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Dec 12 2013

Brown people must be amazingly limber, I guess

It’s a clear case of suicide. Jesus Huerta died of a gunshot wound to the head. While in a police car. Handcuffed. With his hands cuffed behind his back.

A Durham teen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference.

Lopez held a 3 p.m. news conference and started by extending condolences to the family of Jesus Huerta, who died in a police cruiser in November. Huerta was 17.

He said the noise heard by the officer was a gunshot, and said it was a gunshot wound to the head.

Lopez said a handgun was found in the car and that Huerta was still handcuffed from behind. He said the wound was self-inflicted.

Mr Huerta’s amazing physical talents will be missed. To not only be able to contort his limbs in a way that I can’t even imagine, but to be able to make large metal objects mysteriously appear in his presence…he must have been the greatest magician who ever existed. A rival to Houdini.

At least we still have Chief Jose Lopez, who has to have the greatest poker face in the world to be able to make that announcement. Don’t ever play cards with him!

Besides, if you did win by some miracle, you might have an incredible accident afterwards.

79 comments

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  1. 1
    stanton

    Do American cops even care that they’re becoming even more corrupt and callous of human life than Mexican police, anymore?

  2. 2
    Jonathan Potter

    Self inflicted by virtue of being brown. Serves him right!

  3. 3
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I think I’m going to need Gil Grissom and a slow-motion CGI reconstruction to understand this one.

  4. 4
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    See, the Xians are right. Jesús works miracles.

  5. 5
    timgueguen

    Looking at the linked article it seems Durhan Police have a lot of trouble on their hands these days. If I were Chief Lopez I’d be thinking about early retirement, because he’s probably gonna be the fall guy when the brown really impacts the rotating thing.

  6. 6
    ChasCPeterson

    “The medical examiner’s office has confirmed that Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound to his head,” Lopez said. “Whether that wound was accidental or intentional is unknown at this time.”

    Lopez said Huerta was searched, and police are not sure where how [sic] he had the weapon.

    “I know that it is hard for people not in law enforcement to understand how someone could be capable of shooting themselves while handcuffed behind the back,” Lopez said. “While incidents like this are not common, they unfortunately have happened in other jurisdictions in the past.”

  7. 7
    Mike

    The fundamental premise of the story doesn’t bear up to logical thought. If the guy was talented enough to shoot himself in the head while handcuffed in a police car he surely would have used that talent to put himself outside the police car and hidden away from the prying eyes of John Law. Just sayin’ that kind of talent breeds confidence, not resignation. Obviously, the young man would not have been at risk for suicide.

  8. 8
    A. Noyd

    Mike (#7)

    If the guy was talented enough to shoot himself in the head while handcuffed in a police car he surely would have used that talent to put himself outside the police car and hidden away from the prying eyes of John Law.

    Well, I don’t trust the police, but they’re not claiming he shot himself in the head on purpose. Hypothetically, it makes sense that someone could kill himself for want of talent in such a situation.

    It makes more sense that the cops are lying fuckfaces, though.

  9. 9
    robro

    Southern Blacks have long had an amazing ability to shoot themselves while handcuffed in police cars. Also, Southern cops are careless. They don’t properly search for weapons and they are known for leaving their guns lying around just any old where.

  10. 10
    beatgroover

    I live right next to Durham and work there, I can definitely see the police corruption working in this scenario. Durham is known for having some of the highest crime rates in the area and (shocker) the police here are callous, cynical, and very aggressive. I’m would not be surprised if it comes out that they shot the kid and covered it up. North Carolina police have earned a reputation for being murderers lately: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/16/justice/north-carolina-police-shooting-ferrell-attorney/

  11. 11
    left0ver1under

    Suicide was the “conclusion” Scotland Yard reached in the death Roberto Calvi, after he was found hanged under a London bridge with rocks in his pockets and hands tied behind his back.

  12. 12
    barbyau

    This is one of those issues that drive me crazy as it gets argued because the people who might want to take the cop’s side still will not acknowledge one fundamental thing:

    Absolutely everything the cop and this department offer up as an explanation for the situation still fails to be an adequate explanation for why this happened.

    If an officer is so incompetent he cannot remove a gun from a handcuffed suspect, he should not be on the streets. He is a danger to himself, his partner, and nearby citizens. There will never be an easier situation for a cop to search and remove a weapon from a suspect they are handling. Don’t tell me cops regularly sit in a car in front of suspects they think could pull a gun and start shooting.

    Even if we take everything they say at face value, this cop should lose his job. And of course, the odds of the cop’s story being true are very, very slim.

  13. 13
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @robro #9:

    Also, Southern cops are careless. They don’t properly search for weapons and they are known for leaving their guns lying around just any old where.

    Last year in Minneapolis…

    Article w/video: Drunk, unhandcuffed man pulled gun from his pants while in Metro Transit police squad car

  14. 14
    timgueguen

    Looking at it my use of the term brown in my comment here could be misinterpreted or otherwise be considered problematic. Apologies to anyone who might be offended.

