You wouldn't have caught me ever -- in the years Microsoft has been in business (I had a computer long before then) -- saying "thank you" to that software producer and echt Kapitalista. They got some points for elements of their operating systems. But once Windows 8 turned up-- the operating system from hell -- I was back in what I hear is a protest crowd the size of Ferguson's and then some.
But now Mircrosoft has gone and done something at once sensible and provocative. They have pulled away from ALEC, according to Talking Points Memo. That doesn't make up for the grunge that is Windows 8. But it helps.
The golden rules of police procedure that need to be reiterated and, above all, enforced, are:
Outfitting the police with video cams.
Making sure the cameras are used consistently.
And making the video -- all of it -- public record.
Really. It's so simple. Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post:
One policy that would go a long way toward achieving those three objectives is what defense attorney Scott Greenfield calls the missing video presumption. Currently, the courts generally treat important video that goes missing as a harmless mistake. They assume no ill will on the part of police. If you discover that the police were or should have been recording an encounter that would vindicate you of criminal charges or prove that the police violated your rights, and that video goes missing, you’re simply out of luck.
Under the missing video presumption, if under the policy agency’s police there should have been video and there isn’t, then the courts will assume that the video corroborates the party opposing the police, be it a criminal defendant or the plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit. The state could still get over the presumption by presenting other evidence, such as witnesses, medical reports, and so on. But if it’s the police officer’s word against his antagonist’s, there should be video to validate one side or the other, and that video mysteriously goes missing while in police custody, the police should have to pay a penalty in court. Otherwise, there’s just too strong an incentive for vindicating video to be leaked and for incriminating video to disappear. ...WaPo
While Americans are divided about the merits of the specific charges levelled against Perry, there is near-unanimous agreement that imprisoning politicians for ninety-nine years is an idea worth exploring further, a poll released on Monday indicates.
According to the poll, eighty-seven per cent of voters from both parties agreed that sending politicians to prison for such a lengthy period would “solve a lot of problems” and “make the country safer.” ...AndyBorowitz,NewYorker
Today on Brietbart.com, there’s an article about how appalling it is that some people set up a table in Ferguson to register voters. The executive director of the Missouri GOP says:
“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” they quote the executive director of the Missouri GOP saying. “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”
Imagine — registering people to vote! Disgusting. ...Waldman,WaPo
Though, mind you, the far right has something to worry about if more people vote. But we knew that already, thanks to the vicious efforts they've made over the years to close off access to the polling booth. "Change" isn't something conservatives find digestible.
Change certainly isn’t going to happen if we all agree to defer talk about the policy steps we can take to solve those problems until the media leaves Ferguson, everybody’s memory fades, and the urgency disappears. If we want to make crises like this less likely in the future, this is the best opportunity we have. ...Waldman,WaPo
Way premature. Maybe it's still only in our imagination, but we seem to hear the cracking and crunching of those huge media icebergs as the water gets a little too warm for 'em.
...An Oakland-based crowdfunding start-up called Beacon (not to be confused with the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative tabloid) is making it possible for members of the general public to support independent journalists in Ferguson. The site has raised nearly $4,000 for on-the-ground Ferguson coverage, and several journalists backed by the site have produced credible, competitive news stories. All of which has stirred some excitement about this innovative new model of paying for journalism. "Can we crowdfund breaking news?" asked a post on Beacon's blog. ...DailyIntel
We'll see. But we might want to consider setting up a museum to house, eventually, the awful, outdated, surgically-reconstructed, spiritually barren figures who've been giving us the corporate view of reality over the decades.
We allow the police (and government, too, for that matter) far too much latitude in deciding how much we should be "allowed" to know. San Diego police restrictions are good examples of the kind of secrecy we should not let pass.
An account -- from City Lab -- appears in the Washington Post.
Here in San Diego, our scandal-plagued police department has begun outfitting some officers with body cameras, and the City Council has approved a plan to roll out hundreds more.
Officers wearing the cameras were present during at least two shootings earlier this year. Yet we’re still not any closer to knowing what happened in those chaotic moments — whether the perpetrators can be easily identified, what kind of interactions the officers had with those present, nothing.
That’s because the department claims the footage, which is captured by devices financed by city taxpayers and worn by officers on the public payroll, aren’t public records. Our newsroom’s request for footage from the shootings under the California Public Records Act was denied.
Once footage becomes part of an investigation, the department says it doesn’t have to release them. SDPD also said during the pilot phase of the camera program that it doesn’t even have to release footage from the cameras after an investigation wraps.
