Skip to main content

Can Philly's police police themselves?

True story: I got of the Broad Street line in South Philadelphia a few years ago with a group of four or five cops right behind me. As I walked down to the Italian Market, I listened to their conversation behind me.

It was gossip, but interesting gossip. Apparently a young new police officer had been assigned to one of the cushiest precincts in the city. Why? His dad was an Internal Affairs officer, and he had marched his son before the precinct's higher-ups and told them, essentially, "You take my boy or I will start vigorously investigating every complaint against officers in this district."

I don't know if the story is true--I didn't think the police officers telling me the story would appreciate it if I revealed myself to be a journalist, listening in to their public conversation, so I didn't get in any follow-up questions--but the officers telling it sure seemed to think it was true.

So it's good that a few Internal Affairs heads are rolling for failure to investigate the case of guns that went missing from the department. But I can't help but wonder if the systemic rot in the part of the Police Department designed to hold officers accountable for their conduct is much more widespread than the scandal shows. And I wonder if Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey knows that--or if he's just taking care of the one problem that made the papers. Either way, I don't have a lot of faith in the ability of the police department to police itself.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…