  15. 15
    ekwhite

    I learned back in the ’70s that the police were not my friends. That is doubly true of NC cops.

  16. 16
    MJP

    “I know that it is hard for people not in law enforcement to understand how someone could be capable of shooting themselves while handcuffed behind the back,” Lopez said. “While incidents like this are not common, they unfortunately have happened in other jurisdictions in the past.”

    That just means cops in other jurisdictions have used this same bullshit excuse before.

  17. 17
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I wanted to add something to this discussion, but I have lost all ability to can.

  18. 18
    sparkles

    And here we go with people automatically convicting a white cop of murder, just because of they are white and zomgggg privilege!!!11!!one!!.

    You don’t know the facts, so speculate all you want, but you DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

    Oh, I forgot. Skepticism is a joke only used by “MRA’s” or some bullshit strawmen that people put up because they’d rather cry “racism” instead of waiting for details and facts. Right.

    And below, you will see many, many folks go on about how “white, cis, non-otherkin, non-demihomosexual, non-fully male misogynistic” feelings make any opinion is completely wrong.

    You’ll be offended if you’re a non-civilian who has never left the house and believes everything ever posted on the internet. Deal with it.

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

  19. 19
    throwaway

    I just have one thing to say to you sparkles: Bayesian prior.

  20. 20
    throwaway

    I mean, that is in response to your charge of “Where’s the skepticism?!?”

  21. 21
    borax

    @15 ekwhite. Truth. I’m a NC native and I can honestly say we have some of the most corrupt cops. When I walk home from the local bar, I’m not afraid of getting mugged; I’m afraid of running into a cop.

  22. 22
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You don’t know the facts, so speculate all you want, but you DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

    Until you have some pseudoskeptic, shut the fuck up. Your pseudoskeptic schtick is full of bullshit.

  23. 23
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    they’d rather cry “racism” instead of waiting for details and facts.

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and is a stupid as a duck, it must be a duck. The published facts don’t favor your pseudo skepticism, which doesn’t include the behavior of AUTHORITY, namely white cops.

  24. 24
    Jafafa Hots

    I’m glad Sparkles is here because I need to ask – did I imagine my own false arrest and the police report full of lies?

    Or was I just biased against them for not believing what they claimed I was doing that I wasn’t doing?

  25. 25
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    people automatically convicting a white cop of murder

    look, sparkles. I’m feeling honest fucking grief. And you come along and make yet another bullshit statement that bears no resemblance to real life.

    “people” do not convict people of murder in the USA, “juries” and, occasionally with the consent of the defendant, “judges” do. “People” opine on the internet in ways such as:

    If an officer is so incompetent he cannot remove a gun from a handcuffed suspect, he should not be on the streets. He is a danger to himself, his partner, and nearby citizens. There will never be an easier situation for a cop to search and remove a weapon from a suspect they are handling.

    and

    I learned back in the ’70s that the police were not my friends. That is doubly true of NC cops.

    and

    I live right next to Durham and work there, I can definitely see the police corruption working in this scenario. Durham is known for having some of the highest crime rates in the area and (shocker) the police here are callous, cynical, and very aggressive. I’m would not be surprised if it comes out that they shot the kid and covered it up.

    and

    Southern Blacks have long had an amazing ability to shoot themselves while handcuffed in police cars. Also, Southern cops are careless. They don’t properly search for weapons and they are known for leaving their guns lying around just any old where.

    and

    It makes more sense that the cops are lying fuckfaces, though.

    and more.

    The one statement that even sounds definitive about “knowing” what happened rather than giving evidence of hypothesis testing against facts (as the last of the above series plainly does) or making statements about individual’s assessments of the general trends in reliability of police, is the following:

    That just means cops in other jurisdictions have used this same bullshit excuse before.

    But even here, while it’s clear that the author MJP is pissed at the “bullshit excuse” it is not at all clear what the bullshit excuse is for. Is it to deflect blame away from the incompetent police officer that can’t find a gun on a calm, handcuffed suspect? Is it to deflect blame away from a police officer that shot the suspect in incoherent rage? Is it to deflect blame away from a corrupt police department with a pattern of cold-blooded murder as a response to crimes in which the cop fears evidence may be inadequate?

    We don’t know, and the most likely answer – the MJP would freely acknowledge not knowing the exact misdeed covered up by this excuse while maintaining that no matter the misdeed that lead to the death, neither malice nor incompetence are acceptable when they lead to the death of a handcuffed suspect – is totally ignored by you because you know what everyone is thinking, everywhere in the world, all at once.

    Look, Mr TruSkeptic, I hate to break it to you, but you have ***zero evidence*** that any cop will be placed in jail for 25-to-life because MJP used the phrase “bullshit excuse”.

    Internet opinion is not legal conviction – for murder or anything else. Moreover, your assertion that race of cop has anything to do with the content of comments in this thread is utterly unevidence. The word “white” was not mentioned on this thread until you came along.