I called the department Friday to see whether it’s updated any policies surrounding the cameras now that more are being doled out and the program is kicking into full swing.
“We have had very positive feedback from the officers who are using them in the field” but “there are no policy changes to the releasing of evidence from body cameras,” SDPD spokesman Kevin Mayer tells me in an email. ...CityLab,WaPo
Wait a minute! Police policies aren't something that can be created by top police officers and then foisted off on the public as a done deal. They are subject to the approval of the people. I have the crazy notion that the people wouldn't require the police to wear body cameras -- and pay for them -- unless the images from those were available for review.
We've been taking voting lightly these days. We vote, in ever smaller numbers, if we have time or if we feel like it. The next step down that road is abdication. We simply toss the job and the right to vote out in favor of handing responsibility over to government and the police to decide how to run things. We've seen the results in Ferguson and around the country.
One of the most depression aspects of the events in Ferguson has been the serial lying -- story-changing -- on the part of the police and local government. Ferguson has been, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, a "n0-fly" zone during the past week. Media helicopters have not been allowed to track events because "they might get shot at."
But the absence of those overhead images makes us more dependent on police accounts -- police accounts and justifications that have been demonstrably concocted to relieve the police of responsibility. No cameras. No verification. No touching base with reality. Just pay attention, please, and believe what the police tell us.
The official Ferguson accounts of events continue to change from telling to telling.
I don't know which is the dominant problem here, our racism or our self-delusion. The two feed each other.
Those layabout, gold-bricking "takers," the Phonesavah parents, who can't afford the medical bills for their child, grievously wounded in a raid on the wrong house, hoped the county would help with the medical bills. Really! Can you believe it? The chutzpa of these parents?
... Recall the mayor. Recall the city council. Elect new officials who will fire the police chief. Success is not guaranteed, but it is quite plausible and perhaps even likely. The whole lot of them could be tossed out.
My reading of the relevant Missouri law suggests the legal requirements could be met easily. Incompetence is grounds for recall. If city leaders in Ferguson don't now qualify as incompetents, who ever would? And as a Daily Kos author noted days ago, "Petitions must include the signatures of 25% of registered voters, which should not be too hard to do at this point." That would trigger a recall election. Turnout would presumably be high. Many blacks have been disenfranchised due to past convictions and attempts by GOP state legislators to depress voter turnout, but with this momentum, that obstacle isn't insurmountable. ...Conor Friedersdorf,Atlantic
And do it now, before incompentence blooms into cover-up.
Forget pressuring Ferguson's intransigent leaders and facing off against its policemen. Just replace them. Elect new leaders who pledge transparency on the matter of Brown's death and aggressive reforms of a police department that needs an overhaul. ...Conor Friedersdorf,Atlantic
[New York Medical Examiner Michael] Baden had other details: Brown was shot four times in the right arm and twice in the head. The shots seemed to have come from the front, except for one that had entered his body through the top of his head, as if he had been leaning forward. There were also reëntry wounds. The other bullet to his head hit him in the right eye and, according to the Times, “traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone.”
What does it mean to be shot leaning forward? “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer,” Baden told the Times. That is as succinct a summary of the divided views as one might get. The police and some witnesses have said that the first shot was at or in Wilson’s patrol car, where the two men struggled before Brown broke away. One witness, Tiffany Mitchell, has said that Wilson then fired his gun as Brown ran, and may have hit him. (“The kid’s body jerked as if he was hit from behind.”) She said that Brown then turned and tried to submit, but that Wilson kept firing. There is, however, no evidence of a shot in the back in the autopsy. (Nor is there word yet on whether six is the number of times Wilson fired his gun, or just the number of times he hit Brown. He might also have fired and missed.) At a press conference on Monday, Shawn Parcells, who assisted Baden in the autopsy, lifted his own arms to illustrate how, if Brown had his hands up and was surrendering, the bullet wounds would have ended up where they did.
Baden and Parcells emphasized that they weren’t able to see all of the photographs, reports, and other evidence that the police had collected. They really only had Brown’s body, which meant that, at times, they were guessing. ...AmyDavidson,NewYorker
Could Brown have survived the shooting?
County authorities, Wilson did not immediately call the shooting in or try to resuscitate Brown, and no E.M.T.s rushed him to the hospital. That raises the question of whether he might possibly have survived. Baden’s judgment is that he would not have. Four of the shots, or maybe five, were not definitively fatal. But, he said at a press conference, the sixth, the bullet through the top of Brown’s head, was one that no one could have survived. ...AmyDavidson,NewYorker