Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Without "Qualified Immunity," Would Cops Be So Quick to Kill?

(See a small but significant correction below.)

The story had a familiar beginning, but took an unexpected detour en route to an unanticipated conclusion. 

Dante Price, a young black man, was trying to visit his girlfriend and infant son at the Summit Square apartment complex in Dayton, Ohio. Price was confronted by two uniformed, armed officers who told him had been banned from the property as a trespasser. 

As the encounter grew heated, the officers drew their guns and ordered Price from his car. After the driver refused to comply, one of the officers contacted the Dayton PD to request backup; on the recording, his partner can be heard screaming at Price, “Get out of the car, now!” Instead of exiting his vehicle and prostrating himself at the feet of the officers, Price hit the gas and attempted to flee.

The officers unloaded seventeen shots at Price, three of which struck him. The 25-year-old plowed his Cadillac into a parked car. He was dead before the paramedics arrived.

“We got a guy trying to assault us with his vehicle,” one of the officers reported to Dayton PD headquarters immediately after the shooting. “We had to fire at him. He charged us.”

Within a few hours, an internal investigation conducted by veteran police officer Ivan G. Burke concluded that the shooting of the unarmed motorist was “justified.” By disobeying orders and attempting to flee, Price had caused the officers to “fear for their lives” and the shooting was therefore an act of self-defense.

So far, so familiar. However, at this point the story diverges sharply from the standard narrative.

Rather than dismissing the matter and lecturing Price’s grieving relatives about the need to “respect the process,” the Dayton PD made investigating the shooting a priority. The crime scene was carefully scrutinized, and investigators interviewed dozens of witnesses. Evidence was turned over to Montgomery County DA Mat Heck, who presented it to a grand jury.

Four months after the March 2012 shooting, the panel handed down murder and abduction indictments against the two officers, 32-year-old Christopher E. Tarbert and 24-year-old Justin R. Wissinger. Last week, Tarbert and Wissinger, who had been threatened with life imprisonment, were sentenced to four years of incarceration as a result of a plea bargain agreement.

The incident in which Dante Price was killed bears an uncanny resemblance to the shooting death of Danielle Willard by police in West Valley City, Utah in November 2012. In both cases, the victim was confronted by armed officers, refused orders to exit the vehicle, and was shot while trying to flee. Shaun Cowley, the former West Valley City Police Detective who killed Willard, claimed that he acted in self-defense.

Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill, in an almost unprecedented act of principle, indicted Cowley for manslaughter. That prompted nearly the entire “criminal justice” system in Utah to rally behind Cowley.

Former federal Judge Paul Cassell, who volunteered his services as defense counsel for Cowley, complained that “a guilty verdict in this case will jeopardize the safety of the community by making police officers fearful of defending themselves against criminals who are threatening deadly force.” Casell insisted that the simple act of charging Cowley endangered that most precious of all imaginable things, “officer safety.”

Utah Third District Judge L.A. Dever agreed, dismissing the charge in an October pre-trial hearing. Despite the overwhelming evidence that neither Cowley nor his partner was in the path of the vehicle at the time the fatal shots were fired, Judge Dever accepted the defendant’s claim that he “reasonably believed” the non-compliant driver posed a potential threat.
Officers Tarbert and Wissinger offered the same defense regarding their decision to shoot Price, but it availed them nothing. Rather than being exonerated immediately, the officers faced a long and expensive legal ordeal. While they were awaiting resolution of their case, another lethal force incident involving an unarmed black man took place at a retail store that had probably been frequented by the late Dante Price.

Last September, John Crawford, III was fatally shot by police at a Wal-Mart in Beavercreek – about seventeen miles from the apartment complex where Price was killed. At the time, Crawford was holding in one hand a BB rifle he intended to purchase, and carried a cell phone in the other. Sgt. David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams, who responded to a thoroughly inaccurate report via a panic-stricken 911 call shot Crawford within seconds of their arrival at the store.

In this case, rather than investigating the actions of the officers, the Dayton-area Beavercreek PD strove to find some way to blame the victim for the shooting. Tasha Thomas, the Crawford’s traumatized girlfriend, was detained andinterrogated for over an hour and a half by Beavercreek Detective Rodney Curd, who did everything he could to manipulate her into saying that Crawford was carrying an actual firearm. To that end Curd followed standard police procedure by lying to Thomas and threatening her with criminal charges unless she supplied him with the story he wanted.

