One could make an argument that racism makes people stupid, because racism is, at its core, a symptom of intellectual laziness. The racist must ignore massive mountains of facts and shelter the racist ideas from enquiry, since they cannot withstand even cursory examination. It’s plain old dumbass.


Today’s news is that Torrance, California, hires stupid cops. First off, they were stupid racists, but worse, they somehow made the assumption that the computers they were using didn’t maintain any historical records. In the age of “but what about her emailllllzzzzzz?” it is incredible that anyone could be so dumb as to not realize that what you do online, stays online, usually forever. [kos]

Newly found text messages circulated among current and former police officers of the Torrance Police Department reveal a culture rife with racism, antisemitism, and homophobia going back at least a decade. 

Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that his office will investigate the department, telling the Los Angeles Times the probe could lead to criminal charges against individual officers if necessary.

NWA outside their studio in Torrance, CA

Blue lives are stupid.

Prosecutors say the messages go back years and could jeopardize hundreds of criminal cases in which the officers either testified or made arrests. 

The LA Times identified 13 current and former police officers and one Long Beach cop who are now under investigation. At least nine of the officers texted images or commentary advocating violence against Black people and LGBTQ community members and ridiculing racial profiling. Fifteen officers are on administrative leave, Sgt. Mark Ponegalek, a Torrance police spokesman, told the LA Times.

That’s one important point: all their hard-won policing victories have just been shitcanned because they have demonstrated that they could not possibly be serving justice impartially. The word for that is “corruption” – I suppose you could also call it “systemic racism” – another example of baked-in bias in American policing.

It gets worse, but for starters: 15 officers on administrative leave is journalism/police code for “we’re going to wait until this blows over, then the police union will demand they be re-instated and we’ll have to give in and re-instate them.” Administrative leave means that the officers in question are relieved of their normal responsibilities, and stay at home while continuing to collect pay and benefits. It’s like a forced COVID vacation, except that unlike pretty much everyone in the service industry, who did not have an income during the pandemic, they get salary and benefits. Where can I apply for a job like that? In the high tech sector where I worked during my career, we had one incident where someone threatened violence on a co-worker, and that guy was unemployed and standing in the parking lot with all of his personal items in a cardboard box, 15 minutes later. That’s how you do “administrative leave” in the corporate world. In fact, it’s almost unimaginable to me that any business does not immediately fire someone who engages in this kind of activity. “Oh, and please don’t list me as a reference.” Terminated for cause is what you write on that person’s HR folder and if anyone reference checks that individual, the HR department is authorized to reply only, “that employee’s folder says ‘terminated for cause’ and our policy is that we won’t disclose anything about an employee that left the company under that condition.”

Think about it – the only reason you’d ever put someone on “administrative leave” is because you might put them back into their job. Because otherwise why not fire them immediately, stop their benefits and salary, free up the desk space, and start hiring a replacement? probably has a software HR-bot that would automatically do that. Why don’t the police?

This is the quality of people that Torrance, CA, has on its police force:

The investigation began while exploring criminal charges against two former Torrance police officers charged with spray-painting a swastika inside a resident’s car in January 2020. 

Uhhhhhhh, what?! It’s possible to imagine a more stupid thing that one could do, while on the job, but it’s hard. [Whatever happened to James Damore, btw? Oh, he has “regrets” and has realized that he’s autistic, therefore not an asshole. [guard]]


Chief Jeremiah Hart asked the attorney general’s office for assistance after the repugnant messages were discovered. 

“I am committed to accountability, and I will not tolerate any form of bigotry, racism, hate, or misconduct,” Hart said in a statement.

Accountability would mean that you’d fired them immediately, and let the union be damned. More to the point, make it a public spectacle as the union stands up for the racist creeps and tries to insist that the police department re-hires them. Oh, but no, apparently Chief Hart doesn’t actually believe in accountability. Having those assclowns still on the force is “tolerating them.”

Someone sells these on etsy. I fixed the text for them.

