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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 06:09

Cato Institute Starts National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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The conservative think tank Cato Institute has announced its latest effort to hold local police accountable by establishing its National Police Misconduct Reporting Project. Its purpose is to “determine the extent of police misconduct in the United States, identify trends affecting police misconduct, and report on issues about police misconduct in order to enhance public awareness on issues regarding police misconduct in the U.S.”

Its website, www.policemisconduct.net, currently lists an increasing number of incidents involving police officers who have stepped outside the bounds of their duty. One after another, incidents such as "Lanagan, MO police chief, officer indicted, suspended for forgery"; "Denver police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop"; and "Dallas City Council approves $500,000 for settlement for motorcyclist whose beating was caught on police dash-cam" are presented on its website in its attempt to educate citizens about such illegal behavior by the men in blue.

Cato says its purposes are honorable: “Only a small fraction of the 17,000 law enforcement agencies [in the country] actually track their own misconduct … and even when they do, the data … is generic and does not specify what misconduct occurred, who did it, and what the end result was.”

The institute obtains its data from all media sources, and the facts are verified by its staff before being posted on the website. Further, the staff working on the project want to be notified by readers of any errors of fact, and are open to receiving information about other incidents reported in the media that they haven't vetted yet.

Cato staff use media accounts rather than civil or criminal court records because “only a fraction of the incidents that occur actually wind up in litigation” and “very few instances of police misconduct are actually prosecuted.” Besides, most states prevent police departments from releasing such information or else permit them to keep the details secret from the public. Says the Cato website:

There is a fundamental lack of information about police misconduct in the U.S. and we are simply trying to do what we can to find the truth about how extensive a problem police misconduct really is….

This project can help police do their jobs better since gaining the trust of the public helps them gather the information and cooperation they need to do their jobs effectively.

Unfortunately, Cato’s NPMRP website looks more like the supermarket tabloid National Inquirer than it does an effort to present useful information for either the concerned citizen or the serious law-enforcement professional. Perhaps that’s because the project is very new and the staff haven't fleshed out the results with statistical analysis and conclusions and recommendations. They may also be totally unaware that the project's apparently sensational presentation of police misconduct may be playing into the hands of those whose interest is in attacking the credibility currently enjoyed by local police officers from the citizens who employ them. By loosening those bonds of credibility, the argument for national control of local police authorities begins to gain traction.

In 1958, in an effort to create a national police force, various means were being employed to convince the populace at large to question police behavior and intentions, so The John Birch Society (JBS) created a project entitled Support Your Local Police  (SYLP) and Keep Them Independent. Art Thompson, CEO of the JBS, explains:

Our goal is to help understand that responsible policing is best done with local oversight. Local police are accountable to local communities and best reflect the interests and priorities of the communities they serve.

Since September 2001, local police have increasingly split their allegiance between local communities and regional and federal agencies that offer funding, so JBS is renewing its efforts to keep policing local.

A month ago The John Birch Society sent out more than 16,000 informational packets to every police chief, sheriff, and state patrol headquarters in the United States. Included in that packet was a reprint from The New American magazine that detailed the attacks on local police from various sources, each attack intended to diminish the credibility of local police. CEO Thompson expanded on the purpose of the SYLP project:

Our system of local police, responsible to the local citizens, is unique in the world. Most countries have a system of national police whose first loyalty is to the national government….

No country can become totalitarian as long as the local citizens have direct responsibility for and control of local police departments. It is one of our essential checks and balances.

While the efforts of Cato to explore and shed light into a relatively obscure part of the law-enforcement profession — the misconduct by a few of its members — are to be commended, it is hoped that they do not end there. Instead, Cato should recognize that they may be running dangerously close to promoting the same theme pushed by those seeking to separate the citizen from his local police department in their quest to create a national, or federal, police force.

In Nazi Germany, that police force was called the Gestapo.

