The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 iSteve BlogTeasers
Everywhere Is Guilty: The Justice Dept. Jihad Against Ferguson in Statistical Perspective
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

If you’ve been, say, setting a world record for spelunking since August 14, 2014 and only recently resurfaced, you may have been surprised to find the Obama Administration and the media still worked up over Ferguson, MO. Even odder, although all goodthinkers everywhere remain in a fury at Ferguson, the justification has switched from White Racist Cops Murdering Black Babies Bodies in Cold Blood to … speed traps.

Reader X has written an analysis for iSteve of the actual stats on traffic stops (please note that everything below in this post is by Reader X):

IS THE FERGUSON POLICE DEPARTMENT A RACIST OUTLIER AMONG POLICE AGENCIES?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 19.59.07

No, Ferguson is not an outlier, at least not by this fundamental metric commonly used by academics, legislators and federal officials. The Disparity Index, as it’s called, shows that over the most recent ten years for which data are available, on average it’s not even slightly unusual for police at the municipal and county levels, and statewide, to stop black drivers disproportionately—at uncannily similar rates of disproportion. Put another way, all else equal, police in Missouri generally stop black drivers about 40-55% more frequently than the African American portion of the driving- age population would predict under random conditions. (That presupposes, thornily, that (a) traffic enforcement should be random; and (b) that the underlying driving and criminal behavior of motorists does not vary substantially across different racial groups or neighborhoods.) Nonetheless, by this popular-if-flawed scholarly standard, it seems Ferguson’s police department even compares well.

In fact, according to state-mandated reports, the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) “Disparity Index” for stops of black drivers has for the past eight years been about ten percent lower than the corresponding figure for the whole state…

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.01.40

…and is almost statistically indistinguishable, on average, from the St. Louis County police. By this measure of possible police bias, Ferguson looks relatively good.

So maybe Ferguson police reveal anti-black bias by conducting searches of stopped black motorists more often than other police agencies do?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.03.17

No. On average over the prior ten years, Ferguson officers conducted such searches at rates slightly lower than the statewide average—and fully a third lower than did St. Louis County police operating in the same region.

What’s more, over the same ten years, FPD’s search rate for stopped black motorists never once exceeded the County Police rate of searches:

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.14.22

So perhaps FPD as an agency has exhibited bias by arresting a substantially greater portion of stopped black motorists than comparable law enforcement agencies?

Nope. Here, too, Ferguson PD’s performance is right on pace with County and statewide norms.

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.15.17

In fact, despite modest variation over the ten-year period, FPD’s arrest rates of black motorists were consistently within about three (often fewer) percentage points of both the County PD and statewide figures:

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.16.13

Notably, the year-to-year trend lines at all three jurisdictional levels roughly mimicked common up-turns and down- turns, suggesting that patterns of motorist behaviors were trending up or down, not levels of professional bias transcending police agencies.

So perhaps the alleged bias inherent in ‘over-policing’ and ‘over-searching’ of African American motorists stands out markedly in Ferguson PD’s contraband hit rates, commonly described by critics as a measure of how ‘off-the-mark’ police hunches and pervasive stereotypes are?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.17.18

No, only tiny differences in FPD’s ten-year average hit rate, compared to County Police or statewide numbers.

The only evident contrast was Ferguson’s hit rate trending modestly upward over the prior four years, suggesting perhaps that FPD searches were becoming either better-executed or better-targeted or both:

Screenshot 2015-03-08 20.18.36

So how is it possible that the Ferguson Police Department’s rates of stopping, (un)successfully-searching and arresting black motorists—all highlighted in the Justice Department’s recent blistering critique—are said to illustrate an agency plagued by unusually widespread racial bias in contrast to other law enforcement agencies? Plainly, these metrics cannot show that, because they are not unusual. Published prior to the DOJ’s galloping 2015 assault on Ferguson PD’s reputation, a 2014 piece in the St. Louis Times-Dispatch also confirmed the Ferguson vehicle stop-related numbers don’t stand out by the standards of the region. It turns out FPD’s data on vehicle stops, searches and arrests fall well within the norms of Missouri policing.

So perhaps the norms of policing roadways and African American motorists across Missouri are themselves steeped in racial bias, in contrast to most police agencies outside the state?

That argument was summarily dispatched in a 2013 NPR story with this headline: “Missouri’s racial disparities in traffic stops mirror national trends” Excerpt: “Over the years, the study [of Missouri policing by scholars] consistently shows that African-American drivers are stopped more than other racial groups. University of South Carolina criminology professor Jeffrey Rojek has worked on the project for more than a decade. He says the finding is not unique to Missouri, but nationwide.”

So, if Ferguson’s Police Department is not an outlier in its patterns of policing black motorists, but rather a national emblem of widespread practices, what is the prevailing explanation for these national enforcement practices?

Left-wing explanation: Yes, most police officers and agencies in the U.S. routinely practice racially-biased law enforcement, especially but not exclusively white male officers against black male citizens. Bias, liberals say, is ubiquitous.

Right-wing explanation: Highly disparate rates of unlawful driving and criminal behavior by a subset of black Americans more than amply explain and justify the geographic, and therefore demographic, patterns of policing across America. Simply put, say the conservatives, cops go where reported and observable crime most often happens.

Can these explanations be meaningfully reconciled? Indeed, are these claims reciprocally-contingent?

Despite Eric Holder’s thin claims to the contrary, the Justice Department broadside on the tiny Ferguson PD for its reportedly systematic bias in policing of black motorists—at the very least—is ripe for generalization to many, many metropolitan American police agencies. In declaring his willingness (if not his agency’s authority) to dismantle the Ferguson Police Department “if necessary,” outgoing AG Eric Holder has not minced words. As recently reported in The Washington Post:

Holder said he believes what happened in Ferguson is an “anomaly,” but he hopes that law enforcement agencies around the country are paying attention to his comment and the report — that they “understand the intensity with which the feelings are felt at the federal government level to ensure that we use all the tools that we can to make sure that what happened in Ferguson is uncovered and simply does not happen in any other part of the country.”

True: Few are defending FPD, and no one is defending the anecdotal excesses and episodes of naked misconduct by some individual officers there. In itself, officials in the Civil Rights Division probably hope that is a lesson in its own right to other agencies.

True also, publically mounting even a measured defense of the Ferguson Police Department in the current climate is likely an exercise in political futility, if not career suicide, for law enforcement leaders nationwide. Locally, unless they exhibit an unlikely blend of moral nuance, political stamina and intellectual courage, Ferguson officials can be expected

to continue their hurried rush down DOJ’s prescribed path of reform. And don’t expect (m)any scholars, policing experts or mainstream commentators to show much more pluck, much less chutzpah, in this public monologue while it still masquerades as discourse. The politics of campuses, cities and journalism make that very, very unlikely.

Certainly, though, DOJ’s racial concerns extend far beyond Ferguson roadways and, indeed, far beyond Ferguson. And of course there is much more to be done in mapping the core of Ferguson’s challenges, restoring popular trust and charting solutions—which, appropriate or not, DOJ will seek to press fit onto many more jurisdictions, by hook or by crook. Administration voices will invoke all their institutional, rhetorical and even statistical power. But their bully pulpit has few levers, beyond spot grant funding. And—much like the Civil Rights Division’s woefully-belated vindication of Officer Darren Wilson—the public may radically reconceive the notion of bias in policing.

Finally, DOJ action could catalyze such new thinking in unintended ways. For instance, the headlong federal embrace of data analysis, “evidence-based methods” and the doctrine of “Disparate Impact” may yet backfire in grand fashion, if the weight of the data continues to fall toward awkward conclusions about epic racial differences in offending, more so than unlawful bias by police. If so, the legal theory of Disparate Impact as stand-alone evidence of institutional racism or biased policing could quickly collapse—right alongside the legacy of former Attorney General Eric Holder. That would be a calamity for progressives and African Americans alike. No doubt only time will tell, even when the current media din from Washington does not.