“I want to be very clear, OK?” Curd told the sobbing woman. “That man got a weapon at some point, I understand, OK? That man produced that weapon. That man had the weapon when you picked him up. He had it in your car or something. You understand that we’re investigating a serious incident. You lie to me, and you might be on your way to jail, so I want to be very clear about that.”

Curd also pretended that Thomas, who was weeping and in shock, appeared to be on drugs.

The detective succeeded in extorting consent for a search of Thomas’s car and cellphone. During the entire ordeal the terrified woman hadn’t been informed that Crawford was dead. Curd withheld that news until after he had concluded the interrogation – and then disclosed it to her in what amounted to a final act of gratuitous, dishonest sadism: “Unfortunately John has passed away as a result of this. What happened there isn’t a good thing and as a result of his actions he is gone.” (Emphasis added.)

Scant hours had passed since Crawford – who had done nothing wrong or illegal – had been killed without cause or justification by Dayton-area police, but the official story was already set in granite: Crawford was dead “as a result of his actions,” not those of the privileged killers who had perforated his body with high-velocity rounds.

From the beginning, the Beavercreek PD and its allies in the Dayton-area "justice" system treated John Crawford as a “suspect,” rather than as a victim, solely because he had been killed by fellow police officers. Significantly, that had not been the case in the March 2012 shooting of Dante Price at an apartment complex just a few minutes’ drive away from the Wal-Mart where Crawford was killed. In that earlier case, Price had been identified as the victim, and the officers who shot him were treated as criminal suspects.

This is because Christopher E. Tarbert and Justin R. Wissinger were employed by the private Ranger Security Company, rather than the Beavercreek municipal police department. Ivan Burke, who owns the company, was briefly employed as an officer with two departments in small towns near Dayton, and at the time of the shooting he was an “auxiliary officer” in Clay Township, a village of about 9,000 people with no reported criminal activity.
Christopher Tarbert
Yes, Tarbert and Wissinger wore special costumes that included glittering baubles denoting their status as “officers”; they carried guns, and conducted patrols. 

Their physical conditioning, mental acumen, and competence with firearms were certainly up to par with the undemanding standards of most municipal police departments. As their encounter with Price demonstrated they had learned to bark orders at the public, treat non-compliance as a threat to “officer safety,” and recite the expected self-exculpatory phrases after killing someone who had defied them.

In this case, however, the assailants hadn’t been fully invested with the mystical property called “authority.”

“The shooters were employed as private security guards through Ranger Security – they were not police officers,” explained Montgomery County DA Mat Heck. “They did not have any special arrest powers, authority or privileges beyond what a private citizen would have…. [T]hese private security guards had no legal authority to detain or attempt to detain the victim, and had no legal authority to use or threaten to use deadly force in order to make the victim comply with their orders.”

Justin Wissinger
Tarbert and Wissinger were lawfully employed as contract security personnel to guard private property, and turn away uninvited intruders. But they hadn’t been consecrated as members of the State’s punitive priesthood, and without that official unction they weren’t able to transubstantiate aggressive violence into “law enforcement.”

Despite the trappings of their profession, their formal training, and their state-issued licenses, Tarbert and Wissinger were Mundanes, and thus were not endowed with “qualified immunity” that would protect them from accountability for their act of criminal homicide. The blame for the incident was imputed to them, rather than to the unarmed, fleeing victim. They didn’t have standing to insist that Price had died “as a result of his actions,” as the Beavercreek PD claimed in the killing of unarmed John Crawford.

Owing to the fact that police are employed by the class that preys on property, they have no obligation to protect it against crime. Those who want that service have to pay for it out of their own resources, in addition to surrendering the taxes that are used to pay the police. There are at least three times as many private security and investigative specialists than government law enforcement agents in this country. Nearly all of them -- apart from moonlighting police officers -- confront genuine risks on behalf of their customers, and do so without the benefit of "qualified immunity." 

Tarbert at his sentencing hearing.
This means that when they screw up, private peace officers, unlike government-employed police, can be held accountable.

Tarbert and Wissinger were entirely within their rights to demand that Price leave privately owned property where he wasn’t welcome. In doing so they comported themselves as peace officers acting in defense of property rights. Unfortunately they decided to mimic the behavior of law enforcement personnel by attempting to detain Price, trying to humiliate him by ordering him to the ground, and then summarily executing him for disobeying their orders.

As District Attorney Heck observed, because the guards were not state-employed purveyors of violence, they had no “authority” to restrain, demean, threaten, or kill someone who hadn’t committed an act of criminal aggression but simply refused to “comply with their orders.” What neither he nor anyone else can rationally explain is why anybody can claim such authority.

