Sunday, December 7, 2014

Last Call For The System Is Working As Intended

Your Sunday long read is Albert Samaha's piece on Christopher Epps, Mississippi's state corrections commissioner, and prison reform advocate.  Long hailed as a miracle worker and "savior" he was as close to a rock star as a prison administrator could get, lauded by both parties in a deeply red Southern state, who improved Mississippi's prisons dramatically.  He was an African-American who had achieved immense national professional respect.

And then he was caught.

By the time he turned 53, Epps was America’s longest-serving prison commissioner, the first in Mississippi’s history to be appointed by both Democratic and Republican governors. His peers thought so highly of him that he was elected president of two prison administrator professional associations: the American Corrections Association and the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

In short, Chris Epps knew prisons. He’d spent four decades working in the system. Starting as a guard in Mississippi’s oldest prison in 1982, he worked his way to the top of Mississippi’s Department of Corrections in just two decades. Over the next 12 years he became a star.

Prisoner’s rights advocates liked him. Correctional officers liked him. Defense lawyers liked him. Prosecutors liked him. Reporters liked him. Politicians liked him. There might not have been a more universally respected and admired public official in all of Mississippi than Chris Epps.

Then on Nov. 5, he quit his job abruptly, without saying why.

The next day the news broke: allegations of kickbacks for nearly $1 billion worth of private prison contracts. More than $1 million in bribes. A federal investigation, a federal indictment, “a major blow to the systemic and evasive corruption in our state government,” U.S. Attorney Harold Britain said on the steps of the federal courthouse.

Chris Epps knew prisons. Now he faces up to 368 years in one

Read his story, and never forget that you can't have corrupt cops without corrupt prisons.

Watching The Watchmen

If you want to know what cops really think about the Eric Garner case, New York Magazine took a look at, an internet community web site for law enforcement officers, and Thee Rant, a site for NYPD officers.  Both require registration as a law enforcement officer to post, and the comments are...well...

Anytime a person says "I'm tired of it. It stops today." That will almost always end with the use of force. He made that decision, not the Police. The Police must effect the arrest and rise above any resistance. That resistance or lack of resistance is determined by the suspect. This was a huge man and it appears to me they used minimal force. Sometimes people with pre-existing conditions die when they exert themselves. There are Police Officers that have heart attacks and die every year during physical altercations with subjects. You will not see main stream media featuring those in their headlines. This is nothing more than petty blame shifting and fuel for extremist with an agenda.

 And this:

You may say "f&ck the police" but you may not f&ck with the police. It's sad that he died, but that blame goes to he and he alone. The police generally don't show up ten deep at your door just to say hey. This pervasive mentality that these assholes seem to have about not listening to the lawful orders of the police is what leads to these deaths and injuries. All he had to do was comply and he would not be dead. Tough shit and too damn bad.

And this:

As they go down, one can clearly see the cop (Green Jersey) holding-on to his neck with his left arm ONLY while trying to grab perp's right hand with his. Within 1 second he lets go completely and twists to a seated position next to the perp. There was no continuous "Chokehold" of any kind. Though not surprised, I like how these rags try to portray/describe something that never happened.

 And this.

Yes, they'll pay off the "family"...
It's a lot cheaper than a riot...
And therein lies the problem...
The cities of America are held hostage by the strong-arm tactics of the savages

We're the enemy to these guys, not the people to protect and to serve.  Never forget that.

Help, Someone Called The Police

It shouldn't surprise anyone that there are major racial and political party differences in the way Americans view the events of the last two weeks with grand jurors refusing to indict police in Ferguson and NYC.

In the wake of the deaths of unarmed black men in police confrontations in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, 47 percent of Americans say that law enforcement applies different standards to blacks and whites, while 44 percent disagree.

But 82 percent of African Americans say that police have different standards based on race, while half of whites say the opposite.

And while 72 percent of the public and 79 percent of whites say that they have "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence that police in their community will not use excessive force on suspects, just 43 percent of black Americans say the same.

A broad majority of Americans - 93 percent - say they have heard about the recent grand jury decisions in Staten Island and Ferguson, in which police were not indicted for their role in the deaths of unarmed black men. Forty-three percent said that the decisions decreased their confidence in the legal system, versus just 17 percent who said the opposite. Among African Americans, seven in ten said the verdicts decreased their faith in the legal system; among whites, one in five said their confidence has increased.

Confidence in law enforcement is also divided on partisan lines. Just 35 percent of Democrats say they have "a great deal" of confidence in police in their community to do a good job enforcing the law, compared to 73 percent of Republicans. And 64 percent of Democrats say that police apply different standards based on race, while the same percentage of Republicans disagree.

Not shocking in the least, frankly.  But there is one thing all sides agree on: nobody likes President Obama's response.

Just a third of the public - 30 percent - said they approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the grand jury decisions, versus 46 percent who disapprove
. More white, black and Latino respondents disapprove of how he has dealt with the situation than those who approve. (Whites disapprove by 49 percent to 27 percent, black disapprove 46 to 35 percent, and Latinos disapprove 38 to 36 percent.)

Drilling down I'm betting that people of color think President Obama hasn't done anywhere near enough to address the problem, and that white America thinks he's already said and done far too much.
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