Reader X
March 7, 2015

 
    []
  1. e says:
    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/everywhere-is-guilty-the-justice-dept-jihad-against-ferguson-in-statistical-perspective/#comment-892350
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. Gork says:

    At least on my computer with Chrome, this post is hard to read, the text vanishing off into the right margin.

    No need to keep this comment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chang
    I'm having trouble reading this as well. Same problem. Also on Chrome. Text is being cut off on the right margin.
    , @Hugh
    on my ageing iPad too.
    , @MQ
    Yes something is wrong with the formatting on this post, sentences are cut off at the right margin.
  3. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Steve,

    Could you compare the Ferguson rates to stop, stop and frisk, and arrest rates in New York City, DC, and San Francisco?

    Read More
  4. countenance says: • Website

    The solution, according to Holder and some black state legislators? Give the St. Louis County Police Department control over Ferguson and dismantle the Ferguson PD.

    Read More
  5. Ivy says:

    News Release -Washington, D.C.

    Erratum

    We regret to inform New York Times editors and readers, and the world at large, of the following regrettable error:

    Disparate Impact was actually a typographical error.

    The correct phrase is Desperate Impact.

    Read More
  6. countenance says: • Website

    About halfway down through the text, the right margin cuts off the paragraphs.

    Read More
  7. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Now that she’s dead, everyone seems willing to put the boot into Maggie Thatcher about the pedophile business.

    Read More
  8. Chang says:
    @Gork
    At least on my computer with Chrome, this post is hard to read, the text vanishing off into the right margin.

    No need to keep this comment.

    I’m having trouble reading this as well. Same problem. Also on Chrome. Text is being cut off on the right margin.

    Read More
  9. Chang says:

    The bad formatting starts on this line for me:

    In fact, despite modest variation over the ten-year period, FPD’s arrest rates of black motorists were consistently within about three (often fewer) percentage points of both the County PD and statewide figures:

    The “consistently within about three (often fewer) percentage” part of the above text was invisible on my brower, though I could copy and paste it.

    Read More
  10. Hugh says:
    @Gork
    At least on my computer with Chrome, this post is hard to read, the text vanishing off into the right margin.

    No need to keep this comment.

    on my ageing iPad too.

    Read More
  11. MQ says:
    @Gork
    At least on my computer with Chrome, this post is hard to read, the text vanishing off into the right margin.

    No need to keep this comment.

    Yes something is wrong with the formatting on this post, sentences are cut off at the right margin.

    Read More
  12. IANAL says:

    Firefox on Mac, can’t read all the text that was chopped off on the right side.

    Read More
  13. Jefferson says:

    I feel sorry for taxpaying business owners in Madison, Wisconsin who are eventually going to have their businesses looted and burned down by Hussein Obama’s sons.

    Read More
  14. wren says:

    At times like this I think it is useful to break out Wikipedia’s list of traffic fatalities per capita and per vehicle.

    Because, racism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

    Read More
  15. Suffering deprivation of absent right-hand text makes me a victim of Disparate Impact.

    But then, other comments on this sensitive issue would seem to put me in good company.

    Read More
  16. jimB says:

    Perhaps the most impactful post on iSteve since Aug 12, 2014 and I can’t read it due to formatting. Shit.

    Read More
  17. An acquaintance who ran a police department set aside one day a month for what he called “Angry Black Lady Day” where people could come in and talk about their traffic stops.

    Universally the customers were black women who had their preacher or some other male friend in tow. The conversations universally went the same way. Said ABL would claim that she didn’t run that stop sign and the officer stopped her for Driving While Black and he was awful mean and nasty to her. Especially the black officers. According to the ABLs, those are the worst.

    So then my acquaintance would say, “Well, let’s look at the video tape.” At which point the preacher’s eyebrows would go up. Universally, the tape would show an unbroken capture of the ABL running the stop sign, being pulled over, becoming belligerent, and berating the officer (who always conducted himself with absolutely professionalism, likely in part because he knew he all the audio and video was being recorded).

    At that point the ABL would get really angry. Furious. Accusations of doctoring the tape were always made. Then the pastor would begin with the, “Well, it was good talking to you, we must be going” speech and trying to get the ABL out the door before she was arrested for the stack of more serious offenses she’d just committed.

    All Angry Black Lady days were like groundhog day… same nonsense over and over and over.

    Read More
  18. melo says:

    Great analysis. The doctrine of disparate impact really falls apart when applied to law enforcement. The only way to create a racially balanced prison population is to allow a significant proportion of offenders to go free. This of course would have a disproportionately negative impact on minority communities, but that doesn’t really bother the policy makers.

    It was clever of the DOJ to mix uninterpreted racial data with legitimate complaints of petty corruption and anectodes of generalized douchebaggery in the report. Of course there isn’t a clean way to separately answer the various allegations. There will be pressure from within the department to admit collective guilt rather than risk individuals having to take responsibility. When they inevitably cave in, it will be seen as an admission of racial bias.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Don't drone me bro!

     The only way to create a racially balanced prison population is to allow a significant proportion of offenders to go free. 
     
    You could start arresting white people for the crime of racism. Or aggravated microaggression. Or felonious disparate impact.
  19. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Notice no opposition from the GOP and Conservatives.

    Wussies.

    GOP is not the white party. It is a Vichy-like collaborationist regime.

    Read More
  20. eah says:

    Perhaps the formatting issues were fixed — it reads fine on my laptop, and I use a hybrid of the Chrome browser, one supposedly stripped of the parts that help GOOG spy on you (SRWare Iron).

    Anyway, many thanks to “Reader X” — great work. The first table alone — “Disparity Index” — is enough to show the absurdity of it all.

    …right alongside the legacy of former Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Holder will have a “legacy”? Who knew?! It was never going to be positive, or memorable. He’s a racial hack (like Obama), nothing more. I think most people see this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Holder's legacy will always, to me, be as the guy who pushed for Marc Rich's pardon.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/07/02/marc_rich_presidential_pardon_how_eric_holder_facilitated_the_most_unjust.html
    , @S. Verdad
    Unknown to Steve, Reader X is actually Steve's long-lost brother, who ran away from home long ago...
  21. wren says:
    @eah
    Perhaps the formatting issues were fixed -- it reads fine on my laptop, and I use a hybrid of the Chrome browser, one supposedly stripped of the parts that help GOOG spy on you (SRWare Iron).

    Anyway, many thanks to "Reader X" -- great work. The first table alone -- "Disparity Index" -- is enough to show the absurdity of it all.

    ...right alongside the legacy of former Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Holder will have a "legacy"? Who knew?! It was never going to be positive, or memorable. He's a racial hack (like Obama), nothing more. I think most people see this.

    Holder’s legacy will always, to me, be as the guy who pushed for Marc Rich’s pardon.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/07/02/marc_rich_presidential_pardon_how_eric_holder_facilitated_the_most_unjust.html

    Read More
  22. Twinkie says:

    True also, publically mounting even a measured defense of the Ferguson Police Department in the current climate is likely an exercise in political futility, if not career suicide, for law enforcement leaders nationwide.

    Where is Sheriff Harry Lee, when you need one, eh?

    Read More
  23. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    A black-run police department will do the same but won’t be scrutinized.

    What this shows is that the federal government is not impartial and will use the law lopsidedly.

    Lois Lerner of the IRS did the same with the Tea Party.

    And courts favor the homos over others.