Note: In the original version of this essay I erroneously reported that John Crawford's killers are employed by the Dayton Police Department, rather than the Beavercreek PD. I regret that error, and express thanks to the readers who corrected it.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Law-and-Order Leninism

Last Easter, the Right was celebrating the Bunkerville rebellion, and the Left was calling for severe measures – drone strikes, if necessary – to beat down armed resistance to law enforcement. By Christmas, the roles were neatly reversed, with the Left protesting against the ever-growing tide of law enforcement abuses and the Right accusing police critics of fomenting “revolution.”

Both sides agree that nobody needs to worry about getting hurt as long as they render immediate and unqualified submission to the police.  They also agree that individuals have the right to resist when they are being abused and their lives threatened by the police. They can embrace these mutually exclusive propositions because of a third point on which they tacitly agree: The duty to submit, and the right to resist, depend entirely on the identity of the person or people on the receiving end of state-licensed abuse.

This is to say that both sides agree with Vladimir Lenin's dictum that in politics the basic question is “Who does what to Whom.” They have also embraced Lenin's formula for “scientific dictatorship” – “Power without limit, resting directly on force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.”

Police officers are situational Leninists, authorized to use lethal force to make people submit to their will, irrespective of the law.

“How about this? Listen to police officers’ commands, listen to what we tell you, and just stop,” eructated Cleveland Police Union Commissar Jeffrey Follmer in defense of the police murder of Tamir Rice. The twelve-year-old, who was carrying a BB pistol in a state with an open carry law, was gunned down by police within two seconds of their arrival at the park where he had been playing.

Even if we stipulate that citizens have a duty to render immediate compliance with police “commands,” Rice had no time to comply. Rather than conceding that point, Follmer used the child's death as an object lesson to other Mundanes: You are the property of the State, and  what liberties you enjoy – including the freedom to continue breathing – are subject to summary termination at the whim of a police officer.

Immediate, unqualified obedience to a police officer “eliminates a lot of problems,” Follmer insists. “I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it, and if you’re wrong you’re wrong, and if you’re right, then the courts will figure it out.”

And if you are brutalized or killed without cause by a member of the State's Punitive Priesthood, the courts will not be troubled by the matter, because the system's mechanisms of self-justification will quickly ratify the lethal actions of the police officer.

There is a heuristic process in place – but it is designed to reform and correct the behavior of the public, rather than that of the police departments supposedly established for its protection. The burden is on us to submit to the armed people who are supposedly our servants. As a punitive populist meme dictates: “Breathe easy – don't break the law.”

That motto is inscribed on a line of t-shirts designed by South Bend, Indiana police officer Jason Barthel. The shirts display a badge insignia against set the “Blue Line” logo — the universal colors of the State’s privileged gang-banger fraternity.

“We are not here to do anything negative to the public,” insists Barthel. “We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.”

Police officers – as I have wearied myself in pointing out – have no enforceable duty to protect any citizen from criminal violence. They are paid to enforce the will of the political class that preys upon property, a role that includes inflicting criminal violence on those whose seek to protect their property against such predation.

Jason Barthel divides his time between law enforcement and honest work as a small business owner. As a police officer, Mr. Barthel can commit criminal violence — including homicide — and take refuge in the claim of “qualified immunity.”  In private life, however, he could very easily be prosecuted and ruined for any of the myriad regulatory infractions he inevitably commits every day as an entrepreneur – and wind up being fatally deprived of breath if, like Eric Garner, he refused to cooperate with the imperious demands of a law enforcement officer.

Both Cliven Bundy and Eric Garner were accused of tax evasion – Bundy of refusing to pay grazing fees to the federal government, Garner of selling individual untaxed cigarettes. Both of them were confronted by law enforcement personnel who were prepared to confiscate their property and kill them if they resisted.

Garner was murdered on the streets of Staten Island because he dared to assert self-ownership – “It stops today!” is the modern equivalent of “Don't tread on me” – and nobody on the scene was willing, or able, to come to his defense.

Bundy is alive because of the intervention of armed fellow citizens who were willing to point guns at police in defense of the rancher, his family, and their rights. He was also predictably – and quite dishonestly – accused of being a racist. All of the denunciations of Bundy were offered by left-leaning commentators who have more recently discovered that the horrors of police militarization and the culture of impunity that characterizes law enforcement.