But, none of this story is shocking – we’ve been treated to years of this kind of shit. Apparently All Cops Are Bastards or, at least, work cheek by jowl with fellow cops that they know are bastards, because doing anything or saying anything would be awkward, or something. That’s why I absolutely reject the “a few bad apples” theory and substitute my own, namely “policing is a giant bucket of almost entirely bad apples, with a few that aren’t rotten yet, quickly rotting from contact with the stew.”

Time and again, we’ve had accounts of cops and cop bosses being so stupid about their communications that they set this stuff down where it can eventually come to light as public record. But then there are the “smart” cops, like the ones that didn’t use their work computers – they took it to Facebook on their own time. Perhaps you remember this story from 2019: [propublica]

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.

So smart: use facebook. By the way, if one of my employees had done something clever like that, I’d have still instantly fired them, ha ha!

Created in August 2016, the Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15” and boasts roughly 9,500 members from across the country. (10-15 is Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody.”) The group described itself, in an online introduction, as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol. “Remember you are never alone in this family,” the introduction said.

Yeah, those are some “family values” for sure. But here’s the reason I am digging up this old news: surely, with 9,500 participants in a group filth-bath, there would be (let’s say) 4,000+ who were fired as a result. Right? Or do you think that a few of them got “administrative leave” and are now back out there policing the nation and waving the flag of law and order?

It took until 2020 for the shoes to drop: [cbs]

Customs and Border Protection fired four employees and suspended more than three dozen others without pay after a year-long investigation into their involvement in Facebook groups featuring violent, sexist and racist posts against migrants and Latino members of Congress.

CBP said in a statement to NBC News on Friday that after an investigation into 138 cases of “inappropriate social media activity,” four employees were removed from service, 38 were suspended without pay, 33 were disciplined with reprimands or counseling and 63 of the allegations were unsubstantiated. The Los Angeles Times first reported news of the firings on Thursday.

I’m trying to even figure out how such allegations can be “unsubstantiated.” Were they members of the facebook group, or not? Here’s what I bet happened – they only went after the CBP employees that posted the nasty stuff, not the others who signed on to become part of a secret group and laughed and cheered along with the rest.

4 people fired. Three dozen get an unpaid vacation (note, it does not say how long they were suspended without pay) According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) a federal employee can be suspended without pay for a maximum of 12 weeks. 2 weeks is more typical. Note that if CBP had said “indefinitely suspended” that would mean something very different from “suspended” – which almost certainly means that those cretins were back out there in uniforms wearing the American flag, cretining away as hard as they could.

Failing establishment mouthpiece The New York Times has some different numbers [nyt]

Where a disciplinary board recommended two dozen firings, instead suspensions and letters of reprimand were issued and just two lost their jobs. A Border Patrol agent who posted some of the most offensive images was allowed to retire with disability and benefits.

That’s another aspect of the “suspension” that is commonly not discussed. It may be that the suspension is just a break for an employee to mark some time, get some job hunting done, or line up their retirement. You know, like they were an honorable employee who was exiting the organization in a favorable manner. Being allowed to retire with disability and benefits is stealing from the public when you’re talking about a jackass who should have been standing with their personal items in a cardboard box in the parking lot, within 15 minutes of their misbehavior coming to light.

I’m sure you can imagine the depth of my loathing for scumbag authoritarians who want to claim that they are all about law and order, but who whine and weasel and try to soften the impact of their actions, because scumbag authoritarians are usually all about accountability.

“C.B.P. will not tolerate hateful, misogynist or racist behavior, or any conduct that is unbecoming of the honor we hold as public servants,” an agency spokesman, Luis Miranda, said on Monday in a statement. “C.B.P. is working to review policies and to underscore the need to respect the dignity of every individual, fight against discrimination, safeguard civil rights and civil liberties, and increase transparency and accountability.”

Yes, you will tolerate it. You’ll even aid and give comfort.



  1. AndrewD says

    One reason for”administrative leave” is to avoid prejudicing any future criminal prosecutions (at least that’s what happens in more civilised jurisdictions).