    There is no rule of law. It’s distortion of the law by powerful interest and identity groups.

    Ferguson is being Palestine-ized and Iran-ized.

    Israel gets away with everything but Iran and Palestinians are especially punished for the slightest or even imaginary infractions.

    As long as white Cons have supported that kind of politics around the world, they are just getting a taste of their own medicine.

    Iranians and Palestinians did not put Holder in office. It was another tribal group.

    This group and their puppet Holder treat Iranians, Palestinians, and white gentiles the same way. Special target practice.

    Read More
  24. FWIW says:

    I can only give a sample based on a few tickets or less than fingers and toes combined. But …. police stops of males under 45 result in a 75% ticket rate. Attractive females … 20% rate. Over 45, it is reversed. +/- a few years, anyway.

    However, once, about 10 years ago, I was stopped by a female cop in an absurdly over policed small suburban town. It was for making a left turn between 2pm and 5pm on a neighborhood street. I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact. There was no other car within sight … a true nothing burger of a ticket.

    Meanwhile, the Madison police shooting isn’t going to get that much traction. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/armed-robbery/tony-robinson-shooting-890562

    And

    “Madison police were told that Tony Robinson had assaulted a friend, tried to strangle another person and was “yelling and jumping in front of cars” by dispatchers minutes before the unarmed teenager was fatally shot Friday night.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/madison-police-told-tony-robinson-assaulted-2-people-article-1.2141789

    Don’t they teach police how to give a violent but unarmed perp a beatdown instead of unloading a pistol into him? Whatever. Plus the kid had an ankle bracelet from his probation conditions. And they knew his name. I’m not saying the cop was legally unjustified to use deadly force.

    Since Ferguson, I have been following these .. and the perp is usually someone that is indefensible based on his record .. and now, social media evidence of posing with guns. In the entire time since Ferguson, the white cop, black perp killings have involved someone with a weapon or a felon, or both. Or someone mentally ill. People that no one would like to compare with their son. There are 100 or so of these a year — one every 3 days … and it has been a few months … and they have yet to come up with a compelling victim.

    The police chief in Madison is getting on my nerves. He KNOWS Tony’s record, and that the community knows that he isn’t the guy to justify going medieval on the town. So he is just sitting back, and will let the media ‘discover’ Tony’s record, ankle bracelet. Plus, he looks really big. And the cop has marks from a nasty punch. I don’t know the details .. but the chief knows he can act as caring and concerned and the facts aren’t going to support widespread outrage.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.
    , @Jack D
    While the perps are never sympathetic victims (and would probably end up dead sooner or later in some drug deal gone bad or whatever, which would garner zero headlines), there should still be some way for the police to deal with them short of shooting them dead. These shootings are no more accidents than car crashes at dangerous curves without guardrails are accidents - they are entirely foreseeable. And in part they arise from cop's (more or less understandable) attitude, especially after they become jaded after years of dealing with POS's. The cop is not going to give someone he regards as a just another POS the benefit of the doubt - if he has what might be a gun or probably is a replica, he is not going to find out the hard way. If someone is punching at him and might be trying to get his gun away from him, he is not going to take any chances. But, there should be some method for dealing with these folks in a non- lethal way. Partly it may be technological - better non-lethal weapons that will know someone down without killing them. And partly it may require better or different training - better ways of dealing with a disturbed or angry person without just shooting them. Most cops never shoot anyone their entire career, but there appear to be a handful that are a little triggerhappy or people who didn't have the right temperament to be cops in the first place.
    , @Dahlia
    Do you have a cite for that? The only thing I've ever found was a study saying women were ever so slightly more likely to be ticketed; younger versus older were looked at and it wasn't too different, varying by region.

    I don't know what a normal ticket rate is for stops, either. I read somewhere that something like a light being out is hardly ever ticketed.
  25. Twinkie says:
    @FWIW
    I can only give a sample based on a few tickets or less than fingers and toes combined. But .... police stops of males under 45 result in a 75% ticket rate. Attractive females ... 20% rate. Over 45, it is reversed. +/- a few years, anyway.

    However, once, about 10 years ago, I was stopped by a female cop in an absurdly over policed small suburban town. It was for making a left turn between 2pm and 5pm on a neighborhood street. I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact. There was no other car within sight ... a true nothing burger of a ticket.

    Meanwhile, the Madison police shooting isn't going to get that much traction. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/armed-robbery/tony-robinson-shooting-890562

    And

    "Madison police were told that Tony Robinson had assaulted a friend, tried to strangle another person and was "yelling and jumping in front of cars" by dispatchers minutes before the unarmed teenager was fatally shot Friday night."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/madison-police-told-tony-robinson-assaulted-2-people-article-1.2141789

    Don't they teach police how to give a violent but unarmed perp a beatdown instead of unloading a pistol into him? Whatever. Plus the kid had an ankle bracelet from his probation conditions. And they knew his name. I'm not saying the cop was legally unjustified to use deadly force.

    Since Ferguson, I have been following these .. and the perp is usually someone that is indefensible based on his record .. and now, social media evidence of posing with guns. In the entire time since Ferguson, the white cop, black perp killings have involved someone with a weapon or a felon, or both. Or someone mentally ill. People that no one would like to compare with their son. There are 100 or so of these a year -- one every 3 days ... and it has been a few months ... and they have yet to come up with a compelling victim.

    The police chief in Madison is getting on my nerves. He KNOWS Tony's record, and that the community knows that he isn't the guy to justify going medieval on the town. So he is just sitting back, and will let the media 'discover' Tony's record, ankle bracelet. Plus, he looks really big. And the cop has marks from a nasty punch. I don't know the details .. but the chief knows he can act as caring and concerned and the facts aren't going to support widespread outrage.

    Attractive females … 20% rate.

    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.

    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don’t understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn’t believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That’s just common sense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I shared an apartment with my cousin B., the King of Rush Street, a former minor league pitcher getting his MBA at Northwestern and a Channing Tatum lookalike. He was constantly getting pulled over by cops while driving home drunk, but getting off with a warning. It was very 21 Jump Streetish.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    , @Jack D
    While it is certainly a good idea to be polite and respectful to cops, and making a full confession happened to work for you in this particular instance, I really cannot recommend this as a strategy. Any statement that you make can later be used against you and you have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The late David Carr mentions in his book that whenever the cops would arrest him on drug charges and question him, his answer would be "I'm sorry officer, I really can't help you with that."

    A lot of people think that they are so smart and charming that they are going to talk their way out of things and they end up only digging the hole deeper for themselves. Scooter Libby committed no underlying crime, but then the FBI came to talk to him and he ended up getting convicted of making false statements to Federal investigators. If had politely turned them away, he would not have ended up in jail and disbarred.

    Shorter version: Never talk to a cop.
    , @Forbes

    I don’t understand people who argue with police officers ... one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner.
     
    Absolutely. In my younger years, I got off with warnings often by simply admitting what I was stopped for.

    The minute you start with the "What seems to be the problem, officer" BS, or challenging or debating with the cop--you're getting a ticket, or more. Women might be able to talk their way out with the "dumb blonde" shtick, but not men. Be pleasant, cooperate, make admission--then the officer determines that you're not just another a$$hole on the road, he'll often let you go with a warning. It's pretty simple--he's got bigger fish to fry, unless you're out to prove what a big fish you are...
    , @AnonymousCoward
    Twinkie, get cloned please.
    , @Jefferson
    "So, I don’t understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn’t believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That’s just common sense."

    Twinkie you are Chinese and most Chinese people do not teach their sons to get into a fist fight with police officers if they stop them for questioning. Most Black people do not teach their sons that it is not a good idea to try to physically assault police officers. Michael Brown would still be alive today if his mother had taught him common sense when it comes to how to behave when a police officer stops him for questioning.