    Might I just suggest that making shit up is not TruSkeptic behavior and maybe you should take your ass out of this thread where people are pissed and grieving before you get it handed back to you, painfully, on a fucking platter.

    Your rant-with-an-agenda that has no basis in this thread is as offensive as F. It will not be tolerated gracefully.

  26. 26
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Naked Bunny @3:
    Umm, sorry, Horatio Caine is on the case already.

  27. 27
    smrnda

    Actually sparkes, events like these do reduce the chance of people contacting the police if a crime occurs. I know quite a few Black people who live on the south side of Chicago. One woman I know was robbed, and she did not want to involve the police because letting a cop into your home is a huge risk, given that cops do *magically find drugs you didn’t have.* You might want to find out what the mistrust of police does to the propensity of non-white people to call the cops. Or maybe why many rapes don’t get reported to the cops? Ever read how cops have been shooting unarmed Black and brown people having medical emergencies?

  28. 28
    Rey Fox

    So I guess we have a resident cop kisser now.

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    I don’t see why it is at all hypocritical to call the police in an emergency while still being aware that quite a lot of them are corrupt murdering scumbags.

    And below, you will see many, many folks go on about how “white, cis, non-otherkin, non-demihomosexual, non-fully male misogynistic” feelings make any opinion is completely wrong.

    You’re babbling.

  29. 29
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    sparkles:
    I don’t have the patience to deal with you again, so just fuck off.

  30. 30
    lorn

    I can almost imagine it happening.

    There you are, handcuffed in the back of a police car. You are sitting in the usual position and with hands behind you, pretty much trapped between your body and and the car seat. You remember that there is a small handgun tucked into the back of your pants. Somehow the police missed it. Perhaps they had migrated, or been pushed down into the underwear. You figure that you want to get to the gun to: Hide it so you don’t get charged with illegal possession of a firearm, or make a play for freedom. Suicide isn’t out of the question.

    But to make any of those plans happen you need to get hold of the gun and you need room. You gain clearance by arching your back and pressing your head back into the seat. Then, somehow, complicated by typical police procedure to cuff the hands back to back, you fumble for the gun. Unable to really grip it you end up spinning the gun so it is still in your waistband but with the barrel pointing up. A second flurry of fumbling gets your hand down your waistband and, with a little fine tuning, unaware of what you are doing, you get your finger into the trigger guard and the gun goes off. Pointing up with butt pushed out, back arched, and head pulled back to get your body off the car seat the head is in the line of fire.

    The physical evidence would make what happened pretty obvious. There would be powder burns, and/or residue up the back, and up the car seat, on the prisoners hands. It would be a distinctive pattern.

    Of course, none of this is in evidence.

    As a matter of course it is usually better to wait for all the reports to be finalized. Most of the confusion around 9/11, what would become grist for the conspiracy mills that are still spinning, was a result of unconfirmed early reports and bits taken out of context. Let the dust settle first.

  31. 31
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Tony #26:

    Horatio Caine is on the case already.

    He called me. He wanted to to tell you:

    His arms were cuffed behind his back? This is a suspicious death…

    :cough: oops, excuse me these sunglasses are bothering my eyes. Okay. There we go:

    hands down.

  32. 32
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    And here we go with people automatically convicting a white cop of murder, just because of they are white and zomgggg privilege!!!11!!one!!.

    Could somebody please eyplain to me why I’m constantly on Jury duty n the internet?
    I’m not even a citizen of the USA!

    But yeah, there’s never anything suspicious about non-white people dying in police custody.
    I remember a case here where a black man was arrested and then burned in the cell. While bound at hand and feet.
    Somehow he had nothing on him but his firelighter, everything else had been taken by the police. And somehow the he had that stored in a place where the police couldn’t find it, but he could reach it while handcuffed (and by handcuffed I mean tied with plastic). And then when the police heard him scream over the intercom they turned off the intercom.
    And when the smoke detectors went off they turned off these as well.
    And then it got filed as a tragic accident caused by the guy who had burned to death.
    It took a lot of outrage to even get a trial where they got convictet of negligence

  33. 33
    Jafafa Hots

    Hell, even if you’re handcuffed and face-down on the ground and the COP shoots you in the back, and the cops try to confiscate all cell phones that might have video or photos of the event, it’s NOT the cops’ fault, doncha know. Just a sad accident for poor Oscar Grant.

    Sell your authoritarian bullshit somewhere else, Sparkles.
    I’ve already had a lifetime supply.

  34. 34
    vortmax

    Oh hey, this happened in Jonesboro, Arkansas last year too! After TWO searches, Chavis Carter somehow managed to retrieve a gun that the cops missed, and shoot himself, while his hands were cuffed behinds his back. Amazing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/opinion/blow-the-curious-case-of-chavis-charter.html?_r=0

  35. 35
    Artor

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    Seriously, no. The police are the LAST people I would call in an emergency. They have a tendency to turn emergencies into tragedies, as they seem eager to taze, beat or shoot anyone who looks like trouble. Forgot your meds? That’s a shootin! Medical alert went off accidentally? Ka-blam! Your kid took your car without permission? Sayonara, son!
    Call the fire department, or an ambulance if you need, but don’t ever call the cops if you can avoid it. They’re not there to help you.

