fired by German police that year, they killed six people and wounded fifteen. That’s a bullet-and-three-quarters per target. Whether shooting to kill or to disable, they’re trying to do it with a single shot. American policing takes a third of Germany’s annual bullet allowance just to off a dog:

In July, three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in a Bronx apartment building. And there have been other episodes: in 1995, in the Bronx, officers fired 125 bullets during a bodega robbery, with one officer firing 45 rounds.

Just what happened on Saturday is still being investigated. Police experts, however, suggested in interviews yesterday that contagious shooting played a role in a fatal police shooting in Queens Saturday morning. According to the police account, five officers fired 50 shots at a bridegroom who, leaving his bachelor party at a strip club, twice drove his car into a minivan carrying plainclothes police officers investigating the club.

The bridegroom, Sean Bell, who was to be married hours later, was killed, and two of his friends were wounded, one critically.

Three months ago I asked this question:

Are American civilians so different from Europeans or Aussies or Kiwis or Canadians that they have to be policed as if they’re cornered rebels in an ongoing civil war?

A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc. Maybe. But the problem is that, increasingly, this is the only style of law enforcement America’s police culture teaches – not only for the teeming favelas, but for the leafy suburbs and the rural backwaters and the college-town keg party, too. … MORE.

Contrast the policing of America proper with the policing of US borders, where border patrol dare not so much as turn away a trespasser.


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A Callous Killing (Or Armed And Stupid)

Criminal Injustice, Fascism, Law

“They could have tased him or shot him in the leg; they shot the man, he dead [sic]. They could have tased him.” The speaker is a man who is walking along, talking to himself [or "he self"], while filming his surroundings with a mobile device. Another man is meandering around, acting erratically. The latter appears more confused than menacing. The filmer passes the meanderer with no incident. Police arrive. The narrator gets increasingly agitated and distressed as it becomes apparent what could and would go down. He’s describing the events as they unfold, incredulous, genuinely in disbelief.

Police arrive. Wait hardly at all. Make no attempts to subdue the meandering man or talk him down. Then pump him full of lead. The officers proceed to cordon off the street, clearly to prevent the shocked witnesses, who are standing at a considerable distance, from assembling.

Mediaite explains that “St. Louis police put out this cell phone video” “in the name of transparency, following the outrage over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer last week.”

Now we know that some at St. Louis police are both dangerous and stupid. This callous, if transparent, killing does nothing to redeem the force.

WATCH:


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Eric Holder’s Howlers About His Independence

Criminal Injustice, Law, Race, Racism

Eric Holder, Attorney General for black America, has been joking about the promise of a “‘fair and thorough’ investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.”

As he deployed “Approximately 40 FBI agents and some of the Civil Rights Division’s most experienced prosecutors to lead this process,” he continued to tout “the independence and thoroughness of our investigation,” at least four times in one “op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Amid howlers like the unimpeachable independence of his Department Of Justice, Holder’s impetus is to racialize the incident: “We’re looking for possible violations of federal civil rights statutes.”

In case you doubt what he’s up to, Holder said this to his constituents at a community meeting in Ferguson: “I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man.”

Don’t expect Pajama Media to look beyond the tit-for-tat of, “What if the Rioters Were White?” Nevertheless, what J. Christian Adams has to say about the DOJ is edifying; he has covered “the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division for years”:

Why does it matter that the DOJ unit that will investigate the Ferguson police is stacked with leftists and ideologues? Because anti-police biases of lawyers in this unit have resulted in gross prosecutorial misconduct against police officers.
United States District Judge Kurt Engelhardt issued this blistering 129-page opinion documenting prosecutorial misconduct by DOJ lawyers … As Holder moves forward in Ferguson, keep the documented misconduct of his lawyers in mind.

MORE.


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