    To a Chinese person like yourself it must be considered culture shock when you see Hussein Obama's sons trying to act gangsta hard when stopped by the police.
  26. @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.

    When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I shared an apartment with my cousin B., the King of Rush Street, a former minor league pitcher getting his MBA at Northwestern and a Channing Tatum lookalike. He was constantly getting pulled over by cops while driving home drunk, but getting off with a warning. It was very 21 Jump Streetish.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dahlia

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.
     
    Never? I think my husband has been ticketed every time he's been involved in a stop.
    , @Twinkie

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.
     
    As I put earlier, this was the first traffic stop I had in about twenty years, so I don't think one for one is all that impressive.

    Still, I would think that being pleasant and acknowledging the mistake are far more conducive to eliciting a warning rather than a citation from a peace officer, a lesson that seems sadly lost on many black people.

    By the way, I know a secret about getting out of a virtually all speeding tickets, but I have never used it. How's that for a cliffhanger?
  27. unit472 says:

    I mentioned this before but my local PD was given a grant by Holder’s DoJ to equip some police cars with license plate scanners. These compare license plates with lists of stolen vehicles and registered owners with suspended licenses and warrants. If police departments using nothing but normal procedures for conducting traffic stops are causing ‘disparate impact’ on black motorists just what does Holder expect to happen when ‘blind technology’ is added to the mix? That fewer
    black motorists will have unpaid court fines that result in warrants and suspended drivers license or parole or probation violations than white motorists?

    Read More
  28. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    What I find amusing is that the investigation into the racial disparity/bias of Ferguson PD was conducted by the least diverse government agency going, the FBI.

    Read More
  29. hodag says:

    Litugating this would be fun and interesting for Ferguson’s lawyers. For example, you could put federal law enforcement officials on the stand and ask about tbeir traffic stops, etc.

    Read More
  30. fenster says:

    I don’t see how disparate impact works as a doctrine relative to law enforcement. I get the idea when it is a matter of a job requirement that is not germane to job performance–here, you can argue that the requirement does not create either equity or efficiency, and it harms equity. At least this has been my understanding of how disparate impact is supposed to work. But how does that translate into traffic stops? A neutral approach may impact one group more than another, but a non-neutral approach would come at a cost of, if you will, efficiency–miscreant x would actually be permitted to run a red light when miscreant y is given a pass.

    Read More
  31. Can Steve (or other readers) speculate on two things:

    1. Why isn’t the police department fighting this harder? It doesn’t have to win in the media. It just has to win in court, and the DOJ appears to have very little case beyond offensive email. As recent grand juries have shown, legit cases can be won in court.

    2. Why haven’t victims of recent media overreach sued? The MSM has always been to the left, but it has gone so crazy of late, reporting things that it knows to be false, that it has left itself open to libel charges. How have the people of Ferguson not launched a class action against the nation’s largest media companies for the billions of dollars in property values lost riots and the negative perception of the town that will never go away? How much prestige has UVA lost to the rape story? How much has the fraternity suffered? Yes, the media is reasonably shielded from suits in the US (compared to, say, the UK) but coverage of these stories has been so aggressively false that most outlets have not maintained their shield. NYT stories still imply that Brown was obviously an innocent victim. (One of their rhetorical devices, among many, is to always refer to him as a “teen,” which is technically accurate but NYT style for all other 18-y-o is to call them “men.”) Hell, I really don’t understand why Zimmerman didn’t sue and win many millions. The endless use of Martin’s childhood photos rather than recent ones was an obvious attempt by the media to prejudice coverage and I cannot imagine a jury giving them a pass on that.

    Presumably the justice department cannot be sued, but what on earth have any of these folks to lose from suing the media into non-existence? (And Ferguson, at the very least, would have to be a multi-billion-dollar case that would threaten the existence of many MSM operations.)

    Lawyers?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon

    Hell, I really don’t understand why Zimmerman didn’t sue and win many millions.
     
    He did sue NBC for defamation over the misleading editing of the 911 calls, but the case was dismissed on summary judgment.

    Background info for defamation. There are two standards: one for private figures and one for public figures. A private figure must show that a "reasonable person" would not have published the defamatory statement. A public figure most show "actual malice"—that the defamatory statement was published with either knowledge of falsity or in reckless disregard for the truth.

    Thus, the actual malice standard for public figures is much, much more onerous to meet. Zimmerman's attorneys probably knew they could not meet the public figure standard, but were banking on the hope that he'd be deemed a private figure.

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure... and that Zimmerman's petition had not alleged facts sufficient to prove actual malice.

  32. Good post! It doesn’t mention the DOJ report’s proudest claim, though: that the white contraband hit rate was higher than the black rate. That actually is the only relevant one, too, for the reason you talk about in the post that black motorists might have higher offense rates. In that case, though, the contraband hit rates should be equal.

    I haven’t gotten round to running the statistical significance test, but I’ll dump my notes here.

    Whites were stopped 1,735 times. 5% of them were searched, so that’s 87 whites searched. 30% of those had contraband on them, which is 26.

    24% is the black rate of contraband discovered. If whites had the same rate, then .24*87 would have had contraband. That’s 21, instead of 26.

    1086 black were stopped .24*1086= 261.

    The number aren’t quite the same as used in the post (the post data is from State of Missouri, mine from the DOJ report).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jonah
    Eric Rasmussen - I've been looking at this black/white contraband hit rate issue as well.

    What jumps out to me are two things:

    1) Sample size and marginal success rate. The DOJ is outraged that blacks were searched twice as often as whites, and they think this is entirely owed to racism. Much more likely it is owed to the marginal success rate of searches dropping below a certain threshold more quickly for whites.

    Explanation: you search the sketchiest 50 black drivers, and 35 are holding. You search the sketchiest 50 white drivers, and 23 are holding. Then you search the next sketchiest 50 black drivers and 30 are holding. And you search the next sketchiest 50 white drivers... and 3 are holding. By now you're about done searching whites. But you're nowhere close to done moving down the list of sketchy black drivers. You're going to keep at it until your chances of success drop below a threshold where the search isn't worth your time. Your rate of return might not reach 3 successful searches per 50 black drivers until the 18th grouping.

    Another implication of this (very reasonable) approach: you might end up with a lower overall success rate while searching black motorists, but that doesn't mean you weren't implementing common sense and a fair standard. You went fishing any time there was a greater than 10 % chance of success, and the distribution of contraband among that population was such that applying this rule led to different success rates overall.

    Since WAY more black motorists were searched, we can probably assume that searching the NEXT 100 MOST LIKELY black drivers won't decrease the % holding contraband very much. That's not so with the white #. The white # would probably PLUMMET.

    2) Another explanation that should be trackable inside the existing data: searches compelled by law because of outstanding warrants. If more black drivers have priors/are in the justice system, there's your disparity right there. Cops are probably compelled to be executing a lot of these searches.
  33. Jack D says:
    @FWIW
    I can only give a sample based on a few tickets or less than fingers and toes combined. But .... police stops of males under 45 result in a 75% ticket rate. Attractive females ... 20% rate. Over 45, it is reversed. +/- a few years, anyway.

    However, once, about 10 years ago, I was stopped by a female cop in an absurdly over policed small suburban town. It was for making a left turn between 2pm and 5pm on a neighborhood street. I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact. There was no other car within sight ... a true nothing burger of a ticket.