  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    Yes, I would
    A) I live in a different country where the police is not quite as fucked up.
    B) I’m an educated middle class straight white cis woman. I have a fuckton of privilege which means that most cops are “on my side” by default and the others know that I spell trouble in case they try to fuck with me.
    This doesn’t mean that I turn a blind eye towards the injustices and the racism perpetuated by the police in general.

  37. 37
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Addendum:
    The noticable exception to the above would be rape, sexual assault and domestic violence commited by a white man, because these things would automatically put me into the caregory of “other”. I would think several times before calling the cops in such a case.

  38. 38
    SallyStrange

    Sparkles! You still there? Just checking. Didn’t want you floating off into a mist of fizzy buzzwords.

  39. 39
    throwaway

    I mentioned Bayesian priors. I’d like to back it up with this stirring video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Wf8y_5Yn4

    This is freality for PoC and anyone (I’m looking in sparkles’ general direction here) who claims race-baiting, or reverse racism, or any of that shit, are simply not tuned into this due to their privilege to: discount it, ignore it, and never experience it. Shut up and listen.

  40. 40
    Inaji

    sparkles:

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    Goodness me, you fair shine with a sparkly coating of shit! Back when we lived in SLC, we lived in a very bad part of town. After I was threatened to my face by gang members (who promised to blow up my house), guess what we didn’t do? Call the cops. People who mistrust police generally have very good reasons to do so.

  41. 41
    ralfmuschall

    There was a much worse case in Dessau, Germany a few years ago. If police is right, a refugee from Sierra Leone committed “suicide” by burning himself as follow: Having a smashed skull, being unconscious, being bound with his hands to a bedframe, laying on a fireproof mattress he managed to set the mattress ablaze using a lighter without touching that lighter. See http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oury_Jalloh (the english article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Oury_Jalloh does not yet mention the recent expert’s report).

  42. 42
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I’m really enjoying Sparkles claiming to be a skeptic at #18. If an identical situation were to occurr in which, if it were proven to be murder, the person going to jail for it wasn’t a cop, do you think Sparkles would believe, even for a second, that the victim managed to shoot himself?! Like fuck they would. And yet Sparkles is the Reel Troo Skeptic™, and we’re all idiots.

    You don’t know the facts, so speculate all you want, but you DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

    But we do know the facts, you moron. We know that this man was sat in the back of a cop car with his hands cuffed behind his back, and was shot in the head and died. Those are the facts. Now, it is possible that the arresting officers were entirely incompetent and failed to properly search him for weapons (in which case they still deserve to be disciplined), and that Jesus Huerta is some sort of contortionist who managed to draw his cleverly concealed weapon and shoot himself in the head despite the fact he was in the back of a car with his hands cuffed behind his back (I really can’t stress that latter part enough). I will concede that it is possible. But switch your fucking brain on for a moment… is it probable? How likely is it that it really was self-inflicted? What kind of idiot looks at that story and says “Yeah, I can believe that”? For fuck sake.

  43. 43
    dõki

    Reminds me of Geoff Berner’s recording of Daloy Polizei.

    * * *

    sparkles

    people automatically convicting a white cop of murder, just because of they are white

    Any reason in particular to be believe the officer in question is white?

    you DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

    Unless multiple news sources and the police department are lying, we know someone died in police custody. We know this is not how things are supposed to go. I expect you to know that too.

    You’ll be offended if you’re a non-civilian who has never left the house and believes everything ever posted on the internet. Deal with it.

    “Non-civilian”?… What?

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    I still think this is a sloppy argument. How does “I am beyond criticism and public scrutiny” follow from “you’ll need me in the future”?

  44. 44
    Bronze Dog

    Wow. Sparkles really brings the stupid. Like some other knee-jerk cop-lovers I’ve seen, it seems to me that he’s trying to pass off something like detective genre savvy as real life skepticism. In detective fiction, it’s never the simple, obvious answer, therefore there must be some elaborate scheme to frame the guy, or some really bizarre accident/suicide that just happens to make someone look guilty of murder. Anyone who thinks the first guy arrested for the crime doesn’t understand literature.

    But this isn’t literature. This is real life. Real skepticism favors prior plausibility over narrative convention. Which is more likely? A) Someone who presumably had been searched and handcuffed managed to retrieve a hidden gun and shoot himself in the head, an incredible feat or an escape attempt that ended in a bizarre accident or B) a murder of a minority by a corrupt cop in a country with a history of corrupt cops who get away with murdering minorities?

  45. 45
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    sparkles @18

    Heh.

    Thank you for that perfect demonstration of:

    A) How there is literally nothing done by a privileged person against a minority member that won’t be excused by privileged people who want to prop up systems of power. Nothing. No matter how outlandish or obvious, there will always be a line of people to defend it and argue that we should accept dominant narratives simply because it is an act of abuse against a non-privileged member. So of course handcuffed criminals commit suicide all the time with bullets to the head and of course Trayvon Martin’s skittles were a direct threat to life and limb and of course white South Africans had cause to fear the dangerous terrorist Mandela and imprison and beat him for years and so on.

