In July I shared a story of an incident in which my city’s police stormed a man’s house looking for drugs in the middle of the night and executed his two (understandably startled) dogs. One of the dogs was shot to death while fleeing in fear, and as I noted then, this isn’t an isolated incident. Just a few years ago, the Saint Paul Police killed another family dog…and forced handcuffed children to sit next to its bleeding corpse. The kicker? The raid wasn’t even in the right house!
Now, a new report has surfaced of SPPD brutality. This time, a young father named Chris Lollie was arrested while waiting to pick up his kids from school. The charges were “Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstructing Legal Process,” and police claimed he refused to leave an area reserved for employees of the bank building he was in. However, not only were there no signs indicating that the location was private, but Lollie wasn’t even in the bank proper; he was in the skyway.
(For those who aren’t familiar with the skyway system, it’s a thing we have in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and some other Minnesota cities. Basically, it gets hella cold here in the winter, so they built enclosed sidewalks, or skyways, one or two stories up. In the downtown areas, the skyways form a whole second network of pedestrian roads, and once you get inside your office building—or whichever building is closest to your parking garage or bus stop or whatever—you can use them to move from building to building to get around the whole downtown area. It’s an easy way to go to lunch or meetings without having the snot in your nostrils freeze. I mention all that to say: Skyways are public spaces. You do not have to be an employee in the buildings they connect to use them. Lollie was not trespassing.)
Fortunately, Lollie had the presence of mind to capture his interaction with the SPPD on film. Here’s a transcript I’ve made of the first few seconds:
Lollie: So what’s your business with me right now?
Officer: I want to find out who you are, and what the problem was back there…
Lollie: There is no problem—that’s the thing.
Officer: So, talk to me, let me know, and you can be on your way.
Lollie: Let you know…why do I have to let you know who I am? Who I am isn’t the problem.
Officer: Because that’s what police do when they get called.
Lollie: Well, I know my rights, first off. Secondly, I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws. Like I told him, I’m going to New Horizons [School] to pick up my kids at 10 o’clock. I was sitting there for ten minutes…
As the officer brushes aside his explanation and continues to illegally demand he identify himself, Lollie cuts to the chase: “The problem is I’m black. That’s the problem. No, it really is, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Next, Lollie and the female officer he’s been walking and talking with meet a male officer. When Lollie politely asks the officer not to touch or obstruct him, because he has to go get his kids, the man immediately responds, “Well, you’re going to go to jail then.”
As the police initiate the arrest process—telling him to put his hand behind his back or “otherwise things are going to get ugly"—the camera visuals go black. Lollie continues to be heard pleading, still polite even while he’s assaulted, that he be allowed to go meet his children.
Next, they tase him.
If that’s not enough to convince you that this is gross police misconduct, seriously, take five minutes and watch the video. The calmness of his tone alone should make it obvious that there is no possible argument that the situation merited this kind of police action:
After multiple witnesses verified Lollie’s version of events, prosecutors dropped all charges against him. One woman who is also not an employee at the bank the skyway links noted that she regularly sits during her lunch break exactly where Lollie was sitting, but she has never been harassed by police. However, the SPPD continue to defend their actions.
At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf points out how simple it would have been for police to resolve this situation without violence and an arrest had they cared to do so:
His story about getting his kids wasn’t merely plausible, given the man’s age and the fact that there was a school right there–it was a story the female police officer shown at the beginning of the video or the male officer shown later could easily confirm.
Lollie is also absolutely correct that no law required him to show an ID to police officers. As Flex Your Rights explains, “Police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity,” and while 24 states have passed “stop and identify” statutes “requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place,” Minnesota isn’t one of those states.
The female officer shown in the beginning of the video could easily have de-escalated the encounter by saying, “You’re right, sir, you have every right to refuse to show me identification, and if you’re just picking up your kids I’m so sorry to have bothered you. If you don’t mind, I just want to walk with you to confirm that your story checks out so I can inform the 911 caller of their error. That way we can make sure this never happens again when you’re just here to pick up your kids.”
Or she could’ve said, “Sir, I totally see why this is confusing–a lot of people would think so. Let me try to explain. That totally looks like a public seating area, but it’s actually private. Don’t you think they should have a sign saying so? Calling me may seem like an overreaction, but technically they can ask you to leave. You’re walking away now, so there’s actually no problem as long as you’re not going to go back. Are you? Okay, then we have no problem, have a wonderful day.”
As Lollie is carried away post-tasing, he can be heard challenging the officers’ “legal” assault: "Who are you? You don’t rule me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t touch anybody."
If only the SPPD could honestly say the same.
I accidentally killed someone, you guys, but I was just doing research for an article I’m writing, so that makes it ok. That’s how it works, right?
Good evening from me and Ginger.
(source : Bisous Natasha )
lilbabyduck said: Can you list some ways that buying local can help or hurt the economy?