    Meanwhile, the Madison police shooting isn't going to get that much traction. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/armed-robbery/tony-robinson-shooting-890562

    And

    "Madison police were told that Tony Robinson had assaulted a friend, tried to strangle another person and was "yelling and jumping in front of cars" by dispatchers minutes before the unarmed teenager was fatally shot Friday night."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/madison-police-told-tony-robinson-assaulted-2-people-article-1.2141789

    Don't they teach police how to give a violent but unarmed perp a beatdown instead of unloading a pistol into him? Whatever. Plus the kid had an ankle bracelet from his probation conditions. And they knew his name. I'm not saying the cop was legally unjustified to use deadly force.

    Since Ferguson, I have been following these .. and the perp is usually someone that is indefensible based on his record .. and now, social media evidence of posing with guns. In the entire time since Ferguson, the white cop, black perp killings have involved someone with a weapon or a felon, or both. Or someone mentally ill. People that no one would like to compare with their son. There are 100 or so of these a year -- one every 3 days ... and it has been a few months ... and they have yet to come up with a compelling victim.

    The police chief in Madison is getting on my nerves. He KNOWS Tony's record, and that the community knows that he isn't the guy to justify going medieval on the town. So he is just sitting back, and will let the media 'discover' Tony's record, ankle bracelet. Plus, he looks really big. And the cop has marks from a nasty punch. I don't know the details .. but the chief knows he can act as caring and concerned and the facts aren't going to support widespread outrage.

    While the perps are never sympathetic victims (and would probably end up dead sooner or later in some drug deal gone bad or whatever, which would garner zero headlines), there should still be some way for the police to deal with them short of shooting them dead. These shootings are no more accidents than car crashes at dangerous curves without guardrails are accidents – they are entirely foreseeable. And in part they arise from cop’s (more or less understandable) attitude, especially after they become jaded after years of dealing with POS’s. The cop is not going to give someone he regards as a just another POS the benefit of the doubt – if he has what might be a gun or probably is a replica, he is not going to find out the hard way. If someone is punching at him and might be trying to get his gun away from him, he is not going to take any chances. But, there should be some method for dealing with these folks in a non- lethal way. Partly it may be technological – better non-lethal weapons that will know someone down without killing them. And partly it may require better or different training – better ways of dealing with a disturbed or angry person without just shooting them. Most cops never shoot anyone their entire career, but there appear to be a handful that are a little triggerhappy or people who didn’t have the right temperament to be cops in the first place.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    19th century villages in southeast Asia had pole and lasso contraptions for subduing men running amok.
    , @Twinkie

    better non-lethal weapons
     
    There is no such thing as "non-lethal weapons." All weapons are potentially lethal. Some are more or less than others. Again, the correct terminology for the likes of pepper spray, Taser, and PR-24 are "less lethal," not "non-lethal."

    And contrary to the popular belief, most police officers are trained in the force continuum concept, and do not automatically elevate all responses to firearms.
  34. Jack D says:
    @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.

    While it is certainly a good idea to be polite and respectful to cops, and making a full confession happened to work for you in this particular instance, I really cannot recommend this as a strategy. Any statement that you make can later be used against you and you have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The late David Carr mentions in his book that whenever the cops would arrest him on drug charges and question him, his answer would be “I’m sorry officer, I really can’t help you with that.”

    A lot of people think that they are so smart and charming that they are going to talk their way out of things and they end up only digging the hole deeper for themselves. Scooter Libby committed no underlying crime, but then the FBI came to talk to him and he ended up getting convicted of making false statements to Federal investigators. If had politely turned them away, he would not have ended up in jail and disbarred.

    Shorter version: Never talk to a cop.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Forbes
    I think Twinkie's observations have to do with a minor traffic stop and motor vehicle violations, not a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction--for which your observations are germane.
  35. Jack D says:

    Please stop confusing us with all those charts and graphs. The most important thing is that there were people in Ferguson telling racist jokes. Even if the cops elsewhere arrest just as many blacks, they are not proven raaaaacists like the cops in Ferguson.

    One of the tenets of liberalism is that intentions count. So, if evil white men turned Detroit into an uninhabitable hellhole, they would be condemned for their despicable crimes. But if well meaning liberals thru their social policies turn Detroit into the exact same hell hole, well, they meant well, so they can be forgiven for their errors. If a liberal likens President Bush to a chimp, this has nothing to do with racism – it is only intended to indicate his low (and correct) opinion of Bush’s intelligence. If a white man likens Pres. Obama to a chimp, this can only be motivated by racism. To you, this may sound like who-whom, but to them it does not. The whole concept of “hate crime” turns on what you feel in your heart. In some primitive system of justice such as that envisioned by Dead White Males, if you strike someone with a baseball bat and I strike another person with a bat, we have both committed the same crime and should receive similar punishments. BUT, in the new improved system of justice, the state will examine our motives for racism and whoever has racial (or gay, trans, etc.) hatred in his heart has committed the greater crime and must be punished accordingly. While we can never know what is in a man’s heart, emailing racist cartoons is a big hint.

    Read More
  36. ivvenalis says:

    I absolutely would not rule out the DoJ doubling down over time in light of this sort of evidence and more or less attempting to abolish police forces below the state level.

    Read More
  37. PN says:

    Excellent article, but close to the end there’s a curious descent into wishful thinking that runs counter to the spot-on analysis of the preceding paragraphs. Perhaps “Reader X” wanted to avoid his post being too much of a downer.

    The wishful thinking begins here: “But their bully pulpit has few levers, beyond spot grant funding,” etc. USGOV has more levers than this, of course, but it doesn’t really need them given the fact that there is no principled, organized opposition to the progressive line on race. And I don’t see the American public “radically reconceiving” anything, least of all issues of racial bias.

    The crucial point is no “new thinking” is going to happen because the socio-political system in place is stacked too heavily against it. If there are racial differences in offending, there may be racial differences elsewhere, too, and that simply isn’t palatable. Not palatable here means effectively unthinkable. No calamity for progressives or African Americans is on the horizon due to Holder’s moves, and let’s not pretend that one is. Such a suggestion reminds me of when conservatives tried to spin Chief Justice Roberts’ shameful fold on Obamacare as “playing the long game.”

    A more likely outcome, if you want to find some good news in what is otherwise just another step in our long parade of folly, would be this: USGOV’s insistence on flawed policy makes itself a nuisance to state and local officials. In some cases, these officials may begin to quietly ignore USGOV to ever-greater extents. Over time, this leads to separation and collapse. The American order as it exists today will die before the progressive line on race is abandoned.

    As a general rule, those who wait for “people to wake up” will find themselves waiting for a very long time.

    Read More
  38. Jonah says:
    @Eric Rasmusen
    Good post! It doesn't mention the DOJ report's proudest claim, though: that the white contraband hit rate was higher than the black rate. That actually is the only relevant one, too, for the reason you talk about in the post that black motorists might have higher offense rates. In that case, though, the contraband hit rates should be equal.

    I haven't gotten round to running the statistical significance test, but I'll dump my notes here.

    Whites were stopped 1,735 times. 5% of them were searched, so that's 87 whites searched. 30% of those had contraband on them, which is 26.

    24% is the black rate of contraband discovered. If whites had the same rate, then .24*87 would have had contraband. That's 21, instead of 26.

    1086 black were stopped .24*1086= 261.

    The number aren't quite the same as used in the post (the post data is from State of Missouri, mine from the DOJ report).

    Eric Rasmussen – I’ve been looking at this black/white contraband hit rate issue as well.

    What jumps out to me are two things:

    1) Sample size and marginal success rate. The DOJ is outraged that blacks were searched twice as often as whites, and they think this is entirely owed to racism. Much more likely it is owed to the marginal success rate of searches dropping below a certain threshold more quickly for whites.