    B) How said reflexive defenders will be quick to exploit desires among non-privileged members to be “fair” in order to demand that everyone help prop up systems of enforced silence.

    And of course, C) how those who claim to be skeptics are full of fucking shit and just think appeals to science will work better to prop up systems of oppression than appeals to religion. And that is demonstrated quite ably by the bizarre assertion that it would be the most “skeptical” course of action to assume a near-impossible official story from an authority with evidence of bad behavior and a habit of lying outright. Cause conspiracy theories and bizarre convoluted apologetics for God… I mean, racist systems of oppression are totes the true expression of skepticism you guys. I mean, you don’t know that that spoon didn’t bend itself! Why aren’t we practicing good skepticism, you guys!

    So brava! Can’t wait for your next performance of “my very existence discredits the institutions I seek to defend”.

  46. 46
    Rey Fox

    Brave Sir Sparkles ran away, just like on the other thread. We’re just too bullying, you see. What with our sarcasm, our logic, our justified anger.

    To say nothing of our night sticks, tasers, military-grade armor and weaponry, unwavering support from pandering politicians…

  47. 47
    jhuger

    We have laws that say that when someone is injured during the commission of a crime it’s the suspect’s fault, even if the injury is caused by the cops. For example, if the cops open fire on a suspect and hit a bystander then the suspect can be charged with assault on the bystanders.

    It seems only fair then that we should hold cops responsible for anything that happens to a suspect in custody, even if the cops don’t actually cause it. (or can’t be proved to cause it).

  48. 48
    LykeX

    I wouldn’t mind the blatant cheerleading or the running away from the arguments if at least he’d agree to not lie outright about what other people are saying.

    E.g. we do most certainly know at least some of the facts and the ones we know immediately make the official explanation look very suspicious. It’s possible that more information could change that, but that doesn’t make it unreasonable to make a preliminary judgment based on the information available now.

    How does “I am beyond criticism and public scrutiny” follow from “you’ll need me in the future”?

    Through the implicit threat that if you’re known as a vocal critic of the police, they might decide not to show up when you need them. Of course, that’s hardly an argument for why the police should be considered honest and trustworthy.

  49. 49
    Gregory Greenwood

    A couple of threads back we get a White kid from a rich family who killed four people due to driving while under the influence of drugs and got off pretty much free and clear because his parents hired a psychologist to blame their own incompetent parenting, and yet here we find a young man of a darker hue who, according to the not-at-all-corrupt police, miraculously managed to shoot himself in the head in a police car (while his hands were cuffed behind his back) with a gun he apparently swallowed before hand and then regurgitated on que.

    Sadly, that is pretty much the modern American law enforcement and justice system in a nut shell, isn’t it?

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Sparkles @ 18;

    Hmmm, lets see…

    Only partial use of all caps, a little mid-grade word-salad babbling, but ending quite reasonably with a poorly veiled threat that not trusting the police, no matter how justified your misgivings may be, will come back to haunt you.

    Not too bad for a freshman effort, but lets be honest, shall we – you aren’t really in the top tier of trolls, now are you?

    I award you one tenth of a Timecube. Try harder.

  50. 50
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re 47:

    It seems only fair then that we should hold cops responsible for anything that happens to a suspect in custody, even if the cops don’t actually cause it. (or can’t be proved to cause it).

    “Police Brutality” has been repealed????

    Wasn’t “… Brutality” the reason for the “Miranda Rights”? Since cops would previously beat the suspect until he confessed (even if falsely, just to make them stop)?

    Yes, it is *technically* still on the books, but seems to be never enforced, nor even mentioned or talked about.

  51. 51
    dianne

    Here we go with a bunch of people who hate police but will be the first to call them in the event of an emergency!

    I don’t hate the police. Know what I hate? Abuse of authority. Not only does it kill people, it also makes life harder for every honest authority figure of any sort, particularly members of the same profession. Do you think this sort of episode doesn’t make it harder for every honest or even semi-honest police officer out there?

    Let’s suppose that in this particular case the officers in question are guilty of nothing but not searching the suspect well. How much harder will it be for them to prove their relative innocence to a jury that is jaded and expecting the police to abuse suspects (because they do frequently)?

    Police officers, EMTs, medical personnel, politicians and others who have authority over people and the potential to make life changing decisions for others as part of their jobs SHOULD be held to a high standard of honesty and behavior. Every death in police custody should be investigated as potentially suspicious, as should every allegation of abuse, every pattern of behavior that could be suspicious (i.e. do minorities get stopped more often?) Some, ideally most, will be unfounded: the suspect really did manage to shoot himself, the allegation of abuse was nonsense, the statistics renormalized next month, etc. But better to investigate all and clear those who are innocent than to allow corrupt and dangerous police to continue to be part of the force, create suspicion between the police and the community, and endanger both police and civilians.