Many of the same right-leaning commentators who extolled Cliven Bundy's resistance to the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro Police have dismissed Garner as a “thug” and a “career criminal,” and insist that the murder of two NYPD officers is a direct result of “anti-police hate speech.”

“Like Pontius Pilate[,] who deluded himself into thinking that he could `wash his hands' of his part in Jesus' death, so too do Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Bill DeBlasio, and every other politician, `civil rights activist,' and commentator who did their part to fuel the inferno of anti-police rhetoric think that they can no wash their hands of their responsibility for the murders of [NYPD] Officers Ramos and Liu,” bloviates authoritarian commentator Jack Kerwick at TownHall.com.

 Writing from the right-Leninist perspective – which in this case dictates collective guilt on the basis of imputed motives -- Kerwick claims that “the only difference” between murderer Ismaiiyl Brinsley and critics of the police is that “while those who regard police as `racists' or `armed enforcers' of `the State' talk the talk, Brinsley actually walked the walk.”

Interestingly, Kerwick – who fancies himself a philosopher of sorts -- doesn't explain why, in the case of the torture and execution of Jesus, he condemns the judge who imposed the death sentence, and the officers who dutifully carried out their lawful orders by executing it, choosing instead to take the side of the condemned criminal.

But I digress.

"Words mean things,” insisted another right-wing proponent of collective guilt in the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos. “Words cause actions." The journal published by the organization over which that individual presides peddled a similarly expansive indictment, identifying the “real enemy” as “those who stoke the fires of racial unrest with rhetoric forged on lies and feeding, every day, on blood."

Transpose those sentiments into a slightly different collectivist idiom, and they are indistinguishable from the rhetoric that came out of the Clinton White House, and the State-aligned media, following the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

That terrorist act, we were told, precipitated from a "climate of violence" created by "anti-government extremists" who condemned the Waco Massacre while routinely -- and quite properly -- referring to the ATF and other federal law enforcement shock troops as "Jackbooted Thugs."

At the time of the bombing, the cover The New American magazine – the publication alluded to above -- depicted an ATF badge with the headline: "Freedom's Foes." For the next several years, TNA and its sponsoring organization were routinely denounced as part of the "real enemy" who "stoked the fires of [political] unrest" with anti-government rhetoric. 

At the time, I was a senior editor at that publication, which led to being listed – by name – as a terrorist sympathizer in a law enforcement training program produced by a federal subcontractor named John Nutter. 

Subsequent to the murders of Liu and Ramos, we have been instructed to pretend that this crime happened because a small and atypical group of anti-police protesters chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!”

In similar fashion, following the massacre of 168 people – including 17 children – in the OKC bombing, the Regime and its servitors in the media sought to implicate the entire conservative sub-population in that crime. That agitprop campaign focused heavily on anti-government “hate rhetoric,” such as the advice provided by syndicated talk show host – and convicted felon – G. Gordon Liddy to listeners in the event of an ATF raid.

"Head shots, head shots,” Liddy instructed. “Kill the sons of bitches... Shoot twice to the belly and if the does not work, shoot to the groin area. Arm yourself. Get instructed in how to shoot straight. And don't register [your weapons] either."

An updated version of that refrain was taken up against the “insurrectionist right” earlier this year after Jerad and Amanda Miller, who were banished from Bunkerville by supporters of Cliven Bundy, murdered three people — Las Vegas Metro Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, and Joseph Wilcox, an armed citizen who heroically tried to stop their rampage.

Apart from his well-documented hostility toward law enforcement, Ismaiiyl Brinsley had no connection of any kind to the nation-wide movement in opposition to police brutality.

The Millers, on the other hand, were among many hundreds of people who traveled to Bunkerville, Nevada to support rancher Cliven Bundy in his confrontation with the BLM. They may well have been the only volunteers who were asked to leave because of concerns regarding what was described as their “aggressive nature” and eagerness to incite violence. During their brief visit, however, Jerad was interviewed by the local NBC affiliate, which meant that he was depicted as representative of the people who had rallied to the Bundy family’s cause.

Predictably, following the couple’s subsequent killing spree critics of Cliven Bundy claimed that the rancher, his supporters, and the “anti-government”  Right shared collective responsibility for that crime – just as Jack Kerwick and his right-Leninist ilk insist that critics of law enforcement constitute the “Many Brinsleys” who murdered Liu and Ramos.

Significantly, the only mention Mr. Berwick made of Cliven Bundy during or following the Bunkerville stand-off was to condemn Republican politicians and commentators who had abandoned the rancher after he was traduced as a “racist” for expressing cultural views not dramatically different from those of more conventional conservatives.