    Explanation: you search the sketchiest 50 black drivers, and 35 are holding. You search the sketchiest 50 white drivers, and 23 are holding. Then you search the next sketchiest 50 black drivers and 30 are holding. And you search the next sketchiest 50 white drivers… and 3 are holding. By now you’re about done searching whites. But you’re nowhere close to done moving down the list of sketchy black drivers. You’re going to keep at it until your chances of success drop below a threshold where the search isn’t worth your time. Your rate of return might not reach 3 successful searches per 50 black drivers until the 18th grouping.

    Another implication of this (very reasonable) approach: you might end up with a lower overall success rate while searching black motorists, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t implementing common sense and a fair standard. You went fishing any time there was a greater than 10 % chance of success, and the distribution of contraband among that population was such that applying this rule led to different success rates overall.

    Since WAY more black motorists were searched, we can probably assume that searching the NEXT 100 MOST LIKELY black drivers won’t decrease the % holding contraband very much. That’s not so with the white #. The white # would probably PLUMMET.

    2) Another explanation that should be trackable inside the existing data: searches compelled by law because of outstanding warrants. If more black drivers have priors/are in the justice system, there’s your disparity right there. Cops are probably compelled to be executing a lot of these searches.

    Read More
  39. @melo
    Great analysis. The doctrine of disparate impact really falls apart when applied to law enforcement. The only way to create a racially balanced prison population is to allow a significant proportion of offenders to go free. This of course would have a disproportionately negative impact on minority communities, but that doesn't really bother the policy makers.

    It was clever of the DOJ to mix uninterpreted racial data with legitimate complaints of petty corruption and anectodes of generalized douchebaggery in the report. Of course there isn't a clean way to separately answer the various allegations. There will be pressure from within the department to admit collective guilt rather than risk individuals having to take responsibility. When they inevitably cave in, it will be seen as an admission of racial bias.

     The only way to create a racially balanced prison population is to allow a significant proportion of offenders to go free. 

    You could start arresting white people for the crime of racism. Or aggravated microaggression. Or felonious disparate impact.

    Read More
  40. Forbes says:
    @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.

    I don’t understand people who argue with police officers … one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner.

    Absolutely. In my younger years, I got off with warnings often by simply admitting what I was stopped for.

    The minute you start with the “What seems to be the problem, officer” BS, or challenging or debating with the cop–you’re getting a ticket, or more. Women might be able to talk their way out with the “dumb blonde” shtick, but not men. Be pleasant, cooperate, make admission–then the officer determines that you’re not just another a$$hole on the road, he’ll often let you go with a warning. It’s pretty simple–he’s got bigger fish to fry, unless you’re out to prove what a big fish you are…

    Read More
  41. @Jack D
    While the perps are never sympathetic victims (and would probably end up dead sooner or later in some drug deal gone bad or whatever, which would garner zero headlines), there should still be some way for the police to deal with them short of shooting them dead. These shootings are no more accidents than car crashes at dangerous curves without guardrails are accidents - they are entirely foreseeable. And in part they arise from cop's (more or less understandable) attitude, especially after they become jaded after years of dealing with POS's. The cop is not going to give someone he regards as a just another POS the benefit of the doubt - if he has what might be a gun or probably is a replica, he is not going to find out the hard way. If someone is punching at him and might be trying to get his gun away from him, he is not going to take any chances. But, there should be some method for dealing with these folks in a non- lethal way. Partly it may be technological - better non-lethal weapons that will know someone down without killing them. And partly it may require better or different training - better ways of dealing with a disturbed or angry person without just shooting them. Most cops never shoot anyone their entire career, but there appear to be a handful that are a little triggerhappy or people who didn't have the right temperament to be cops in the first place.

    19th century villages in southeast Asia had pole and lasso contraptions for subduing men running amok.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Probably these are not practical in a modern context where the suspect is, or may be armed. Also suspects are often confronted indoors or in automobiles, where you are not going to have room to swing a pole around. Or maybe these work if you have 10 nimble tribesmen who have been practicing on goats (in more ways that 1) all their life to run after 1 guy but not for 1 flat footed overweight cop. These type of devices may require extensive training and dexterity, esp. compared to just shooting someone. And of course, our society is biased against low tech solutions - how is some contractor going to make a lot of money selling bamboo poles and rope to municipalities. Also, there are probably liability concerns - if the non-lethal device fails to work and the cope is killed or injured, the device maker is going to get sued by the injured cop or his survivors.
  42. Forbes says:
    @Jack D
    While it is certainly a good idea to be polite and respectful to cops, and making a full confession happened to work for you in this particular instance, I really cannot recommend this as a strategy. Any statement that you make can later be used against you and you have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The late David Carr mentions in his book that whenever the cops would arrest him on drug charges and question him, his answer would be "I'm sorry officer, I really can't help you with that."

    A lot of people think that they are so smart and charming that they are going to talk their way out of things and they end up only digging the hole deeper for themselves. Scooter Libby committed no underlying crime, but then the FBI came to talk to him and he ended up getting convicted of making false statements to Federal investigators. If had politely turned them away, he would not have ended up in jail and disbarred.

    Shorter version: Never talk to a cop.

    I think Twinkie’s observations have to do with a minor traffic stop and motor vehicle violations, not a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction–for which your observations are germane.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I think Twinkie’s observations have to do with a minor traffic stop and motor vehicle violations, not a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction–for which your observations are germane.
     
    YES!

    In cases of "a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction," the my line of reply would be, "Officer, I would very much like to cooperate. However, I would like to consult my attorney first before I do so. May I please call him? The sooner I speak to him, the sooner I will be able to cooperate with your investigation." And then put that on a repeating loop for all or any subsequent questions.
  43. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer
    19th century villages in southeast Asia had pole and lasso contraptions for subduing men running amok.

    Probably these are not practical in a modern context where the suspect is, or may be armed. Also suspects are often confronted indoors or in automobiles, where you are not going to have room to swing a pole around. Or maybe these work if you have 10 nimble tribesmen who have been practicing on goats (in more ways that 1) all their life to run after 1 guy but not for 1 flat footed overweight cop. These type of devices may require extensive training and dexterity, esp. compared to just shooting someone. And of course, our society is biased against low tech solutions – how is some contractor going to make a lot of money selling bamboo poles and rope to municipalities. Also, there are probably liability concerns – if the non-lethal device fails to work and the cope is killed or injured, the device maker is going to get sued by the injured cop or his survivors.

    Read More
  44. S. Verdad says:
    @eah
    Perhaps the formatting issues were fixed -- it reads fine on my laptop, and I use a hybrid of the Chrome browser, one supposedly stripped of the parts that help GOOG spy on you (SRWare Iron).

    Anyway, many thanks to "Reader X" -- great work. The first table alone -- "Disparity Index" -- is enough to show the absurdity of it all.

    ...right alongside the legacy of former Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Holder will have a "legacy"? Who knew?! It was never going to be positive, or memorable. He's a racial hack (like Obama), nothing more. I think most people see this.

    Unknown to Steve, Reader X is actually Steve’s long-lost brother, who ran away from home long ago…

    Read More
    • Replies: @S. Verdad
    *long-lost brother Rex...
    , @D. K.
    Steve was adopted by the Sailers as a baby, was he not? That is my recollection, anyway. If so, there is no telling...!?!?!

    (There was a case in New York, decades ago, where a mother put her newborn triplets up for adoption. A psychologist on hand decided to play social scientist. He not only separated the three-- which was not unusual per se-- but he also arranged to have one newborn adopted by a wealthy family, another by a comfortably middle-class family, and the third by a working-class family. Many years later, two of them accidentally crossed paths and, as a result, began to unravel the mystery that they confronted. In the process, they located their triplet.)
  45. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Curious Reader
    Can Steve (or other readers) speculate on two things:

    1. Why isn't the police department fighting this harder? It doesn't have to win in the media. It just has to win in court, and the DOJ appears to have very little case beyond offensive email. As recent grand juries have shown, legit cases can be won in court.