  52. 52
    dõki

    LykeX (#48) : I thought sparkles’s argument was more of the type “You’re all hypocrites!!!” but yours is too a fair interpretation. Also, a scarier one.

    * * *

    jhuger #47

    It seems only fair then that we should hold cops responsible for anything that happens to a suspect in custody,

    Okay, now I realize I may have started from a wrong assumption. I don’t know if I’m reading this right, but are you saying that letting a prisoner die through negligence is legal [in the US]? Now, if this is the case, it sounds like an easy venue for abuse.

    There was a famous case of state-sponsored murder in Brazil in 1975 when a journalist suspected of being linked to dissidents “killed himself” while in custody. Of course, it was impossible for him to have committed suicide under those circumstances, but the excuse that they didn’t have to make a minimal effort to guarantee the detainee’s safety allowed the murderers to walk free. Making officers responsible at least in cases of gross negligence would probably make things safer for everybody.

  53. 53
    Bronze Dog

    I don’t know if I’m reading this right, but are you saying that letting a prisoner die through negligence is legal [in the US]? Now, if this is the case, it sounds like an easy venue for abuse.

    Like many issues involving privilege and authority, it’s a difference between de facto and de jure. On paper, police are supposed to be responsible for many things we’d expect them to be. In practice, bad cops run wild and we’re lucky if they get their wrists slapped on occasion.

  54. 54
    Rich Woods

    @Giliell #36:

    A) I live in a different country where the police is not quite as fucked up.
    B) I’m an educated middle class straight white cis woman. I have a fuckton of privilege which means that most cops are “on my side” by default and the others know that I spell trouble in case they try to fuck with me.

    Well, that’s nothing! I’m an educated middle class straight white cis man. My privilege beats yours, any day of the week. Oh, I feel so good now…

    </snark>

  55. 55
    U Frood

    I bet he also was talented enough to not get any blood in the car.

  56. 56
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Actually Sparkles, there is a reason that “cop callers” are not welcome in certain neighborhoods and it isn’t because the cops are so nice and helpful. If you’ve never had a bad experience with the police, you’re lucky. You’re also most likely white, straight and not poor.

  57. 57
    JamesY2

    Sparkles:

    The reason we think (note: not convict, just think) this guy was murdered isn’t privilege. The reason we think he was murdered is that the alternative is that he:

    1) concealed a gun in such a way that the police couldn’t find it while searching him,
    2) shot himself in the head with said gun despite being restrained in such a way as to make that difficult, and
    3) disposed of the gun such that the police couldn’t find it afterward despite having been shot in the freaking head.

  58. 58
    Jessa

    sparkles @18:

    And here we go with people automatically convicting a white cop of murder, just because of they are white and zomgggg privilege!!!11!!one!!.

    You don’t know the facts, so speculate all you want, but you DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

    Helpful tip: before you go on a tirade about how we DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS, you might want to check that the poor maligned white cop is, in fact, actually white. (I know that dõki pointed that out upthread, but it bears repeating.)

    As for FACTS: here’s the official statement from the DPD. Even if you assume that the statement is a fair representation of what happened and accept the explanation that is most charitable to the cop, you’re still left with a cop who managed not to find a gun on Huerta during his search. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the competence of the Durham police.

  59. 59
    ohdanigal

    I live in Durham, North Carolina. In the late summer of this year I was having dinner at a small restaurant located within a mile of where this incident happened. I had parked my motorcycle in full view of the bar, through the large door which was open. As I was getting my gear on to leave I was assaulted by a man.

    I did not call the police because I didn’t wish them to be involved. What do you think would happen if a lesbian, trans woman who rides motorcycles were to report an assault by a cis man? My bet is that I’d have been the one arrested for being the victim of assault.

  60. 60
    gregorymccourt

    Anyone saying that it’s impossible for someone to shoot themselves in the head with their hands cuffed behind their back, try acting it out yourself. It is neither impossible not particularly difficult for a reasonably flexible person. Here’s an article with a video showing just how easy it would be.
    http://www.localmemphis.com/news/local/story/Family-of-Chavis-Carter-Not-Convinced-by-Re/d/story/9RvMUpsJHUWLETANYZDa8g
    If you don’t think that’s what happened, that’s fine. If you’re claiming that it’s physically impossible though, you’re completely and demonstrably wrong and you should stop making that claim.

  61. 61
    rnilsson

    Hey gregory, can we see your demonstration please?
    Without the gun available (since you would have been searched beforehand) and with the gun found out of reach after the fact?
    Put the cam on auto. (Pro tip)

  62. 62
    gregorymccourt

    Hey milson, not sure exactly what you mean there. Did you have trouble loading the video I linked to or are you just trying to be a jerk by telling people who disagree with you to kill themselves?
    I didn’t say anything about being able to find a gun or not. The only thing I commented on was whether it was physically possible for someone to shoot get a gun to their head with their hands cuffed behind their back. It is possible, and not particularly difficult, and anyone who implies that it’s impossible is mistaken.