“Republicans would be well served to heed Christ’s admonition to remove the boulder from their own eyes before proceeding to pluck out the pebble from the eyes of their neighbors,” Kerwick pontificated, sparing Bundy and his supporters from criticism for actually threatening to kill police officers in defense of their property rights.

Like much of the activist Left, interestingly, Kerwick and other conservatives are eager to re-purpose the controversy over the police state into an overtly racial conflict – one side depicting police as enforcers of “white privilege,” the other condemning critics of the police for promoting the idea of black victimhood and the “entitlement mentality.” This is precisely the quarrel our self-appointed rulers want us to have. In this way, the public will be obsessed over the question of whether their officially designated collective is the “who” or the “whom.”

In this fashion, the public will be distracted from critical examination of the “what” – state-licensed aggressive violence – and be dissuaded from pondering the possibility that if the “what” were removed from the equation, the “who” and the “whom” wouldn't matter nearly as much.

Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Peace Officer Defies the "Blue Tribe": The Exile of Officer Cariol Horne

Not the only one: Chokeholds are illegal, but widely used by police anyway.

David Mack was dying of strangulation in front of his horrified teenage sons while nearly a dozen Buffalo Police Officers looked on with indifference. The man who was killing Mack, Gregory Kwiatowski, was a member of their privileged tribe. The other cops at the scene understood that their duty was to protect the assailant, rather than to aid the victim. 

“My father was laying there blue, I ain’t never seen him like that,” Wesley Mack later testified in court. “A lady cop went up to him and said, `Chill, Greg, you’re choking him,’ and she pulled his arm and he jumped up and popped her.”

“Get the hell off me, you black bitch!” snarled the uniformed embodiment of all that is good and decent, slugging the female officer in the face.

Mack had been arrested by Officer Anthony Porzio for “contempt of cop” after exchanging words with Officer Paul Sobkowiak, who had responded to a domestic disturbance report. A postal carrier told Sobkowiak that Mack had been withholding Social Security checks from his ex-girlfriend, who still received her mail at the address. 

Sobkowiak called for backup and a throng of officers converged on the home. Commanded to turn over the check, Mack went into his house and retrieved what he claimed was all of the mail he had received that day. After the cops accused him of concealing the check, Mack told them to leave him alone. Defiance of that kind from a Mundane is impermissible, of course, so Sobkowiak attacked Mack, as did Kwiatowski and every other officer on the scene. 

“Where one acts, all must follow,” is the unwritten but binding code of the Blue Tribe.
Officer Cariol Horne with attorneys.
Horne was among the cops who responded to an “officer in distress” call. She didn’t see the initial assault, but when she arrived at the address she helped drag Mack out of the house. Like all police officers, she had been programmed to follow the code of the Blue Tribe without hesitation. Kwiatowski’s conduct caused Horne’s resilient human decency to rebel and overcome that programming.

Once Mack had been handcuffed, Kwiatowski decided to inflict summary punishment for the impermissible act of resisting arrest, beating the prone and helpless 59-year-old man. The assault quickly escalated to attempted murder as Kwiatowski turned Mack around and sank a chokehold. 

There were, once again, nearly a dozen police officers on the scene. Horne – a tiny black woman who was roughly half Kwiatowski’s size -- was the only one who assumed the role of peace officer by intervening to prevent the murder of an innocent man. The use of lethal force would have been justified, but Horne – once again acting as a peace officer – used proportionate force, even though in doing so she exposed herself to risk. 

“I thought whatever happened in the house [Kwiatokski] was still upset about so when he didn’t stop choking him I just grabbed his arm from around Neal’s neck,” Horne recalled in a recent television interview. “He comes up and punches me in the face and I had to have my bridge replaced.” 

Mack, who survived the assault, was hit with the predictable assortment of cover charges, which were just as predictably dismissed. Cariol Horne was charged with “obstruction” for supposedly “jumping on Officer Kwiatowski’s back and/or striking him.” 

Kwiatowski himself admitted that although Horne intervened, “she never got on top of me.” The charge filed against her was as spurious as those lodged against Mack, and they served precisely the same purpose – namely, providing pseudo-legal cover for an act of official retaliation. 

Horne, who eventually was fired as a result of the charge, was “obstructing” an attempted murder. She was upholding the law in the face of privileged lawlessness. Her experience uncannily echoes that of Regina Tasca, another veteran female officer who was purged from the force for “obstructing” criminal violence inflicted on a prone and helpless victim by a fellow cop, and that of Ramon Perez, who was punished by the Austin Police Department for refusing to carry out an unlawful order to use his Taser on a non-violent elderly suspect. 