    2. Why haven't victims of recent media overreach sued? The MSM has always been to the left, but it has gone so crazy of late, reporting things that it knows to be false, that it has left itself open to libel charges. How have the people of Ferguson not launched a class action against the nation's largest media companies for the billions of dollars in property values lost riots and the negative perception of the town that will never go away? How much prestige has UVA lost to the rape story? How much has the fraternity suffered? Yes, the media is reasonably shielded from suits in the US (compared to, say, the UK) but coverage of these stories has been so aggressively false that most outlets have not maintained their shield. NYT stories still imply that Brown was obviously an innocent victim. (One of their rhetorical devices, among many, is to always refer to him as a "teen," which is technically accurate but NYT style for all other 18-y-o is to call them "men.") Hell, I really don't understand why Zimmerman didn't sue and win many millions. The endless use of Martin's childhood photos rather than recent ones was an obvious attempt by the media to prejudice coverage and I cannot imagine a jury giving them a pass on that.

    Presumably the justice department cannot be sued, but what on earth have any of these folks to lose from suing the media into non-existence? (And Ferguson, at the very least, would have to be a multi-billion-dollar case that would threaten the existence of many MSM operations.)

    Lawyers?

    Hell, I really don’t understand why Zimmerman didn’t sue and win many millions.

    He did sue NBC for defamation over the misleading editing of the 911 calls, but the case was dismissed on summary judgment.

    Background info for defamation. There are two standards: one for private figures and one for public figures. A private figure must show that a “reasonable person” would not have published the defamatory statement. A public figure most show “actual malice”—that the defamatory statement was published with either knowledge of falsity or in reckless disregard for the truth.

    Thus, the actual malice standard for public figures is much, much more onerous to meet. Zimmerman’s attorneys probably knew they could not meet the public figure standard, but were banking on the hope that he’d be deemed a private figure.

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure… and that Zimmerman’s petition had not alleged facts sufficient to prove actual malice.

    Read More
    • Replies: @D. K.
    What judge was that? Oddly enough, if memory serves me correctly, it was none other than the same Florida trial judge who previously had overseen his criminal trial for having killed one Trayvon Martin!?!?!
    , @Twinkie

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure…
     
    Of course, since NBC has the power to turn any private figure into a public figure, it gets a get-out-of-jail-free (or a huge payout) card in such a lawsuit.
  46. S. Verdad says:
    @S. Verdad
    Unknown to Steve, Reader X is actually Steve's long-lost brother, who ran away from home long ago...

    *long-lost brother Rex…

    Read More
  47. D. K. says:
    @anon

    Hell, I really don’t understand why Zimmerman didn’t sue and win many millions.
     
    He did sue NBC for defamation over the misleading editing of the 911 calls, but the case was dismissed on summary judgment.

    Background info for defamation. There are two standards: one for private figures and one for public figures. A private figure must show that a "reasonable person" would not have published the defamatory statement. A public figure most show "actual malice"—that the defamatory statement was published with either knowledge of falsity or in reckless disregard for the truth.

    Thus, the actual malice standard for public figures is much, much more onerous to meet. Zimmerman's attorneys probably knew they could not meet the public figure standard, but were banking on the hope that he'd be deemed a private figure.

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure... and that Zimmerman's petition had not alleged facts sufficient to prove actual malice.

    What judge was that? Oddly enough, if memory serves me correctly, it was none other than the same Florida trial judge who previously had overseen his criminal trial for having killed one Trayvon Martin!?!?!

    Read More
  48. D. K. says:
    @S. Verdad
    Unknown to Steve, Reader X is actually Steve's long-lost brother, who ran away from home long ago...

    Steve was adopted by the Sailers as a baby, was he not? That is my recollection, anyway. If so, there is no telling…!?!?!

    (There was a case in New York, decades ago, where a mother put her newborn triplets up for adoption. A psychologist on hand decided to play social scientist. He not only separated the three– which was not unusual per se– but he also arranged to have one newborn adopted by a wealthy family, another by a comfortably middle-class family, and the third by a working-class family. Many years later, two of them accidentally crossed paths and, as a result, began to unravel the mystery that they confronted. In the process, they located their triplet.)

    Read More
  49. @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.

    Twinkie, get cloned please.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Twinkie, get cloned please.
     
    Thanks. My religion forbids human cloning, but I did the best I could naturally. I married a very virtuous and high IQ Anglo-Germanic (who is also extremely law-abiding) and have had lots of little ones, some of who are not so little anymore!
  50. Jefferson says:
    @Twinkie

    Attractive females … 20% rate.
     
    Even young women in bikinis are not above the law. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DhzgOCHZzo

    I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact.
     
    I recently had a traffic stop. I made what was a clear moving violation, the first time I did so in probably twenty years. Worse still, the car I cut off unintentionally in the process was an unmarked police car!

    When the officer approached me, I politely acknowledged my mistake, apologized profusely, and earnestly told him that I deserved a ticket. No excuses, no arguments, nothing. Just that I was very sorry about what I did. He gave me a warning instead of issuing me a citation and let me go.

    Also, I am sure he ran my plate and knew that I had a concealed carry pistol permit.

    So, I don't understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn't believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one's mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That's just common sense.

    “So, I don’t understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn’t believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That’s just common sense.”

    Twinkie you are Chinese and most Chinese people do not teach their sons to get into a fist fight with police officers if they stop them for questioning. Most Black people do not teach their sons that it is not a good idea to try to physically assault police officers. Michael Brown would still be alive today if his mother had taught him common sense when it comes to how to behave when a police officer stops him for questioning.

    To a Chinese person like yourself it must be considered culture shock when you see Hussein Obama’s sons trying to act gangsta hard when stopped by the police.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    To a Chinese person like yourself it must be considered culture shock when you see Hussein Obama’s sons trying to act gangsta hard when stopped by the police.
     
    1. I am not Chinese.

    2. I never had this "culture shock" since a) I heard a lot about black violence early on from my parents and others, in other words I had what Derbyshire called "The Talk: the Non-Black Version" and b) I got into numerous fights with black youths when I was younger, mostly trying to shield my white and Asian friends from their depredations. And to be frank, I was a bit testosterone-poisoned as a young man and attracted trouble more than I should have.

    So, like yours, my opinion of black population as a whole is not positive. However, I also worked with some absolute black heroes who were patriots and great human beings. So where personal interactions are concerned, I evaluate people as individuals. In matters of social policy, however, I have to rely on group norms.
  51. Dahlia says:
    @FWIW
    I can only give a sample based on a few tickets or less than fingers and toes combined. But .... police stops of males under 45 result in a 75% ticket rate. Attractive females ... 20% rate. Over 45, it is reversed. +/- a few years, anyway.

    However, once, about 10 years ago, I was stopped by a female cop in an absurdly over policed small suburban town. It was for making a left turn between 2pm and 5pm on a neighborhood street. I tried to talk my way out of the ticket, but the policewoman said she never let someone go because of desparate impact. There was no other car within sight ... a true nothing burger of a ticket.

    Meanwhile, the Madison police shooting isn't going to get that much traction. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/armed-robbery/tony-robinson-shooting-890562

    And

    "Madison police were told that Tony Robinson had assaulted a friend, tried to strangle another person and was "yelling and jumping in front of cars" by dispatchers minutes before the unarmed teenager was fatally shot Friday night."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/madison-police-told-tony-robinson-assaulted-2-people-article-1.2141789

    Don't they teach police how to give a violent but unarmed perp a beatdown instead of unloading a pistol into him? Whatever. Plus the kid had an ankle bracelet from his probation conditions. And they knew his name. I'm not saying the cop was legally unjustified to use deadly force.