  63. 63
    sparkles

    Non-stop straw men + ad-hominem/demonization of opposing viewpoints? Check. Trying to make out opposing viewpoint providers as uneducated children? Check. No actual argument except silliness mentioned in the previous sentences? Check. Suggesting suicide for those with disagreeing viewpoints? Check.

    Not sure how the big bad white man arresting a black man who shot himself on accident gives reason to suggest that a commenter should kill themselves.

    And yes, a cop did not find a gun on someone. Good fucking job. Wonderful. You’ve cracked the case, this is serious racism. Have you ever lost your keys? Not been able to find them? Find them in your own pocket? Countless co-workers of mine have. Ranging from food-service, retail, to high-level software. If you have, then that makes you a racist.

    That’s your argument. A cop didn’t find a gun. Just as you, or someone you know and love, has lost their keys in their own pocket and couldn’t find them.

    I’d say, try harder, but you’d just suggest I kill myself with a gun, as opposed to something lighter. How wonderful of you “skeptics”.

  64. 64
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Trying to make out opposing viewpoint providers as uneducated children? Check. No actual argument except silliness mentioned in the previous sentences? Check.

    Why are you describing your own fuckwittery, fuckwitted idjit. You haven’t presented one iota of evidence to back your fuckwitted claims. Typical of bigoted losers

    That’s your argument.

    You don’t have an argument. Attitude isn’t an argument. It is your idiocy talking. What evidence do you present to back your fuckwittery? Nothing.

    http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3956.Christopher_Hitchens

    That link is evidence nothing but attitude loser.

  65. 65
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gack, link is # 64 is to “That which is asserted without evidence (everything Sparkles says) can be dismissed without evidence.” Wonder why nobody believes an evidenceless fool like you Sparkles? Lose the attitude, gain real evidence. Or shut the fuck up.

  66. 66
    gregorymccourt

    So long as we all agree that getting a gun to your head while your hands cuffed behind your back is not difficult. PZ is flat-out wrong for suggesting otherwise (I’m not even touching the bizarrely racist way he goes about expressing that).

  67. 67
    chigau (違う)

    gregorymccourt
    Since your issue is with PZ, why not just email him directly?
    This thread is all about sparkles.

  68. 68
    LykeX

    @gregorymccourt
    I’d need to see a much better video than that to be convinced of anything, one way or the other. It’s not at all clear enough to see relevant details. E.g. the degree of rotation possible within the cuff. I can’t tell if the officer in the demonstration has rotated his hand or not. There’s just not enough detail to tell.
    This is a relevant question because if the cuffs are tight enough to prevent such rotation, they might prevent the very movement needed to angle the gun. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about cuffs to be sure.

    Moreover, it does look difficult. Maybe not impossible, but certainly something that requires a fair bit of flexibility and maneuvering around. That raises the question of what the officers were doing while all that was going on in the back. Don’t they keep an eye on their prisoners?

  69. 69
    gregorymccourt

    Just because it’s physically possible (and easy) to get a gun to your head with hands cuffed behind your back doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what happened in this instance. I just hate seeing people assuming it’s impossible and basing their conclusions on that false premise.

  70. 70
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I just hate seeing people assuming it’s impossible and basing their conclusions on that false premise.

    And I just hate people trying excuse bad behavior by police.

  71. 71
    gregorymccourt

    I said nothing about the behaviour of the police or any aspect of this case other than that the physical motions required to shoot oneself in the head with hands cuffed behind the back are neither impossible not exceptional.
    Without changing the subject, do you agree with me on that point?

  72. 72
    dõki

    sparkles

    the big bad white man arresting a black man who shot himself on accident

    FFS, sparkles, you could at least read the article to see who the people involved actually are before engaging in your quest to defend the white race against smear.

    Have you ever lost your keys? Not been able to find them? Find them in your own pocket?

    Yes. Yes. No.

    Also, I never had a gun in my pocket, but I think I’d remember if I put one there.

    Countless co-workers of mine have. Ranging from food-service, retail, to high-level software.

    I can’t express how glad I am that not you nor any of your co-workers are cops. Not so thrilled to realize you were here not to defend the police, but rather because you feel the instictive need to outright dismiss any charges of racism, real or imaginary.

  73. 73
    chigau (違う)

    In all those “re enactment” videos, it looks to me like the perp got the gun from between the seat cushions of the cop-car.

  74. 74
    ChasCPeterson

    having been for real handcuffed behind my back in the back of a squad car recently (within the last year)(I was observed smoking a joint in Times Square before a Railroad Earth concert, if you must know)(thrown in a holding cell while they checked my records and then released in time to make the second set)(had to go to court a month later but got off without even a fine), I can tell you for a fact that I could not have managed those contortions. No wrist rotation was possible even after I asked nicely to loosen them a notch, and I was a polite middle-aged white guy.