 

3 comments

  • Comment Link scared Tuesday, 20 November 2012 22:17 posted by scared

    A Black Woman’s Testimony
    An African-American woman named Cynthia Johnson, has accused Blue Island Police officer Martin Robitz also known as “Marty” of using racial epithets against her. The incident, that allegedly happened in June of 2012, has sparked an outrage from some religious leaders and civil rights groups. Ms. Johnson has made a YouTube video explaining the incident, in which she is featured in silhouette and disguising her voice for fear of reprisal. She was surprised when a blog featured her story and identified her by name which she insists she did not in any way disclose. She says she now fears retaliation.
    She says the incident happened in June of this year at approximately 3:22pm on 120thstreet and Western Ave. in Blue Island, IL. She was traveling southbound when she was stopped by officer Marty Robitz who proceeded to request her license and proof of insurance. She was traveling at normal speed and observing all traffic laws and was puzzled as to why she was being stopped. She then asked officer Robitz why she was being stopped and he replied, “because I felt like it”. She stated to officer Robitz that she knows her rights and that he doesn’t have the right to stop her unless she has violated the traffic laws. Officer Robitz then said in a sarcastic tone, “what are you a lawyer now, shut the fuck up before I arrest you”. Cynthia said to the officer, “see you got me fucked up, I only got one mother and one father and they ain’t never talk to me like that so I damn sure ain’t about to let you disrespect me”. Officer Robitz then proceeded to ask Ms. Johnson to “step out the car”, she said, “for what”, he then reached inside, unlocked the door and began to grab Ms. Johnson by her arm and pull her out of her vehicle, simultaneously saying “I said step out the fucking car you stupid bitch”. He then threw her up against the car, handcuffed her and began to perform an illegal search of the vehicle. All the time Cynthia kept stating repeatedly, “I didn’t break no laws, I didn’t do nothing”. Officer Robitz then (jokingly) stated, “I stopped you cause I don’t like your fucking bumper sticker”, referring to the 2008 Obama/Biden bumper sticker she had on the back of her car. At this time another Blue Island police officer approached the scene, who although he was off duty and in plain clothes, he was later identified as Blue Island police officer Jason Sluzewicz. Officer Sluzewicz never got out of the vehicle that he was in but Officer Robitz approached his vehicle and proceeded to have a brief conversation with Officer Sluzewicz. Officer Sluzewicz asked Officer Robitz what’s going on, officer Robitz replied, “she wants to get her little black girl ghetto attitude, so I’m going to let her cool off in a cell for a while”. About two minutes after officer Robitz had that brief conversation with officer Sluzewicz, a call came through to the police radio and officer Robitz took the handcuffs off of Ms. Johnson, got into his police car, and speed off to what appeared to be a more important call. He gave no apologies for making his unlawful stop, no apologies for performing an illegal search, and no apologies for blatantly disrespecting Ms. Johnson as a human and as a black woman. Ms. Johnson stated, “I have never felt so disrespected in my entire life, when he put those handcuffs on me I thought it was over, I believe to this day, that if officer Robitz did not get that other call, he would have planted something on me or made up some false charge against me and just lied in court, and it would have been my word against his”.

    There was no reason for officer Robitz to even stop Ms. Johnson. The Blue Island Police Department needs to be investigated for their racial profiling and officer Martin Robitz needs to be brought to justice and fired. As for Officer Jason Sluzewicz (the off duty officer who came on the scene) he needs to be investigated too for his failure to report the racial epithets.

  • Comment Link Ross Wolf Friday, 01 June 2012 00:35 posted by Ross Wolf

    Germany in 1939 placed all German Police agencies including the Gestapo under the control of the “Reich Main Security Office” the equivalent of U.S. Homeland Security. Interestingly a Rand Report prepared for the U.S. Army, recently made public, appears to suggest U.S. Government develop a U.S. “National Police Stabilization Force merging State and local law enforcement with the Feds. What could happen to State Rights and what Laws and Jurisdiction would be used to prosecute state Citizens arrested by a National Police Stabilization Force? A National Police Force could potentially be sent by the President into any State against the wishes of its Citizens? To clarify the Rand Corporation report visit:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=122533 [4]

  • Comment Link Ross Wolf Friday, 01 June 2012 00:34 posted by Ross Wolf

    Germany in 1939 placed all German Police agencies including the Gestapo under the control of the “Reich Main Security Office” the equivalent of U.S. Homeland Security. Interestingly a Rand Report prepared for the U.S. Army, recently made public, appears to suggest U.S. Government develop a U.S. “National Police Stabilization Force merging State and local law enforcement with the Feds. What could happen to State Rights and what Laws and Jurisdiction would be used to prosecute state Citizens arrested by a National Police Stabilization Force? A National Police Force could potentially be sent by the President into any State against the wishes of its Citizens? To clarify the Rand Corporation report visit:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=122533 [4]

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