On the economic front, most of the “buy local” arguments are not super persuasive to me. This article does a fairly good job explaining why, albeit with some mild pejoratives for locavores which I wouldn’t use myself. Essentially, the argument is that different locales specialize in different things, and it makes economic sense to buy the best thing no matter where it’s from. Sometimes that will be local (e.g. strawberries in the summer) and sometimes it won’t (e.g. Netflix is probably not based out of your town).
And yet I also personally prefer local products, particularly when it comes to food. I like having adorable independent coffee shops and breweries and health food markets and craftsmen where I live, so I buy their stuff when I can. Is it always objectively better—be that tastier, fresher, or whatever? No, though it frequently is. Is it always better value for my money? I usually think so. That’s because, as with fair trade items, the fact of locality itself can add value.
Think of it this way: Say your beloved grandmother knits a sweater, and then she dies. Then say Gap produces the exact same sweater in a factory. You’re offered the chance to buy either sweater. They’re completely identical in every way, except your Grandma made one and Gap made the other. But to you, they’re different products entirely because one of them holds meaning for you which the other lacks. You’d pay way more for the one your grandmother made because you value the way it was produced even though it’s otherwise identical to the Gap sweater.Your valuation of the way it was produced is part of your value scale, and for you it makes the sweaters two unique products, each with a different value.
So it is with buying local. Going back to the first paragraph, I agree with the article I cited that you should “buy excellent,” and that sometimes differing comparative advantages will mean that buying local is a bad idea. The internet is a wonderful thing; Amazon is a wonderful thing; and being able to trade with people on the other side of the globe is a wonderful thing. But—and this is important—the definition of excellent is subjective for each of us. So if local is excellent to you as it often is to me, buy local.
Edit: Here’s an interesting article on buying local from The American Conservative which you might enjoy. It makes the point more thoroughly than I have that there are non-economic factors which should be considered in this matter.
sleeper-ag3nt said: I'm kind of split on the Common Core standard myself. On one hand, if done correctly in the sense that everyone sticks to the standard, this could boost American students' performance on tests compared internationally. On the other hand, it takes control of education away from the people and lets the government choose the standard. Like, if it were possible to have an outline for each grade and then allow for the schools to go about it that way, I would have no problem with that.
Yeah, as I wrote in the original piece, some of what I’ve read about it sounds quite good—but I’m not really informed enough to make that judgment.
That said, for me, local control is more important than international test score contests. I’d rather have students getting teaching methods catered to their actual capabilities than bumping up some at least partially arbitrary numbers.
anarchofoxxy said: Hello, I was speaking with a couple of my Libertarian friends, and they were saying that the Libertarian Party should be used a sort of "vanguard party" to lead to nation to an "anarcho-capitalist capitalist future" (their words, not mine) is idea common among libertarians, and if so, isn't this a rather "Leninist" (for lack of a better word) position?
Whether it’s Leninist or not strikes me as somewhat immaterial—political technology is philosophically neutral.
That said, as I just wrote in reply to another question, I personally don’t think working with the LP is the way to go.
darteng said: One last question: is the Libertarian Party platform a good way to introduce people to libertarianism if they're interested in it, or does it paint a bad view of the philosophy in your eyes considering its views are slightly different than what most libertarians believe? Thank you so much for answering all my questions! :-)
I’m not a huge fan of working through the LP because of the inevitable ineffectiveness of third parties in America due to the way our elections are legally structured. (Read my thoughts on that here.)
To me, it seems like a waste to put time and effort into Libertarian Party stuff, because you can do the educational aspects more effectively without the electoral stuff weighing you down, and you can do the electoral stuff more effectively by working within one of the major parties.
As for their specific views, I’d say the LP is about as representative of libertarians as any organization. We’re always going to have disagreement within the movement, and no one candidate or party will be 100% perfect for all of us.
That said, I do think there’s at least a perception of antagonism toward people who are personally socially conservative (even though they don’t want to put the force of law behind their views) which comes from the LP. Whether or not that antagonism is real I can’t say with any confidence.
a-pleasure-to-have-in-class said: What's your view on common core and/or standardized testing? My school district decided to "opt-out" of standardized testing as a whole, and I fully support them, even though it may be a danger to our state funding. I wanted to know your thoughts.
I previously wrote about Common Core here, and everything I said there pretty much still stands. As I commented then, I’m inherently distrustful of Common Core because it is a national education standard. Like No Child Left Behind, Common Core will run roughshod over the needs and differences of local schools (not to mention the needs and differences of individual students).
But I have trouble joining the frenzy which has been whipped up by some small government types. My reticence may have something to do with my policy interests being elsewhere, but much of it I attribute to the fact that Common Core is in many ways simply a new gloss on the same old problems.
P.S. Your username is so appropriate to this question, haha.