  75. 75
    chigau (違う)

    Chas
    It’s because you ain’t no Vin Diesel.
    (or whoever it was they hired for the “re enactments”)

  76. 76
    gregorymccourt

    Wrist rotation isn’t necessary. Guns work just fine upside down. Try it at home with a piece of string and a hair drier if you’re not sure.

  77. 77
    chigau (違う)

    gregorymccourt
    You are very strange.

  78. 78
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    sparkles:

    Why are you so quick to defend the police (once again)?
    Police brutality is real and devastating. It also has multiple cause.
    One of which is racism.

    Numerous doctrines, such as federalism, separation of powers, causation, deference, discretion, and burden of proof have been cited as partial explanations for the judiciaries’ fragmented pursuit of police misconduct. However, there is also evidence that courts cannot or choose not to see systemic patterns in police brutality.[6] Other factors that have been cited as encouraging police brutality include institutionalized systems of police training, management, and culture; a criminal-justice system that discourages prosecutors from pursuing police misconduct vigorously; a political system that responds more readily to police than to the residents of inner-city and minority communities; and a racist political culture that fears crime and values tough policing more than it values due process for all its citizens.[7] It is believed that without substantial social change, the control of police deviance is improbable at best

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_brutality_in_the_United_States#Public_reaction
    [emphasis mine]

    Note that no one is saying that all police are evil.
    Nor has anyone said that all police are corrupt or engage in brutal beatings of suspects.

    However, the *fact* remains that this shit does happen.
    People are beaten, often unjustifiably.
    People are killed, often unjustifiably.

    If you can work past your love for authoritarianism, you could do the research on your own, but that’s obviously too much work for you.

    Rights Working Group Member, Colorado Progressive Coalition, (CPC) has just released its Truth and Justice Report, which tells the collective narrative of racial profiling and police violence in Colorado.

    Much of the report was gathered through stories of racial profiling and police misconduct that were obtained through the relaunching of CPC’s Racial Justice Hotline.

    The findings include: 65 percent of community members reported being racially profiled; 39 percent reported being injured by police and 30 percent reported being unjustifiably stopped.

    The report, which was released in mid-February, shows that racial profiling continues to be a significant problem in Colorado. It chronicles the ways in which police misconduct has permanently impacted lives, while documenting numerous police assaults, including attacks with fists, flashlights, tazers.

    “Many of our community members wear the scars of police assault, others have lost their lives and many more lives have been irreparably harmed through incarceration, deportation and trauma,” the report states.
    http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/content/truth-and-justice-report-reveals-extensive-racial-profiling-and-police-brutality-co

    Perhaps you’d like to expand your knowledge of racial profiling in police departments in the US. If so, here you go: https://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/racial-profiling

    Maybe you only trust scholarly articles. If that’s the case, try this:

    Because racial profiling is discriminatory, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes a multifaceted effort is required to address the problem. State ACLU affiliates and other civil rights advocates have brought lawsuits based on a showing of discrimination by law enforcement agencies, but legal action is only a beginning. Legislation at Federal and State levels and local voluntary efforts can advance the momentum to collect accurate data on the problem and control overzealous and sometimes illegal law enforcement practices. The pervasiveness of racial profiling by the police in drug law enforcement is the result of an escalation in the war on drugs. Drug use and drug selling are not confined to racial and ethnic minorities; in fact, five times as many whites use drugs. The war on drugs, however, has targeted people of color and skin color has now become a proxy for criminality. Consequences of racial profiling in law enforcement are evident in the demographics of the prison population. For example, blacks constitute 13 percent of drug users in the United States, 37 percent of those arrested on drug charges, 55 percent of those convicted, and 74 percent of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Media coverage of racial profiling is also prominent, as indicated in numerous cited examples. Further, statistical evidence collected in the course of ACLU lawsuits shows a clear pattern of racially discriminatory traffic stops and searches.

    There really is no excuse for your continued ignorance in this matter.
    If you want to participate in this conversation, it would behoove you to comment less and read more.

  79. 79
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    It wasn’t my research, it was delivered in a talk I attended long ago, so I can’t cite any proof. I can say, however, that if my word is any good, one credible researcher found about 12-15 years ago (with the lecture based on the research 11 or 12 years ago) that the the largest risk factors for battery by cop were refusal to respond appropriately to questions or instructions, and refusal to drop something large and solid enough to be used as a weapon, or something which normally functions as a weapon, or a knife which by its design – whether meant as a weapon or not – constituted a very dangerous object.

    The largest predictors of battery for failing to respond? Deafness, mental illness, English dysfluency.

    The largest predictors of battery for failing to relinquish a potentially dangerous object? Fucking crutches.

    I can’t remember effect sizes, and the study was, IIRC, limited to the NE USA, possibly even just New England, but I think it included whatever the whole of the NE is (Penn & NY – maybe NJ?) in addition to NE. Plus an auxiliary data set out of LA, just for that city, because it was easily accessible for some reason.

    Someday when I’m not stressed about time, I’ll look up the papers, but it was horrifying that it was the people who **couldn’t** comply that were getting the hard end of the stick.

    I wonder what current research shows on that.

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