Significantly, the Buffalo City Government waited until May 2008 to terminate Horne. At the time she was two months from retirement, which means that she lost her pension. Among the “charges” upheld against Horne was the accusation that she had impermissibly told her story to the media. 
Hero: Officer Tasca stops a beating.
Mack and his son Wesley, who was also arrested during the November 2006 police riot at their home, filed a civil suit against the police who assaulted and abducted them. A six-member jury ruled against them – five white jurors siding with the officers, the sole black panelist with the black plaintiffs. 

Kwiatowski filed a defamation suit against Horne, which he won because the former officer -- a single mother with young children to support – was too busy earning a living to appear in court. Horne found employment in the productive sector as a truck driver, an honorable profession that is considerably more dangerous that law enforcement. 

When he wasn’t seeking revenge in the courts, Kwiatowski earned a promotion to Lieutenant through the conduct Horne had attempted to stop. He was eventually allowed to retire – with a full pension – at age 46 after several other episodes of criminal violence, including one in which he assaulted an off-duty NFTA Officer. That attack, appropriately occurred at a restaurant following a police union dinner. The victim admonished some of his comrades for being loud, vulgar, and abusive, and warned that other patrons were capturing the event on their cell phones. This violated the unwritten rules of the Blue Tribe, and Kwiatowsky inflicted what he considered to be the appropriate punishment. 

Several months ago, Kwiatowski and three current members of the Buffalo PD were indicted by a federal grand jury for civil rights violations allegedly committed in 2009. Even apart from his subsidized retirement, Kwiatowski remains a burden on Buffalo’s tax victims. 

Renewed scrutiny of Kwiatowski’s behavior was prompted, in part, by the suspension of Buffalo PD Officer Robert Eloff last May. Eloff was put on paid vacation after the department’s internal affairs division began investigating his role in a near-fatal assault on an Air National Guardsman at Molly’s Pub, a bar where Eloff was paid $25 an hour to moonlight as a security guard. 
Officer Robert Eloff.
The victim, William Sager, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being pushed down a flight of stairs by the pub’s manager. Surveillance tape from the bar reportedly shows Eloff and the manager going into the room where the recording equipment is kept just shortly before the video went dark.  Rather than rendering aid to the victim, Eloff – in keeping with his training – handcuffed him in the interest of “officer safety.” A friend of the victim called 911 to report that they were being abused and harassed by Eloff and fellow Buffalo PD Officer Adam O’Shei, who was also working as a bouncer. 

It should be understood that Eloff didn’t take a second job out of financial necessity. The 39-year-old tax-consumer was paid $106,300 last year, of which nearly $23,000 was overtime awarded for appearing in court. Eloff has long been regarded as one of the Buffalo PD’s most “productive” officers on account of his propensity for making arrests in volume, which – as his compensation figures demonstrate – is a singularly lucrative racket. 

Eloff was also involved in the recent gang-beating of a man named Christopher Kozak, who was set upon by a thugscrum of at least a half-dozen Buffalo PD officers – and then left in a bloody heap on the sidewalk without being arrested or charged with an offense. 

Amid these accumulating incidents of criminal depravity, Horne has renewed her campaign for vindication – not merely for self-interested reasons, but also to protect the public from the entitled, costumed bullies who prowl their streets.

Destitute, but honest: Horne in private life.
“If the message they want to give is that an officer is going to be fired if they stop [abuse], then that’s the wrong message,” Horne observes.  Of course, that is precisely the intended message: A police officer who attempts to strangle a handcuffed and defenseless man can expect a promotion, but an officer who carries out her legal duty to prevent that murder can expect to be assaulted, criminally charged, and financially ruined.

The treatment endured by Cariol Horne provides some necessary context to the police murder of Eric Garner. Some authoritarian-minded commentators, seeking to defend that crime as a necessary vindication of “law” in the face of defiance, have sought to deflect the blame from Officer Daniel Pantaleo to his “black, female supervisor” – the latter description lacquered with facile irony by people desperate to define such issues in terms of racial collectivism. 

The officer who was an accessory to the murder of Eric Garner achieved that position because she had been faithful to what former LAPD Officer Mike Rothmiller calls “the code of the Blue Tribe: When one acted, all must follow.” 

Government law enforcement, as an institution, is defined by that ethic, which is why it cannot be reformed.

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Dum spiro, pugno!