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Meanwhile, in France:
    France resists US challenge to its values

    France’s answer to protecting minorities is “universalism” – the notion that everyone is the same and should be treated the same.
    But so-called “woke” thinkers have a different set of values. They say race, colour, gender do matter, because people have different lived experiences depending on those factors, and so public policies need to differentiate between different groups – which is anathema to the French.

    What? This appears to be what happens when you let racists define anti-racism.
    Racism exists. Pretending that everyone is treated the same when it is demonstrably not true is a way of failing to acknowledge past transgressions or do anything to address them.

  3. xohjoh2n says

    Perhaps the stupid isn’t so much assuming the computers won’t make a permanent record, but instead assuming that no one will ever care enough to look through it.

  4. Ketil Tveiten says

    I think the problem with the US police is that they have become a mafia-like organization. Just watch all the shit they do and get away with from that perspective, stuff makes a lot of sense then.

  5. says

    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of THEE RANT, a message board for NY cops, but if anyone doubts that ACAB as well as being bigoted fascists, that’s a good place to start.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    the US police […]have become a mafia-like organization.

    Presupposes that they were ever not. /s

    @Reginald Selkirk,3:

    what the anti-woke movement in France believes: that via universities, pressure groups and social media, the US is exporting a cultural virus into France that poses an existential threat to French society

    In fairness, what they believe is exactly correct. French society at present has a distinctive character, and the aim of the “woke” movement is to change that character. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be doing anything, after all. And the French, more so than most nations in my experience, are fiercely protective of their national character. Their attitude, it has always seemed to me, is “you want to live in France? Cool. Then you speak French, act French, dress French, BE French. Then you’re welcome. You want to import your language/culture/religion/cheese? Jog on, the UK loves all that shit, but it’s not welcome here. There’s a lovely camp at Sangatte you can sleep in until you can find a dinghy that’ll take you. Bye!” I confess to a grudging admiration for the lack of compromise, if not the actual result (i.e. racism and the aftermath of colonialism persists). The last thing I’d do though is to be so rude as to try to change them from the outside.

  7. says

    French society at present has a distinctive character, and the aim of the “woke” movement is to change that character. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be doing anything, after all. And the French, more so than most nations in my experience, are fiercely protective of their national character. Their attitude, it has always seemed to me, is “you want to live in France? Cool. Then you speak French, act French, dress French, BE French. Then you’re welcome.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to say “at present” – the French had the same attitude regarding their colonial subjects: act French, or else. It’s a distinctive culture, indeed, which they have shared with the world for a long time. It took a Russian winter. the Wehrmacht and the Vietcong to rein them in and teach them a bit of humility. They’ve been pretty dysfunctional since Louis XIV, in my opinion.

    France is, right now, horribly racist – there is a substantial population of citizens who came to France from Cote D’Ivoire, who live in segregated ghettoes outside of Paris, and are treated poorly. There are Algerian and Vietnamese former subjects, who are also treated poorly.

    The last thing I’d do though is to be so rude as to try to change them from the outside.

    Of course, Americans can hardly talk.

  8. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#3:
    What? This appears to be what happens when you let racists define anti-racism.

    It’s worse than that: it’s what happens in the country of Michel Foucault when the nation fails to learn the lessons taught by one of its more provocative thinkers. Foucault correctly identified racism as an unavoidable cultural lens that distorts everyone’s ability to understand the relationship between individuals and the state. He was right. Any “woke” cultural movement in France is not promoting American ideas, it’s promoting very French ideas.

  9. snarkhuntr says

    Racism has always been something encouraged by societal elites. From the traditional European hatred for Romani, Gypsy, “Travelling People’, Jews, and immigrants to the carefully constructed racial divisions in the new world.

    Racism is *useful*. It ensures that people have something to line up behind other than social class. This is why state repression had always fallen hardest on ‘criminals’ who attempt to bridge the gap between the races.The system is not afraid of gangs of African-descended people dealing drugs or committing violence. But try to form an organization making effective outreach between black and white citizens? Ask the Panthers how well that went.

    As LBJ said:

    “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

    He wasn’t a nice man, but he did have a way with words. Judging by the effective and ruthless fleecing that Trump and his allied grifters are inflicting on their flock, it seems they paid attention too.

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