    Since Ferguson, I have been following these .. and the perp is usually someone that is indefensible based on his record .. and now, social media evidence of posing with guns. In the entire time since Ferguson, the white cop, black perp killings have involved someone with a weapon or a felon, or both. Or someone mentally ill. People that no one would like to compare with their son. There are 100 or so of these a year -- one every 3 days ... and it has been a few months ... and they have yet to come up with a compelling victim.

    The police chief in Madison is getting on my nerves. He KNOWS Tony's record, and that the community knows that he isn't the guy to justify going medieval on the town. So he is just sitting back, and will let the media 'discover' Tony's record, ankle bracelet. Plus, he looks really big. And the cop has marks from a nasty punch. I don't know the details .. but the chief knows he can act as caring and concerned and the facts aren't going to support widespread outrage.

    Do you have a cite for that? The only thing I’ve ever found was a study saying women were ever so slightly more likely to be ticketed; younger versus older were looked at and it wasn’t too different, varying by region.

    I don’t know what a normal ticket rate is for stops, either. I read somewhere that something like a light being out is hardly ever ticketed.

    Read More
  52. Dahlia says:
    @Steve Sailer
    When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I shared an apartment with my cousin B., the King of Rush Street, a former minor league pitcher getting his MBA at Northwestern and a Channing Tatum lookalike. He was constantly getting pulled over by cops while driving home drunk, but getting off with a warning. It was very 21 Jump Streetish.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    Never? I think my husband has been ticketed every time he’s been involved in a stop.

    Read More
  53. Twinkie says:
    @Steve Sailer
    When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I shared an apartment with my cousin B., the King of Rush Street, a former minor league pitcher getting his MBA at Northwestern and a Channing Tatum lookalike. He was constantly getting pulled over by cops while driving home drunk, but getting off with a warning. It was very 21 Jump Streetish.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    In contrast, I never managed to talk my way out of a ticket.

    As I put earlier, this was the first traffic stop I had in about twenty years, so I don’t think one for one is all that impressive.

    Still, I would think that being pleasant and acknowledging the mistake are far more conducive to eliciting a warning rather than a citation from a peace officer, a lesson that seems sadly lost on many black people.

    By the way, I know a secret about getting out of a virtually all speeding tickets, but I have never used it. How’s that for a cliffhanger?

    Read More
  54. Twinkie says:
    @Forbes
    I think Twinkie's observations have to do with a minor traffic stop and motor vehicle violations, not a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction--for which your observations are germane.

    I think Twinkie’s observations have to do with a minor traffic stop and motor vehicle violations, not a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction–for which your observations are germane.

    YES!

    In cases of “a questioning under suspicion of a criminal infraction,” the my line of reply would be, “Officer, I would very much like to cooperate. However, I would like to consult my attorney first before I do so. May I please call him? The sooner I speak to him, the sooner I will be able to cooperate with your investigation.” And then put that on a repeating loop for all or any subsequent questions.

    Read More
  55. Twinkie says:
    @Jack D
    While the perps are never sympathetic victims (and would probably end up dead sooner or later in some drug deal gone bad or whatever, which would garner zero headlines), there should still be some way for the police to deal with them short of shooting them dead. These shootings are no more accidents than car crashes at dangerous curves without guardrails are accidents - they are entirely foreseeable. And in part they arise from cop's (more or less understandable) attitude, especially after they become jaded after years of dealing with POS's. The cop is not going to give someone he regards as a just another POS the benefit of the doubt - if he has what might be a gun or probably is a replica, he is not going to find out the hard way. If someone is punching at him and might be trying to get his gun away from him, he is not going to take any chances. But, there should be some method for dealing with these folks in a non- lethal way. Partly it may be technological - better non-lethal weapons that will know someone down without killing them. And partly it may require better or different training - better ways of dealing with a disturbed or angry person without just shooting them. Most cops never shoot anyone their entire career, but there appear to be a handful that are a little triggerhappy or people who didn't have the right temperament to be cops in the first place.

    better non-lethal weapons

    There is no such thing as “non-lethal weapons.” All weapons are potentially lethal. Some are more or less than others. Again, the correct terminology for the likes of pepper spray, Taser, and PR-24 are “less lethal,” not “non-lethal.”

    And contrary to the popular belief, most police officers are trained in the force continuum concept, and do not automatically elevate all responses to firearms.

    Read More
  56. Twinkie says:
    @anon

    Hell, I really don’t understand why Zimmerman didn’t sue and win many millions.
     
    He did sue NBC for defamation over the misleading editing of the 911 calls, but the case was dismissed on summary judgment.

    Background info for defamation. There are two standards: one for private figures and one for public figures. A private figure must show that a "reasonable person" would not have published the defamatory statement. A public figure most show "actual malice"—that the defamatory statement was published with either knowledge of falsity or in reckless disregard for the truth.

    Thus, the actual malice standard for public figures is much, much more onerous to meet. Zimmerman's attorneys probably knew they could not meet the public figure standard, but were banking on the hope that he'd be deemed a private figure.

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure... and that Zimmerman's petition had not alleged facts sufficient to prove actual malice.

    Last year NBC was granted summary judgment because the judge found Zimmerman to be a public figure…

    Of course, since NBC has the power to turn any private figure into a public figure, it gets a get-out-of-jail-free (or a huge payout) card in such a lawsuit.

    Read More
  57. Twinkie says:
    @AnonymousCoward
    Twinkie, get cloned please.

    Twinkie, get cloned please.

    Thanks. My religion forbids human cloning, but I did the best I could naturally. I married a very virtuous and high IQ Anglo-Germanic (who is also extremely law-abiding) and have had lots of little ones, some of who are not so little anymore!

    Read More
  58. Twinkie says:
    @Jefferson
    "So, I don’t understand people who argue with police officers or even get into altercations with them during traffic stops. Even if one doesn’t believe in being polite for the sake of being polite, one is much more likely to get off leniently when one acknowledges one’s mistakes and cooperates in a pleasant manner. That’s just common sense."

    Twinkie you are Chinese and most Chinese people do not teach their sons to get into a fist fight with police officers if they stop them for questioning. Most Black people do not teach their sons that it is not a good idea to try to physically assault police officers. Michael Brown would still be alive today if his mother had taught him common sense when it comes to how to behave when a police officer stops him for questioning.

    To a Chinese person like yourself it must be considered culture shock when you see Hussein Obama's sons trying to act gangsta hard when stopped by the police.

    To a Chinese person like yourself it must be considered culture shock when you see Hussein Obama’s sons trying to act gangsta hard when stopped by the police.

    1. I am not Chinese.

    2. I never had this “culture shock” since a) I heard a lot about black violence early on from my parents and others, in other words I had what Derbyshire called “The Talk: the Non-Black Version” and b) I got into numerous fights with black youths when I was younger, mostly trying to shield my white and Asian friends from their depredations. And to be frank, I was a bit testosterone-poisoned as a young man and attracted trouble more than I should have.

    So, like yours, my opinion of black population as a whole is not positive. However, I also worked with some absolute black heroes who were patriots and great human beings. So where personal interactions are concerned, I evaluate people as individuals. In matters of social policy, however, I have to rely on group norms.

    Read More
  59. […] even in this final respect, the Ferguson police department is actually quite moderate, as has been pointed out […]

    Read More
  60. […] must be done about this! Of course, this pattern is observable everywhere in the United States. Ferguson is an extremely average town.  Liberal cities like Santa Monica, CA tend to have racial disparities in arrest rates that […]

    Read More

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored